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Finish Your Rebuild In Two Easy Moves!

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And all for just $19.99, courtesy of Dr. Nick!

It’s easy, because writers on the internet clearly can come up with moves that multiple teams will agree on and that will actually happen. In fact the scribbling sound you hear is David Forst furiously taking notes as he reads this article. We now return you to reality, already in progress.

Small-market-y and generally the red-headed step-sister of baseball, the A’s need to zag where others zig, and in this case it means rebuilding by cleverly swapping 6 years of control for 3-4. It’s counter-intuitive, but if you have enough pieces already in place, you deal from a deep enough farm system and you get the right players back, you have yourself a solid 3-4 year window.

The A’s are, indeed, just two players away from contention. All they need to do is to produce two good outfielders, where they currently have nothing but slop, without spending any money. How hard could that be???

Realistic trade proposal #1: Sends INF Chad Pinder and SP Raul Alcantara to Cincinnati for CFer Billy Hamilton, a plus defender and elite base stealer with no power and difficult-to-project on base skills. Pinder is a top-10 prospect on A’s lists who has 6 years of contract control, while Alcantara is a major league ready SP whose lack of options makes him a good fit for a team with spots to fill in its big league rotation. Hamilton, who in under contract through 2019, has trade value but is widely regarded by the market as a very good 4th outfielder.

Realistic trade proposal #2: Sends SP Grant Holmes, RFer Jaycob Brugman, SP Jesse Hahn, and RP Ryan Dull to Arizona for RFer David Peralta. Holmes is a top-100 prospect with legitimate upside, Brugman is an accomplished OFer whose "hard contact/only moderate power" bat might play especially well in Arizona, Hahn is a reclamation project with a great arm, and Dull is a high leverage reliever who can immediately ease the pain of losing Brad Ziegler.

The four combine for 20 years of contract control for Peralta’s 4. If Peralta returns to his 2015 form, the A’s have a legitimate LH middle-of-the-order bat, but there is risk associated with any season-ending injury (wrist, in Peralta’s case), which is why a package of Holmes-Brugman-Hahn-Dull seems plausible as the type of value the Diamondbacks might extract if they are willing to part with Peralta — and the fact that Brugman offers a possible (and longer term) replacement might make it more likely.

For the A’s, such a brace of moves would swap out 7 players with a combined 38 years of contract control, hardly what you expect a rebuilding or retooling team to do. But the team you’re left with in 2017 as you await the arrivals of Matt Chapman and Franklin Barreto?

Hamilton - CF
Joyce - DH
Healy - 3B
Peralta - RF
Davis - LF
Vogt/Maxwell - C
Semien - SS
Alonso - 1B
Wendle - 2B

Slot in Smolinski, Phegley, and Canha against LHPs; if he's still on the team, Lowrie can also get some starts.

Rotation depth: Gray-Manaea-Cotton-Graveman-Triggs-Mengden-Montas-Gossett-Bassitt
Bullpen core: Madson-Hendriks-Doolittle-Axford

Fast forward to the subsequent seasons you are building towards and it gets only better:

Hamilton - CF
Barreto - 2B
Healy - 1B
Peralta - RF
Davis - LF
Joyce/Canha/Nuñez - DH
Maxwell - C
Chapman - 3B
Semien - SS

Matt Olson is among those who provide depth to this projected core.

Here’s what I think is worth noting: Whether you’re looking at 2017 or beyond, in both cases the team looks solid to me both offensively and defensively. With or without Holmes and Alcantara, the SP has a great chance to have sufficient talent and depth to compete.

So are the A’s really that far from being competitive, with a window to grow into excellence, given the needs and chips currently available to them? You might say no, but Dr. Nick says, "You can’t spell ‘success’ without ‘yes’ and then swap out a ‘y’ for a ‘c’!"

Thoughts? Not on Dr. Nick, but rather on the "path du jour" I’m putting out there ... and doing so for just two easy payments of $9.995!