Oakland A's Trade Rumors: A Quick Rundown of the A's Top Trade Candidates

Brandon McClintock@@BMcClintock_BSNCorrespondent IJuly 29, 2011

While none of the A’s rumored to be on the move have been involved in any imminent trade speculation, several A’s players have been connected to a handful of teams around the league.

Billy Beane has stated on the record that he is okay with standing-pat at the trade deadline due to being underwhelmed so far in trade discussions—reported by Susan Slusser of The San Francisco Chonicle).

The A’s have several outfield options in Sacramento, though, that they would like to take a look at heading into next season, leaving open the possibility that we could see a move or two made.

Jai Miller is deserving of a shot in Oakland. Michael Taylor has had a bounce back season after last year and Ryan Sweeney and Matt Carson could round out the outfield.

The promotion of Miller, Taylor and/or Carson to Oakland would clear a spot in Triple-A for the newly converted center fielder from Midland—A’s top prospect Grant Green—to get some experience at the highest minor league level heading into next season.

Although I am enjoying this resurgence of the "Swingin' A's" offense as much as my fellow A's fans, the argument can still be made that the prospects need to be given a look down the stretch.

Without further ado, here’s a quick rundown of the latest A’s trade rumors:


Josh Willingham

The Philadelphia Phillies have had rumored interest in Willingham during each of the last three seasons. They make the most sense to acquire the A’s top home run threat since he is familiar with the NL East from his time with the Florida Marlins and Washington Nationals.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have also inquired about Willingham. The Pirates were rumored to have offered Garrett Jones for Willingham and Craig Breslow, although that rumor seems to have died down.

The Cleveland Indians have inquired about Willingham, but seem to have their eyes more set on Ryan Ludwick and fellow A’s outfielder Coco Crisp.

The Atlanta Braves were mentioned in connection with Willingham as well, however, it has been said that he is not high on their list of potential targets.

With his Achilles injury, it is possible the A’s could decide they are not receiving enough in return for his services and hold onto him to collect the compensatory draft picks if he leaves via free agency. They could also re-sign him and trade him next season if his value increases and they find themselves once again out of the race.

He recently said that he is open to signing a long term deal with the A's.

The Phillies and Braves have both increased their interest in Willingham after the Giants acquired Carlos Beltran.

The loser between the Braves and Phillies in the Hunter Pence sweepstakes will probably make a run at Willingham, leaving the A's with a tough decision.


Coco Crisp

Coco Crisp may have the most trade value for the Athletics at the moment. The switch-hitting center fielder does not have the same current injury issues as Willingham and has been a consistent threat in the A’s otherwise weak lineup.

Crisp was mentioned in connection with the Braves early in the season, although that never materialized beyond the speculation phase among MLB rumor writers.

The two teams that have been connected to Crisp as the deadline approaches are the Cleveland Indians—who Crisp began his career with—and the Cincinnati Reds.

The Reds were also rumored to be connected to the Mariner’s Chone Figgins. Howevr, Crisp is having a significantly better season than the rapidly deteriorating career of Figgins.

The Texas Rangers had scouts on hand in New York to see Crisp in action against the Yankees. Although rare, the A’s have stated they would be willing to deal within their division.

Dealing Crisp would open up more playing time for Ryan Sweeney and could give the A's a reason to call up Grant Green and take an extended look at their recently converted top prospect.


David DeJesus

The light-hitting DeJesus had been a disappointment in his first season with the Athletics, but—like many of the other A's—his bat has recently come to life.

DeJesus still holds a good amount of value to a contending team willing to gamble that he can play to the back of his baseball card for the final two months of the season in a pennant race.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been rumored to talks with the A’s regarding what it would take to acquire the right fielder.


Conor Jackson

Jackson has been a versatile player for the A’s this season, filling in at first base as well as in the outfield.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been connected to Jackson though and with Jai Miller, Michael Taylor, Chris Carter and Daric Barton all occupying roster spots in Sacramento, it is possible that Jackson could be dealt to open a spot for one of those players to return to Oakland.

Jackson recently decided to channel his inner Brian Wilson and began growing a beard that he says he plans to keep as long as he is playing well.

He's certainly been hot since the All-Star break, adding value to any team looking at him as a trade target.


Craig Breslow

Personally, I’d like the A’s to hold onto Breslow, although that is becoming increasingly less likely.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have checked in on Breslow, as have the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

If both the Yankees and Red Sox are truly interested in him, the A’s could benefit by creating a bidding war between the AL East rivals. My guess though is that one of the two teams is feigning interest as a way of driving up the price for the other.

It’s not hard to understand why Breslow is in high demand. An effective lefty reliever is a hot commodity as the deadline approaches for contending teams.


Andrew Bailey

Thankfully, it appears that speculation of whether or not Andrew Bailey was truly available has died down.

Following the news that the A’s were willing to listen to offers for Bailey but would need to be “overwhelmed” to deal him, speculation came out that he Texas Rangers were interested in the closer.


Other Trade Possibilities

 Michael Wuertz and Brian Fuentes are two additional trade candidates out of the bullpen.

Wuertz is a steady reliever who would be valuable down the stretch for any contending team in need of a solid seventh inning or setup pitcher.

Fuentes has struggled in non-save opportunities this season. However, most of his struggles can be explained by poor use from former manager Bob Geren.

Fuentes is an experienced veteran lefty reliever, typically a hot commodity each July. His experience closing out games should be enough for a team to take a chance on him.

The A’s reportedly haven’t received any calls inquiring about Hideki Matsui so far this season. Matsui has come to life after the All-Star break though and after going 5-5 against the Yankees on Sunday and continuing his hot hitting ever since, could draw some interest from a team looking for a bat off the bench or a designated hitter.

Kevin Kouzmanoff seems to have found his swing in Triple-A since his demotion, but he would likely be dealt if the A’s found a taker for him. Otherwise he will undoubtedly be a non-tender candidate again in the offseason. It just seems to make more sense to get something for him, rather than cut him loose for zero return.

We’ll see how many of these players are still wearing the green and gold by next Monday. Perhaps a few additional A’s players will also draw interest before the July 31 deadline and find their way into another rumor-rundown…


This article is also featured on Bayseball.com.


Brandon McClintock covers the Oakland Athletics and Major League Baseball for BleacherReport.com. You can follow him on Twitter:      @BMcClintock_BR.


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