Inbox: What to expect from A's in second half

Beat reporter Martin Gallegos answers questions from Oakland fans

July 15th, 2019

Who is atop the A’s Trade Deadline wish list?
-- Taylor G.

Pulling off the trade for 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 and Blue Jays righty will be in high demand. White Sox righty 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 -- and -- who would be good fits.

Is it likely that the A’s trade for a position player?
-- Bryan

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 a shot to establish himself at that spot.

What more does have to do to make it to Oakland?
-- Nancy

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.

Could the A’s put together a package good enough to get a big-time starter like or , or will it be more players like Bailey and ?
-- Zach, San Diego

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 or , or are you willing to part with ? 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 , 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.

What will likely happen to and ? Are they trade pieces? Anywhere to “park” them if more injuries happen?
-- Don C., San Jose, Calif.

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 -- back from his own injury -- has been playing well. With Herrmann and Hundley both out of options, and 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.

has been doing very well at Las Vegas, but since he’s a third baseman, it’s unlikely he’d get time in the Majors with already there. What are the A’s planning to do with Neuse?
-- @CallieTsai

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?
-- Bryan

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 , , Daulton Jefferies and could be available. Neuse and Mateo are also position players who are likely to intrigue other teams.