Welcome back to The Weekly Bernie! It’s the best dance in the game, so let’s get rolling once more!
- Talks have resumed regarding the new CBA prior to Thursday’s deadline, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. One offer suggested was for MLB to remove free agent compensation in exchange for an international draft. This is an interesting proposal, but it still remains possible that the two sides are not able to agree before Thursday, which would result in an offseason lockout. If this agreement were to go through, however, it would certainly affect a penny-pinching team like the A’s. While the A’s have yet to give a pending free agent a qualifying offer under the current system, their ability to do so has been used as leverage in midseason trades of players like Josh Reddick, Rich Hill, and Ben Zobrist. While the removal of the qualifying offer could hurt Oakland, an international draft could benefit the club by leveling the playing field and giving them a chance at top talent that would have otherwise received a signing bonus far out of their price range, as Yoan Moncada did with Boston. Regardless, the CBA talks will likely be the biggest story of this week.
- On Wednesday, the Seattle Mariners acquired infielder Jean Segura, outfielder Mitch Haniger, and lefty reliever Zac Curtis from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for right-handed starter Taijuan Walker and shortstop Ketel Marte. The move has been made official. Segura, now 26, struggled with the Milwaukee Brewers in both 2014 and 2015. Last offseason the Diamondbacks bought low on him and it certainly paid off. He hit 20 home runs and stole 33 bases en route to a 5.0 fWAR season. However, he did run a .353 BABIP, and there were plenty of reasons for Arizona to be skeptical of this production. They chose to turn him into Walker and Marte, two young players with great potential but little major league success. Walker in particular could still develop into a front-line starter with his mid-nineties fastball. Overall, this was an interesting challenge trade that could work out very well (or very poorly) for either side.
- The Twins added an actual Major League-caliber player to their roster, signing catcher Jason Castro to a three year, $24.5 million deal. The deal was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, and has not yet been made official. The Twins have struggled to piece anything together behind the plate since Joe Mauer’s move to first base, and now Castro will provide a reliable glove and an interesting bat. While he has been unable to return to his great 2013 offensive production, his defense has remained very good and he is still a decent platoon hitter against righties.
- The Atlanta Braves continued to add experience to their roster, signing veteran utility player Sean Rodriguez to a two year, $11.5 million deal. The deal, which is pending a physical, was also first reported by Rosenthal. While nothing about the 31 year-old is necessarily exciting, he did swat 18 homers in 2016 and is a versatile player that hits lefties very well. He will give the Braves plenty of options regarding their young infield talent.
Bernie’s Weekly Deal: Raul Alcantara, Renato Nunez and Dylan Covey to the Colorado Rockies for Charlie Blackmon
While he isn’t my favorite outfield option, Charlie Blackmon does fit the A’s roster quite well. He has two years of team control remaining and is a good left-handed hitter with both power and speed. While the metrics don’t love Blackmon’s defense in centerfield, he is still passable and would likely be at least average in a corner spot, especially considering that Coors Field has a very large and difficult outfield. At 30, Blackmon isn’t young, but age-related decline shouldn’t yet be a big concern.
Blackmon has his flaws, and thus shouldn’t be too expensive. In this trade, the A’s would be giving up a young 24 year-old righty in Alcantara with plenty of potential, but quite a low floor as well. Since Alcantara is out of options, Colorado - always desperate for pitching - would be much more likely to take a chance on him. Nunez is simply blocked at both corner spots in Oakland, and could be Colorado’s first baseman of the future if other prospects like Ryan McMahon don’t turn it around. Finally, Covey is a lottery ticket throw-in arm that probably doesn’t have anything more than back-end potential but could be serviceable.
What to expect this week:
The CBA negotiations will likely be the week’s main story. A couple of free agents could come off the board - I’d keep an eye on Rich Hill and Eric Thames - but I don’t expect any huge signings until after the new CBA is finalized.
That’s all for this week. Feel free to dump any links in the comments below. Until next time - lean on, A’s fans!