The Oakland Athletics traded catcher Derek Norris, 23-year-old minor league right-handed starting pitcher Seth Streich, and international signing bonus slot 117 ($144,100) to the San Diego Padres for right-handed pitcher Jesse Hahn, 25, and right-handed pitcher R.J. Alvarez, 23, the Athletics announced. The player details were first reported by Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. The A's have not yet announced a corresponding move off the 40-man roster.
Word of a deal involving Derek Norris was first reported by Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.
The A's get a right-handed starter and a right-handed reliever in the deal.
Hahn made his major league debut last June. Signed originally by the Tampa Bay Rays as a 6th round pick in the 2010 draft, Hahn was traded to the Padres in a seven-player deal that sent Alex Torres to the Padres in return for Brad Boxberger, Logan Forsythe, and three other minor league players.
Hahn made 12 starts in 14 appearances for the Padres, going 7-4 with a 3.07 ERA and 3.40 FIP in 73⅓ innings. He struck out 70 and walked 32 in that period while giving up four home runs. David Cameron of Fangraphs points out that Jesse Hahn had one of the better swing-and-miss rates last year. Right there with Hahn? Jeff Samardzija:
Jesse Hahn is a big health risk, but his contact rate allowed in 2014 was equal to Jeff Samardzija. http://t.co/lH1xrKuejI— David Cameron (@DCameronFG) December 19, 2014
The injury risk that Cameron refers to is that Hahn had a Tommy John Surgery shortly after being drafted by the Rays. His injury actually occurred two days before the draft, and caused his draft stock to tumble from the first round down to the sixth round, according to Bob Putnam of the Tampa Bay Times. He was placed on a pitch count for some time after that.
Alvarez made his major league debut last September, making 10 relief appearances for the Padres. He pitched eight innings and conceded just one run while striking out nine but walking five. He was traded from the Angels to the Padres last July 19 as part of the Huston Street deal. In 38 Double-A appearances between the two clubs' farm teams, Alvarez tossed 43⅓ innings at age 23, striking out 61 and walking 13 (two intentionally) for a 1.25 ERA. Melissa Lockard of oaklandclubhouse.com has this to say:
In RJ Alvarez, the A's have a potential replacement for Luke Gregerson. Jesse Hahn is an excellent option for the rotation next year.— Melissa Lockard (@oakclubhouse) December 19, 2014
Players sent out
The A's move their fifth All-Star out of the seven they sent to the 2014 All-Star Game, and they also sent out a starting pitcher who finished the year in Class-A Advanced Stockton.
We haven't quite gotten to Derek Norris in Alex Hall's season in review series, but before I even look up Norris' stats, here was the story. He had an amazing first half (which sent him to the All-Star Game) with average plate skills, and then little nagging injuries caused his plate skills to disappear and his offense to plummet. You may recall this from September 14:
In 2014, Norris batted .270/.361/.403 with 10 home runs, drawing 54 walks, and striking out 86 times. Before the All-Star Game, he was .294/.402/.477 with eight home runs, drawing 36 walks, and striking out 41 times in 235 plate appearances. After the All-Star Game, he was .245/.314/.324 with two home runs, 18 walks, and striking out 45 times in 207 plate appearances.
Streich, turning 25 next year, was Oakland's sixth round draft pick in the 2012 draft. He went 9-6 in 114 innings of High-A ball in Stockton with a 3.16 ERA, which is extremely impressive in the California League. He was helped by striking out 116 batters in those 114 innings, and walked just 22. Streich was never in the Oakland top-10 prospect list by Baseball America, though he was 25th after the 2013 season.
In trading Norris, the A's will miss a bat that was excellent against left-handed pitching and showed flashes of brilliance against righties in the first half of 2014 before injuries slowed down his production as well as his defense. This is good news for Josh Phegley at the moment, who would seem to be platooning with Stephen Vogt next year.
The A's receive two Major League ready pitchers in starter Jesse Hahn and reliever R.J. Alvarez. The move makes things difficult, though not presently impossible for Evan Scribner to be the last man in the bullpen. Taylor Thompson, the other right-handed reliever on the A's 40-man roster, has options left.
The starting pitching depth is extremely deep now, and many local reporters are speculating that this means a further move trading away some of those starters is afoot:
Remember when I wrote earlier this fall #Athletics should go after Tulowitzki? They have the pitching to do so now & payroll flexibility.— Brandon McClintock (@BMcClintock_BSN) December 19, 2014
Can't imagine the A's will keep all this pitching. Have to think they're prepping for a bigger move, like an Upton or Tulowitzki.— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) December 19, 2014