What to do? If the A's get creative they may be able to make some smaller trades that will collectively make them better than a single Ben Zobrist or Daniel Murphy blockbuster deal.
Smaller trades that will cost them less in prospects and cost them less in payroll. The trades I have in mind replace not just one of the A's second basemen , but two. To create an above average, complete and complimentary platoon. And not with someone who only knows how to play second base, but with players that can step in when needed just about anywhere. And not just for this year but for next year as well.
Trade Target: Casey McGehee
3B / 1B / 2B
Team: Miami Marlins (.470)
2014: $1 Million
2015: arb 3. (Est: $4 Million)
McGehee has little raw power but great contact skills. He does the same things Alberto Callaspo does (10.5 BB%, 13.1 K%) while also crushing RHP this year.
Third base is McGehee's main home but the A's are said to be looking exclusively for offense at second base and McGehee can slide over to second to provide that in spades.
Against right-handed pitching (RHP) this year, McGehee has hit ( .342 / .399 / .418 ) (134 OPS+). You're not going to find that anywhere else on the second base trade market this year.
Trade Target: Sean Rodriguez
2B / INF / COF
Team: Tampa Bay (.480)
2014 1.5 million
2015 arb 3 ( est: 3million)
Rodriguez can play 6 positions and while his contact skills ( 4 BB%, 26 K% ) are not very good, his power is real. He has 10 HR and 10 2B in 165 P.A. this year and also had a few 30 HR seasons in the minor leagues.
Rodriguez is hitting ( .240 / .288 / .520 ) this year and is a known lefty killer. He has a career OPS+ of 123 vs LHP with a 112 OPS+ this year against them.
This would be a kill 5 birds trade(s).
#1 Better vr RHP. #2 Better vs LHP. #3 Much more flexible roster (crazy that's even possible on this team but the A's might as well double down). #4 Both are controlled through 2015. #5 Both are super cheap in salary and both should have reasonable acquisition costs.
With McGehee and Rodriguez replacing Sogard ( .486 OPS, OPS+ 40, (-0.2) WAR) and Callaspo ( .617 OPS, OPS+ 76, (-0.4) WAR) the A's can then put Punto back into his intended role of a defensive replacement-UTY.
Before you say I'm getting greedy, the A's already showed their greedy ways trading for two starting pitchers when one might do. Greed is good.
While both players are flawed, Rodriguez is also actually doing better vs RHP this year at this point in time with a 135 OPS+ (75 career). Either new player would be a nice PH option at the right time.
Your not convinced and would still rather have a Zobrist or Murphy?
A's top prospect Daniel Robertson and one of Milone / Pomeranz would probably be the minimum starting point in trade talks for either of those two. And about three other teams outbid that.
While Murphy and Zobrist are having fine years, their stats are mainly being propped up by being great vs left-handed pitching (LHP). While hitting LHP is nice, the A's (like all teams) are going to be playing more games vs RHP. That is going to be especially true in this years A.L. playoffs.
|#1 starter||Felix Hernandez (R)||Garrett Richards (R)||Max Scherzer (R)|
|#2 starter||Hisashi Iwakuma (R)||Jered Weaver (R)||Anibal Sanchez (R)|
|Justin Verlander (R)|
Not only are the usual suspects righty heavy, the other probable playoff teams; the Orioles, Indians, Yankees, Blue Jays and Royals are also all littered with RH #1 and #2 starters this year. I want a righty killer.
Verses RHP in 2014 Daniel Murphy has a 103 OPS+ and Ben Zobrist a 96 OPS+. Overpaying for that average performance two out of every three games isn't worth it in the regular season and won't be worth it in the playoffs.
After looking at what is available at the top of the second base trade market, I would rather the A's try and spend less and maybe end up getting more.
- I think the A's keep both Milone and Pomeranz to make absolutely sure they have the SP depth to make it through this year.
- As such, I don't buy a Tommy Milone for Nick Franklin trade. The A's are not going to suddenly take on a rookie in a year they have shown they want zero risk. And if they aren't doing the upgrade for this year, why bother. Save it for the off-season.
- The A's started the year at a record $82.5m payroll and have since added about $6 million with the Shark/Hammel trade. A McGehee/Rodriquez trade puts the A's right at $90 million.
- The A's record vs RHSP is 43-28 (.606) and the A's record vs LHSP is 18-10 (.643).