Oakland A's Trade Prospects Spencer, Gray, and Morla for Stop-Gaps Fox and Miles

Rory LutterContributor IDecember 4, 2009

CHICAGO - AUGUST 30: Jake Fox #5 of the Chicago Cubs fouls off a pitch against the New York Mets on August 30, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Mets defeated the Cubs 4-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

THE TRADE

The A's have traded Matt Spencer, Jeff Gray, and Ronny Morla for Jake Fox and Aaron Miles.

A's lost

Matt Spencer 
age: 23
drafted: 3rd round 2007
positions:  OF-188, 1B-26

Hitting stats:baobpslgops
minors 0.2810.3380.463801



Jeff Gray
age: 23
drafted: 32nd round 2004
position: Pitcher

minors 3.388.60.42.16.61.19
Majors4.35111.21.56.71.39



Ronny Morla
age: 21
undrafted
position: Pitcher

pitching statserah/9hr/9bb/9k/9whip
minors 4.529.60.53.49.21.44

A's gained

Jake Fox
age:26
drafted: 3rd round 2003
positions:  C-277, 1B-127, OF-99, 3B-31, LF-23, RF-6, DH-3

Hitting stats:baobpslgops
minors 0.2930.3570.528885
majors 0.2520.3050.457762

Aaron Miles
age: 32
drafted:19th Round 1995
positions: 2B-1183, SS-139, 3B-45, LF-5, P-3, DH-2, RF-1, CF-1

Hitting stats:baobpslgops
minors0.2880.3360.398734
majors0.2820.3220.356678

Trade Implications

This is a rather small-time trade as none of the players were or are likely to make much of an impact at the major-league level. Given that, the A's look to have gotten the better side. If a player who has any success in the bigs is worth something, and a player who never contributes anything to the major league club is worth nothing, then the A's probably won this trade 2 to 1.

Jeff Gray could have a career as a respectable reliever, but the A's are absolutely stacked with terrific young relievers, and shouldn't miss Grey at all.
 
Spencer is a decent outfield prospect, but his .800 ops in the hitter-friendly Texas League in '09 didn't exactly forecast greatness. He very well could develop into a decent major leaguer at some point, but it's more likely that we never hear his name again.
 
Morla is a shot in the dark on his athleticism: a raw international signing with 4.52 ERA through three pro seasons of A- and Rookie ball.
 
Meanwhile, Miles and Fox are both likely to have some influence on the A's next year.

 
Expect Miles to take over where Crosby left off as a mostly anemic backup infielder. Miles has hit as well as .317 in 2007 with the Cardinals, but it was a very hollow .317 accompanied by a .398 SLG.  He's coming off of a miserable season in which he hit for a measly .185 batting average with an OPS of...drum roll please...466.

In other words, far worse than Crosby's '09 campaign (652).

I'd expect him to neither match what he did the Cardinals nor repeat his embarrassing '09 campaign. My guess is he'll do a little worse than his career numbers with a line around .265 .320 .375... putting him as a higher average, lower slugging, Bobby Crosby replacement.

Jake Fox is probably the most valuable player involved in this five-player trade. That's not saying a ton, but Fox does have the best minor league numbers of the pack, sporting a minor league OPS of 885 and a major league OPS of 762.

That's significant for the A's. Only two regular players from the A's 09 campaign, managed to achieve an OPS that high: Jack Cust (.773) and Rajai Davis(.784). The only problem with Fox is that he's best suited to play catcher. The A's unquestionably intend to use him at third base, but if he doesn't excel there, he'll be competing for a job as backup catcher or at first base.


Overall, not a bad trade. We lost some expendable pitching, and a decent outfield prospect who we didn't really need for two decent stop-gap infielders. I approve.

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