A's land RHP Honeywell in trade with Rays

November 20th, 2021

Though Hot Stove rumors point to the A’s trading away some of their key players this offseason, their first move of the winter actually saw them add an interesting arm to their roster.

The A’s struck a deal with the Rays on Friday afternoon to acquire right-hander in exchange for cash considerations.


A’s get: RHP Brent Honeywell
Rays get: Cash considerations

It wasn’t that long ago that Honeywell was rated as one of baseball’s elite prospects. Along the way, a slew of elbow injuries derailed his progression and pushed him down Tampa Bay’s depth chart to the point where he became stuck in a roster crunch.

Perhaps a move to Oakland can provide a needed fresh start for the 26-year-old righty. A second-round pick by the Rays in 2014, Honeywell quickly ascended through the Rays’ Minor League system and appeared on the brink of a breakthrough to Major League stardom. However, that all came to a screeching halt in 2017.

After his final game of the 2017 campaign, Honeywell underwent four elbow surgeries and he was sidelined for nearly four years. His next appearance on a mound in game action did not come until 2021. He showed some of the promising stuff that once made him a promising prospect, going 5-4 with two saves and posting a 3.97 ERA with 67 strikeouts in 31 games for Triple-A Durham. He also made his Major league debut in ‘21, appearing in three games and allowing four runs in 4 1/3 innings.

In five seasons pitching in Tampa Bay’s system, Honeywell went 36-23 with a 3.06 ERA while holding opponents to a .232 batting average in 110 appearances.

The arsenal
There’s very little risk the A’s are taking with Honeywell and still a lot to like. When healthy, he’s shown a five-pitch mix that can be downright nasty, with a repertoire that includes a fastball, a changeup that is considered plus, a slider, curveball and a true screwball, which is a rarity nowadays.

The fit
Though Honeywell was purely a starter prior to the injury issues, he was often utilized as a reliever upon returning in 2021. That role could continue with the A’s, who will likely have to replace a few bullpen arms from last season, with right-handers Yusmeiro Petit and Sergio Romo, as well as left-handers Andrew Chafin and Jake Diekman all currently free agents. Given the struggles Oakland had finding a reliable closer option throughout the year, it’s not out of the question for Honeywell to possibly establish himself as a top high-leverage option in the late innings if he can maintain a clean bill of health.