Oakland Athletics Trade Rumors: Latest Updates, News and Reaction
When you've got (arguably) the best team in baseball, the best manager in baseball and the best general manager in baseball, the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline would seem to be a rather irrelevant date on the calendar.
But if there's one thing that we've learned about the Oakland A's under the stewardship of GM Billy Beane, it's that the team rarely passes up an opportunity to improve, regardless of its place in the standings.
Yet it can be difficult to keep track of all the rumors surrounding the team, especially if you're hanging out at O.co Coliseum, where dodging puddles of raw sewage is sure to demand the bulk of your attention.
That's where Bleacher Report comes in.
Keep it here for the most up-to-the-minute rumblings about the A's, along with analysis and everything else that comes with it. While the post date will always show as July 1, simply click to the next slide to see the latest from the rumor mill as the A's look to clinch their third consecutive AL West crown.
July 4: Traded OF Billy McKinney, SS Addison Russell, RHP Dan Straily and a player-to-be-named-later to Chicago (NL) for RHPs Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija (Analysis)
July 24: Designated RHP Jim Johnson for assignment
July 31: Acquired Jonny Gomes and Jon Lester from Boston
2014 Stats: 78 G, .234/.329/.354, 13 XBH (6 HR), 32 RBI
Contract Status: One year, $5 million
2014 Stats: 21 GS (16 QS), 10-7, 2.52 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 9.4 K/9
Contract Status: One year, $13 million
The rest of the American League might as well pack up shop, because the A's are going all-in in 2014, and it's hard to see how anyone is going to be able to stop them.
While trading a player in his prime like Yoenis Cespedes stings, the chance to add one of the premier starting pitchers in baseball is something that the A's simply couldn't pass up. Think about what that rotation now looks like:
- LHP Jon Lester
- RHP Jeff Samardzija
- RHP Sonny Gray
- LHP Scott Kazmir
- RHP Jason Hammel/Jesse Chavez
That's a rotation that is built for a deep playoff run if I've ever seen one.
The A's also reunite with old pal Jonny Gomes, who spent 2012 with the A's, hitting .262 with 18 home runs, 47 RBI and a .868 OPS. Widely considered a fantastic teammate, Gomes will fit right in with the rest of the roster, many of who he's played with in the past.
Jason Hammel on the Move?
Thursday, July 31 at 1:44 p.m. ET
The A's had no intention of trading Jason Hammel but after acquiring Jon Lester from the Red Sox, the team is being "flooded with calls" on the veteran right-hander, says Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.
Hammel has had a rough go of things since joining Oakland earlier this month, pitching to a 9.53 ERA and 2.12 WHIP over four starts, allowing at least five earned runs in two of his outings.
A's Interested in Mariners' Franklin?
Monday, July 21 at 3:07 p.m. ET
Oakland has tagged Seattle infielder Nick Franklin as a "top target," though whether the Mariners would be willing to trade with a team that they're chasing in the division remains to be seen, as noted by the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser.
Franklin, 24, has struggled at the plate in parts of two major league seasons, hitting .214 with a .649 OPS but has shown a nice power stroke, hitting 12 home runs over 369 at-bats in 2013. He's thrived at Triple-A, where he's spent the bulk of this season, hitting .300 with nine home runs, 42 RBI and a .875 OPS in 63 games.
A's Not Done Dealing with Cubs?
Tuesday, July 8 at 2:32 p.m. ET
Before agreeing on the final parameters of the deal that bought Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija to Oakland, the A's tried to get the Cubs to include infielder Luis Valbuena in the deal, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.
The versatile 28-year-old can play three infield positions, with Oakland viewing him as a potential upgrade over its current Eric Sogard/Nick Punto platoon at second base.
But Rosenthal says that the Cubs are leery of moving him for three reasons: His offensive production from the left-side of the plate (.260, 29 XBH, .770 OPS), his on-base skills (.344 OBP in 2014, .336 since 2013) and that he's under team control through 2016.
It's possible that the A's could look to revisit talks about him as we draw closer to the trade deadline, though it's unclear what Chicago might be looking for in exchange.
July 4: Oakland Acquires RHPs Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija from Chicago (NL)
2014 Stats: 17 GS (11 QS), 8-5, 2.98 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 8.6 K/9
Contract Status: One year, $6 million
2014 Stats: 17 GS (12 QS), 2-7, 2.83 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 8.6 K/9
Contract Status: One year, $5.435 million (One more year of arbitration left)
Just like that, the best team in baseball just got better.
Oakland bolstered its rotation by adding two of the best pitchers available and now heads into the stretch run with one of baseball's best rotations:
- RHP Sonny Gray
- RHP Jeff Samardzija
- LHP Scott Kazmir
- RHP Jason Hammel
- LHP Tommy Milone/LHP Brad Mills/RHP Jesse Chavez
Acquiring the duo came at a steep price, according to ESPN's Keith Law, who reports that Oakland had to surrender its two best prospects, shortstop Addison Russell and outfielder Billy McKinney, along with right-hander Dan Straily and a player to be named later.
But the chance to add a pitcher of Samardzija's caliber, along with a seasoned veteran in Hammel, was clearly not something that GM Billy Beane was willing to pass up.
Oakland has to be considered the favorite to represent the American League in the World Series at this point, and it's fair to say that anything less would be considered a major disappointment.
Should Samardzija walk away after the 2015 season as a free agent, this deal won't look nearly as good for the A's as it currently does, regardless of whether they win a World Series or not with The Shark in uniform—especially if Russell turns into the All-World shortstop that many believe he's destined to become.
Bolstering the Starting Rotation a Priority?
While Oakland does not have the prospects needed to get involved with the bidding for the Chicago Cubs' Jeff Samardzija or Tampa Bay Rays' David Price, the A's have enough young pieces to add a lesser starting pitcher to the team's rotation.
Already weakened by the spring training losses of A.J. Griffin and Jarrod Parker, the A's have relied on the inexperienced Sonny Gray, the unproven Jesse Chavez, the injury-prone Scott Kazmir and back-of-the-rotation arms like Tommy Milone (pictured).
While they've all performed well, adding a more established piece would go a long way toward cementing the team's supremacy in the AL West, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal recently opined.
There's no shortage of second-tier starters expected to be available, a list that includes a pair of former A's, the Arizona Diamondbacks' Brandon McCarthy and San Diego Padres' Tyson Ross, along with the D-backs' Wade Miley, the Padres' Ian Kennedy and Eric Stults and Chicago's Jason Hammel.