OAKLAND -- The A's aren't done turning over their roster.Far from it, in fact. Their first-half doings -- which included designating veterans Stephen Vogt and Trevor Plouffe for assignment -- proved telling, signaling the hastening of a youth movement. But there are more parts to shed, meaning the last-place A's
OAKLAND -- The A's aren't done turning over their roster.
Far from it, in fact. Their first-half doings -- which included designating veterans Stephen Vogt and Trevor Plouffe for assignment -- proved telling, signaling the hastening of a youth movement. But there are more parts to shed, meaning the last-place A's will likely be quite busy ahead of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, per usual.
Last year, while in the middle of a similarly substandard season, the A's dealt starter Rich Hill and outfielder Josh Reddick to the Dodgers in a trade that netted them three young pitchers: Jharel Cotton, Frankie Montas and Grant Holmes. The year before, a series of moves led to the departures of veterans Scott Kazmir, Benjamin Zobrist and Tyler Clippard.
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The A's won't shy away from continuing the trend, setting the stage for an intriguing month that will further shape Oakland's seemingly promising future.
The A's employ several expendable pieces, leading with a pair of sought-after players who are set to hit free agency at the end of the season: infielders Jed Lowrie and Yonder Alonso. Of course, Sonny Gray -- under club control for two more seasons -- could be the first to go, with many suitors in play for the right-hander. Veteran reliever Ryan Madson could also be had in a deal for a team willing to take on a contract that takes him through 2018. The A's will be eyeing more young talent in return.
WHAT ARE THEY PLAYING FOR?
The future. Specifically, the A's are hoping to have a contending roster in tow by the time they open the gates at a new ballpark in Oakland. Team president Dave Kaval has promised fans he will announce a new stadium site by the end of the year, along with a construction timeline. In the meantime, the A's will continue to groom their young core of players and wait out the growing pains that come along with such a process.
THE ROAD AHEAD
A's fans will have an opportunity to see the youth movement in action during a lengthy stay at the Coliseum in August. A nine-game homestand is scheduled for Aug. 8-16, with the A's welcoming in the Mariners, Orioles and Royals.
If and when Lowrie is dealt, A's No. 1 prospect (as rated by MLBPipeline.com) Franklin Barreto will step in as the everyday second baseman -- nearly three years after landing in Oakland as the centerpiece of the Josh Donaldson deal. Just 21 years old, Barreto will require patience as he adjusts to the highest level; but expect the Venezuelan rookie to excite with power along the way.
PROSPECTS TO WATCH
Barreto isn't the only A's prospect who will play under a microscope in the second half. Third baseman Matt Chapman (No. 4), yet another powered infielder, carries just as much hype. Then there's Chad Pinder, who will draw attention when he returns from a hamstring injury, after counting off nine home runs in just 47 games in the first half. Continued production will force the A's to find a position for Pinder, who has handled several with ease.
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.