The Oakland A’s are “very interested” in Kansas City Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson, according to Joel Sherman of the NY Post.
Oakland is looking for help in center field this winter, and Dyson is one of many trade candidates around the league. Sherman notes that the Royals are open to trading some of their veterans, and that now could be a good time to cash in on Dyson in particular due to the seller’s market on outfielders. Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports also mentions that the Orioles and Rangers are interested, though, so the A’s have some competition in this discussion.
Dyson is a 32-year-old glove-first CF. His defensive metrics are elite, but the 94 OPS+ he posted last year was a career-high -- his overall marks are 85 OPS+ and 86 wRC+, in 1,539 plate appearances. At the plate he hits for a mediocre average and gets on base a bit, but doesn’t hit for any power (career: .260/.325/.353, 7 HR). Last year’s improvement came largely from an increased batting average, which in turn resulted primarily from a reduced strikeout rate.
One other dimension Dyson brings is speed. Over the last five seasons, he’s stolen 156 bases in 184 attempts — that’s 31 per year at an 84.8% success rate. Of players still on the A’s roster, the leader in steals last year was Marcus Semien with 10.
Even with Dyson’s shortcomings on offense, the overall package was worth 3.1 WAR last year (on both scales) in a part-time role. Over the last four seasons, he’s averaged around 2.5 WAR in 101 games per year. For a quick comp, he’s sort of like Craig Gentry, except that Dyson bats left-handed (so he more often has the platoon advantage).
On the downside, Dyson would be a one-year rental. He is in his final season of arbitration, projected at $2.5 million by MLB Trade Rumors. Of course, that would presumably make him less costly to acquire than some of the bigger names being bandied about, who have three or more years of team control left.
A’s beat writer Jane Lee mentioned Tuesday that, if bringing in a free agent, Oakland would be more likely to aim for a shorter deal. If the same logic holds true on the trade front, then that would mean looking for a more modest and short-term upgrade like Dyson rather than a big-name splash (like AN favorites Kevin Kiermaier or Ender Inciarte). Dyson could be the kind of player who makes 2017 more watchable, while serving as part of a veteran framework in case the prospects break out 2012-style and make a run at contention, all at a relatively reasonable price.
What kind of return package would you give up for one year of Jarrod Dyson? Susan Slusser suggests young pitching, but not at the level of Jharel Cotton or Daniel Mengden. Jane Lee suggests sending relievers. Let’s negotiate in the comments!