The Oakland Athletics announced a six-player trade with the Chicago White Sox Tuesday morning, sending 29-year-old right-handed starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija and right-handed 22-year-old minor league reliever Michael Ynoa to the South Siders. The Athletics will receive age-24 right-handed batting infielder Marcus Semien, age-25 right-handed starting pitcher Chris Bassitt, age-26 right-handed batting catcher Josh Phegley, and age-22 minor league first baseman Rangel Ravelo.
All four players the A's acquired were on the Chicago White Sox 40-man. To clear space, the A's designated reliever Jorge De Leon for assignment. As a result of the deal, the Athletics have 40 players on the 40-man roster, and are presently unable to make a selection at this week's Rule 5 Draft. The A's opening day payroll is now projected to come in at around $69 million.
Marcus Semien is expected to compete for the everyday shortstop job, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. It is a homecoming for Semien, who was born in San Francisco, went to St. Mary's High School in Berkeley, and played college baseball for the University of California, Berkeley. Semien grew up a Giants fan, though he went to plenty of A's games, says Vinnie Duber of CSN Chicago. As a player at Berkeley, Semien was honored with his College World Series-bound Golden Bears at the Coliseum. Asked about the experience prior to the White Sox visiting Oakland, Semien said:
"When I was in college, we went to the College World Series and got honored at an A's game," he said. "Our manager threw out the first pitch, but we were all out on the field during that at the Coliseum. So that was a pretty cool moment.
"It's where you want to be, it's the stage you want to be on," he said of standing on a major league field. "Just from that perspective, it was about three, four years ago, but I was thinking, ‘That's where I want to be one day.'"
Susan Slusser has obtained some quick scouting reports on each of the players acquired. On Semien:
report on Semien: "Steady defender, poised, efficient. 15-HR power potential, high OBP throughout pro career." #Athletics— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) December 9, 2014
Chris Bassitt will be 26 years old next season, and could add to the rotation competition or pitch out of the bullpen in 2015. Bassitt went 1-1 in five starts and one relief appearance with a 3.94 ERA and 3.33 FIP for the White Sox in 29⅔ innings, striking out 21 and walking 13.
Report on Bassitt: "Good mix of pitches, velo up to 94 mph. Solid breaking stuff. Good touch on changeup, throws strikes."— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) December 9, 2014
Josh Phegley turns 27 in February and has had only limited time at the major league level, 76 games between 2013 and 2014. The right-handed batter probably will be behind catcher Derek Norris in the depth chart, though the potential is there for him to be useful in an injury situation:
And report on Phegley: "productive bat, short swing, nice power potential, strong arm." #Athletics have liked him for a while, apparently.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) December 9, 2014
Phegley did hit 23 home runs in his most recent Triple-A campaign for a .274/.331/.530 line in 467 plate appearances.
Ravelo was drafted in the sixth round out of high school in the 2010 amateur draft. The 22-year-old first baseman reached Double-A for the first time in 2014, batting .309/.386/.473 in the Southern League, where the league batting line was .254/.328/.382 and his team's was .259/.327/.393. He hit 11 home runs last year, the most of any of his minor league campaigns. Ravelo has played third base previously in the minor leagues before moving to first base.
Scout tells me about Rangel Ravelo- underrated but extremely productive, untapped power potential Similar MiLB career arc to Allen Craig.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) December 9, 2014
Nathaniel Stoltz of Rotographs adds this in one of his sleeper profiles prior to the 2014 season:
So, while Ravelo's statistical profile makes him look like a powerless first baseman, there's a fairly large base of evidence to suggest that he may end up neither underpowered nor a first baseman. That's not to say he's a lock to hit 20 homers and play an adequate third base in the majors, but there's definitely a higher likelihood of his becoming an offensive force and defensive non-liability than he's given credit for.