Welcome to The Daily Bernie! It's the best dance in the game, so let's get rolling once more!
- There are "strong indications" that right-handed reliever Tyler Clippard will be the next Athletic traded, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The Nationals, Mets, and Yankees are all strong possibilities, per Slusser's sources. Clippard has posted a 2.79 ERA in 38 2/3 innings, but his 3.89 FIP and 5.30 xFIP (!!!) might be more telling. Clippard has struck out less than a batter per inning and walked more than a batter per two innings in one of the once-dominant set-up man's shakiest seasons. Other teams would likely return him to his old set-up role, however, in which he could dominate like he previously has. Don't expect a huge return for the reliever, as he is a free agent after the season.
- In a much-anticipated move, right-handed ace Johnny Cueto was sent from the Cincinnati Reds to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday morning, in exchange for young lefties Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb, and Cody Reed. The move has been made official. In Cueto, the Royals are getting a much-needed quality arm (with October experience) to add to their weak rotation. The Reds, on the other hand, receive three lefties that could each be big-league starters as early as September 2015. Finnegan, the biggest name of the three, has not found much consistency after being rushed straight to the majors by the Royals in 2014. In 2015, he has been shuttled up and down between Double-A, Triple-A, and the majors, switching between starting and relieving. Perhaps in Cincinnati the College World Series champion and Major League World Series Runner-Up can find success. The deal was reportedly close to being finalized prior to Cueto's start on Saturday night, but a player in the deal (reportedly Bubba Starling) did not check out medically.
- A.J. Preller's first season as the General Manager of the San Diego Padres has been a roller coaster, and it will continue. The Padres are reportedly "pushing hard" to trade some of their marquee players, per Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The Friars have been aggressively shopping veterans such as James Shields, Andrew Cashner, and Craig Kimbrel, rival teams tell Heyman. Impending free agents Justin Upton, Will Venable, Joaquin Benoit, and Ian Kennedy are likely to be moved as well. The Padres have been one of the most disappointing teams of 2015, and now and now Preller will look to trade his veterans in order to restock a weak farm system that he alone massacred prior to the season. Always remember, that as tough as it is to be an A's fan right now - at least we're not the Padres.
- Some other news and notes from around the league: the Blue Jays are in talks with those same Padres to acquire pitching (link) and came very close to a deal to receive righty Carlos Carrasco from the Indians (link); the Angels have shown interest in Indians outfielder David Murphy (link); the Pirates have shown interest in struggling Red Sox hitters Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino (link); the Dodgers and Rangers are the front-runners in the "race" (which seems more like a crawl to me) to acquire Phillies lefty Cole Hamels (link); the Mets, in search of offense, have scouted outfielder Jay Bruce of the Reds (link).
Bernie's Daily Deal: Tyler Clippard to the New York Yankees
Clippard could be moved as soon as today, Slusser added to her report. The Yankees make the most sense of the three suitors she listed. Why? Well, the Nationals have shown interest in bigger names such as Aroldis Chapman and Jonathan Papelbon, and seem willing to part with the pieces necessary. The Mets bullpen seems full, and would likely rather not add payroll. The Yankees don't want to part with their higher-ranked prospects, and wouldn't have to, to acquire Clippard. He would combine with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances to form a three-headed monster at the back of the bullpen that would rival the Royals' big trio.
One option for the A's could be outfielder Ramon Flores. Flores, 23, is a lefty-hitting outfielder in Triple-A with great walk rates, decent power, nice speed, and great defense. Right now, he's probably Sam Fuld, with the potential to be a starting left fielder. That, however, could be too much for Clippard, so the A's could need to include their Competitive Balance Pick to even things out. At that point, it might not even be worth it.
An option that I'd prefer is swapping Clippard for some near-ready relief help. Righties Nick Goody and Johnny Barbato, both in Triple-A, have posted great minor league strikeout rates and are in the process of fixing command issues, with each having some success in that regard. Goody, 24, is the better of two, having struck out 13.42 batters per nine innings in his minor league career. Each uses a high-velocity fastball complimented by above-average offspeed pitches. Barbato has had some slight injury concerns. However, even getting Goody alone in return for Clippard would bring an awesome addition to the Athletics' bullpen in 2016.
That's all for today. The A's have the day off, so go ahead and refresh Twitter all morning to find out where Clippard is headed. Feel free to dump any links in the comments below. Until tomorrow - lean on, A's fans!