In a move that wasn't exactly surprising, Oakland Athletics pitcher Tommy Milone has asked that the club trade him. The request comes in light of his demotion to Triple-A, which can be attributed to the super trade that brought the A's Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to add to the top of their starting rotation. The deal left them with a surplus of pitching, rather than a concern over the depth that was present in the early going thanks to the injuries to Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin.
The acquisition of the former Chicago Cubs starters left the A's with a rotation that features the pair in addition to Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, and Jesse Chavez, despite the career high in workload for the latter. With those five making up the rotation for Oakland, both Milone and the returning Drew Pomeranz have been relegated to Triple-A, awaiting their next opportunity to make a return to the big club.
But rather than wait for that opportunity, which may not come unless someone gets injured or implodes statistically, Tommy Milone has asked out and wants baseball's best team to trade him. That doesn't mean that they will, but teams will certainly come calling for a young, high upside pitcher like Milone. He has a 3.35 ERA at the big league level this season, but that figure is slightly deceiving when you look at his 4.43 FIP. However, he had been pitching well prior to his demotion.
The fact that Milone has requested a trade doesn't mean that he's going to be traded, of course. The A's would likely prefer to hold onto him in the event that they need someone up to give Jesse Chavez a blow, or in the more serious event that someone ends up on the disabled list. Nonetheless, one club that would make some sense if the A's were to pull the trigger on a deal is that of the team the A's are coming off of the season's biggest trade with: the Chicago Cubs.
The Cubs are in a spot where they need to acquire young pitching. This isn't a buy-low type of situation, but the A's have the ability to move a guy at a position where they now have some depth and acquire a piece where they could use some help. The Cubs have multiple pieces at the second base position that could intrigue Billy Beane. Luis Valbuena is in the middle of a fine season and has the versatility to play multiple positions on the infield. He's reaching base at a .331 clip and there's definitely some pop in the bat.
Another guy that could make sense is Emilio Bonifacio. He's currently on the disabled list, but is nearing his return from a strained oblique. In this instance, though, the A's would certainly like to see him prove he's healthy before making a move.
A move involving Milone for a second baseman would certainly indicate more of that win-now attitude that Oakland flashed with the Samardzija/Hammel/Addison Russell trade. However, this time it would likely have to be the Cubs parting with a prospect, as Valbuena or really any Cubs starter not named Starlin Castro or Anthony Rizzo wouldn't be enough for a high-upside pitcher with multiple years of control left, like Milone. The Cubs may have to part with some of their second tier prospects from a very good farm system.
At the end of the day, it's tough to see the A's really going out and honoring this request from Tommy Milone. He's the sixth starter on a very, very good baseball team. If he's not up before September, he'll likely see his name called a couple times when rosters expand to get the starters a bit of a rest heading into the postseason. Perhaps even a spot in the bullpen come playoff time if long relief becomes necessary.
If the A's do choose to explore a move of Milone, though, the Cubs make plenty of sense. They have a second baseman that would be a good fit with Oakland, in the form of Luis Valbuena, they have some young prospect depth to offer, and they have a desire for young, cost controlled pitching.
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