It is obvious that the Athletics are in a rebuilding process. They have dealt Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, and Andrew Bailey this offseason for prospects in return. In an article I wrote the other week, I took a look at the Athletics potential future rotation with all the pieces in the organization. There are many top prospects and young pitchers that could make for one of the best rotations in the league. Well a handful of these guys are close to the big leagues and once ready, it could make for quite the logjam in the rotation. In the article I mentioned above I also took a shot at projecting the A’s opening day rotation which is as follows:
That rotation is solid looking but there are still a lot of guys that are very close to being major league ready; Jarrod Parker, Tyson Ross, and Sonny Gray. Brett Anderson should also be back in the rotation by the middle of the season. Well with those guys knocking at the door, some space may need to be cleared in the rotation. The perfect opportunity for that: The Trade Deadline.
Pitchers are always in a high demand at the trade deadline and the A’s potentially have 1 or 2 guys that they could deal. The one who would draw the most interest would be Brandon McCarthy, especially if he has a strong first half. McCarthy, 28 years old, had a 3.32 ERA, 2.86 FIP, 6.49 K/9, and a 1.32 BB/9 in 170.2 innings pitched last year. He was also very good at keeping the ball in the park as he had a 0.58 HR/9. I think he would draw a lot of interest from teams especially if he posted similar numbers in the first half of 2012.
The other guy who could draw interest is Guillermo Moscoso. The right-handed 28 year old surprised a lot of people last year posting a 3.38 ERA, 4.23 FIP, 5.20 K/9, and 2.67 BB/9. I don’t think he would bring back a whole lot in return but if he keeps those numbers up, or close to it, I think teams would be interested him as an option to bolster the back end of the rotation.
The Athletics are pretty set on pitching but what they do need is some offense. They have ranked in the bottom half of the league in offensive WAR for quite some time now. There is some potential offense on the way in Michael Choice, Grant Green, Collin Cowgill, Michael Taylor, Josh Reddick, Derek Norris, and Chris Carter.
Those are very nice young prospects to have but the system seems to be lacking in the infield, especially on the left side. Of those guys I listed, 5 are outfielders. If the A’s were to deal one of the 2 pitchers I mentioned, I think they would need to look at young bats, especially at third and short. Now who might need a starting pitcher at the deadline, and could offer some offensive prospects? Here are some potential teams.
St. Louis Cardinals: As the defending World Series champions, there is going to be a target on their back and they will be looking to repeat. It seems like each year the Cardinals go out and get a pitcher at the deadline, whether it is because of an injury or to improve the rotation. A piece they have that I think would really interest the Athletics is Zack Cox. The third baseman ranked fourth in the Baseball America Cardinals 2012 top prospects. Cox should spend most of 2012 at AAA so he would be pretty close to the bigs. The Cardinals have playoff hero, David Freese at the hot corner so I do not think it would be as hard for them to deal Cox.
Cincinnati Reds: The Reds made a big splash this offseason as they traded for a potential ace in Mat Latos. He will lead a pretty looking rotation but either of those Athletics would make it better. I think their chances of winning the division are much better than last year as Albert Pujols is out of the division and possibly Prince Fielder. It will also benefit them if Ryan Braun is in fact suspended.
I think third baseman Juan Francisco would interest the Athletics. In 181 career major league plate appearances he has hit .284/.331/.450 with 5 homeruns. It looks like the Reds will be going with Scott Rolen at third base, so I think they may be willing to part with Francisco to win in 2012. Zack Cozart could be an interesting piece as well as third baseman Gabriel Rosa who is still very raw and far away though.
Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays have showed a desire to acquire more pitching and I could see McCarthy as a fit. An interesting piece in the Blue Jays system is Adeiny Hechavarria. The 22 year old short stop has great defensive skills and a solid bat. Last year he hit .264/.305/.383 between AA and AAA with 20 stolen bases in 618 plate appearances. He could be a decent hitter at the back of the lineup and steal around 20 bases.
Some other teams that I believe could show interest are the Nationals, Padres, Rockies, and the Cubs. I do believe other teams could emerge but these are all just predictions. It will be interesting to see how McCarthy and Moscoso do in the first half of the season and if they can repeat their 2011 seasons.
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis Tagged: | Adeiny Hechavarria, Albert Pujols, Andrew Bailey, Brad Peacock, Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson, Chris Carter, Collin Cowgill, Dallas Braden, David Freese, Derek Norris, Gabriel Rosa, Gio Gonzalez, Grant Green, Guillermo Moscoso, Jarrod Parker, Josh Reddick, Juan Francisco, Mat Latos, Michael Choice, Michael Taylor, Oakland A's, Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Scott Rolen, Sonny Gray, Tom Milone, Trevor Cahill, Tyson Ross, Zack Cox, Zack Cozart