Who is atop the A’s Trade Deadline wish list?
-- Taylor G.
Pulling off the trade for Homer Bailey on Sunday doesn’t necessarily preclude the A’s from adding another starter. A’s general manager David Forst made sure to point out that there is no such thing as too much starting pitching, and if Oakland finds a deal to add another rotation piece, it won’t be afraid to go for it. That being said, the A's are already in discussions with other clubs for relief help, and I’d expect that to be their next move.
As far as specific names go, they're likely on the list for every contending team in need of bullpen help. Tigers right-hander Shane Greene and Blue Jays righty Ken Giles will be in high demand. White Sox righty Alex Colomé is another option. If the A’s and Giants could come together and end the 28-year trade drought between them, San Francisco has a couple of lefties -- Will Smith and Tony Watson -- who would be good fits.
Is it likely that the A’s trade for a position player?
I would not classify adding a position player as a likely move. That’s not to say I’d rule it out completely, but pitching help is the A's most explored avenue right now. Looking at the current roster, with everyone healthy, it’s tough to see a position at which Oakland could desperately use a significant upgrade. Perhaps at second base, but the A’s want to give young Franklin Barreto a shot to establish himself at that spot.
What more does Jorge Mateo have to do to make it to Oakland?
Mateo continues to tear it up in the Minors, and he even earned some praise following a nice performance at the Triple-A All-Star Game last week. Batting .304 with 13 home runs, 13 triples, 20 doubles, 62 RBIs and 18 stolen bases over 83 games with Las Vegas, it’s no longer a matter of earning his way to the Majors. Mateo has played well enough to warrant a callup, but there just isn’t a spot for him at the moment. Barring an injury to a middle infielder, the A’s will likely allow Mateo to keep playing every day in Vegas before bringing him up when rosters expand in September.
Is Barreto being showcased for a trade?
-- Robert D.
I don’t believe the A’s are trying to showcase Barreto. They called him up from Triple-A on a hot streak, and they want to give him a chance to establish himself in the Majors. He’s never really had a chance to play more than one or two days in a row in previous big league stints, with most of his time spent on the bench before he’d get sent back down. The A’s want to see how the 23-year-old Barreto handles the struggles that usually come for a young player in the early going and what adjustments he can make to overcome them.
It’s pretty simple: If Barreto proves he can produce, he’ll stay as the everyday second baseman. If the struggles drag on, he’ll get sent back down to the Minors.
They have the assets to put together a package for players like Stroman or Bumgarner, but it’s more about what they are willing to give up in return. Do you headline a package with Jesus Luzardo or A.J. Puk, or are you willing to part with Sean Murphy? These are guys who might not make a huge impact in 2019 because of injuries, but all of them could make the team out of next Spring Training.
Given the A's recent success with acquiring lower-profile guys like Fiers and Edwin Jackson, and having them bounce back with career years, maybe there was some strategy in the Bailey move to see if he could do the same in his first couple of outings with Oakland before deciding on another starter.
Estrada and Hundley are both still on the injured list. The A’s will have to make a decision about Hundley soon. He’s expected to be fully recovered from left knee surgery and playing in Minor League games by the end of July, but Chris Herrmann -- back from his own injury -- has been playing well. With Herrmann and Hundley both out of options, and Josh Phegley already getting the majority of starts behind the plate, one would likely have to be designated for assignment in August.
Estrada has had a slow recovery from a lumbar strain, and he is just now hoping to throw regular bullpen sessions in the coming week. He was transferred to the 60-day IL on July 2, and by the time he begins a rehab assignment, he will likely be able to stay in the Minors until rosters expand in September. Given the A’s need for starting pitching depth, they’d like to see him return at some point and pitch without the back issues that impeded him at the beginning of the year.
Neuse has been on a tear at Triple-A. After a slow start, he’s raised his batting average to .319 with a career-high 17 home runs this season. The A’s are aware of what’s blocking him in the Majors, so they’ve even had him play a handful of games at shortstop, second base and left field. He certainly could be used as a trade piece. He’d be a fun hitter to watch in Oakland come September, but the club would have to find a spot for him on the 40-man roster.
Any thoughts on who the most likely trade chip would be? And do you see the A’s using said chip for a strong back-end relief arm?
The A’s have a plethora of pitching prospects that they could offer up. Depending on the type of pitcher they are going after, guys like James Kaprielian, Grant Holmes, Daulton Jefferies and Parker Dunshee could be available. Neuse and Mateo are also position players who are likely to intrigue other teams.