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Oakland A's Trade Targets: Desmond Jennings or Brandon Guyer?

Continuing our tradition of way-too-soon looks at potential trade candidates because seriously, how is it still the offseason?

I bet you didn't know what Brandon Guyer looked like before seeing this picture.
I bet you didn't know what Brandon Guyer looked like before seeing this picture.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

A while back, we looked at the Rockies weird outfield logjam thanks to the weird, weird signing of Gerardo Parra. That logjam was finally resolved with the weird trade of Corey Dickerson to the Rays for elite reliever Jake Mcgee. The Rays now have an outfield logjam of their own after acquiring Dickerson.

Dickerson's arrival doesn't guarantee a move on the Rays end as his outfield defense isn't far enough from Jack Custian levels for him to be handed a starting role in left. Like Dickerson's defense, his health may play better at the DH role. Still, there's a chance a Ray could be moved and I've got a wild imagination, so let's head down this path.

How non-rumory is this rumor?

Let me start by saying the A's have been in no way shape or formed connected to the Rays (or any recent trade, really) after the Dickerson acquisition. That was extremely recent of course, but the lack of any rumors whatsoever should give you a hint as to odds here.

That said, there's a good chance one of Desmond Jennings or Brandon Guyer gets moved. The Rays' beat guy mentioned it as a possibility and basic math while looking at the Rays 40-man will give you a good indication of how crowded the Rays outfield is. Also, Jennings' Twitter cover picture was taken at the Coliseum. That definitely means something.

Who are these guys?

Jennings is the bigger name, a former top prospect who has put up some very solid seasons in Tampa. His 2015 was derailed by a lingering knee injury which eventually led to season ending surgery. The uncertainty of his return was likely an impetus for the Rays to acquire Dickerson and will be a large part of the Rays decision to keep or move their former centerfielder. Kevin Kiermaier's fine play in center is also a huge reason why Jennings might be expendable.

When healthy, Jennings is around a league average hitter at a premium position. Combining that with his excellent baserunning and solid glove, you've got yourself an above average player. Unfortunately, the latter two aspects of his game are largely related to the health of his legs, an unknown going forward. Kiermaier's presence also moves Jennings to a non-premium position, further deflating his value to the Rays.

30 year old Brandon Guyer is coming off a career best season in 2015. With 39 starts in left, 17 in center, and 20 in right and solid defense at each spot, Guyer is a versatile asset useful to any roster. Offensively, he's got pronounced platoon splits, putting up a 141 wRC+ against lefties and a 91 wRC+ against righties in 2015. Even with these splits, his bat is passable against either hand and he's capable of being an every day starter. In spite of this, he's yet to play a full season as a full time starter, earning a career best 385 PAs in 2015. He's had his share of injuries as well, hampering his value.

What will they cost?

Guessing the price is always a tough task, and it's doubly so when it's uncertain if a guy will move. Jennings in particular seems like a guy whose value would differ greatly between the Rays and potential trading teams. The Rays could easily keep him should offers not be appealing, allowing him to regain value or contribute to a  competitive team. On the other side of the equation, teams will likely be reluctant to give up major parts for a player recovering from a serious injury.

While a completely different case, Guyer's value is likely similar. A valuable contributor in 2015, the Rays will likely seek a solid return for a player with so much recent success. Teams may be reluctant to go for someone who isn't a proven full time player, although I'd be less surprised to see a team overpay for Guyer than Jennings.

I'd imagine the conversation for both players would start around roughly a B level prospect. A Chad Pinder or Renato Nunez might be a good and reasonable start to any trade discussions.

Should the A's go after either?

Here's a lame answer: it depends on the cost. Both players would fit well in an outfield devoid of depth but with 2016 being a lottery ticket season at best, it might not be the time to acquire new players. Jennings and Guyer would be contributors beyond 2016 (Jennings a FA after 2017, Guyer after 2018) but those seasons will likely be beyond their respective peaks.

An argument for either player is the strength and depth of infielders within the A's organization. Should the A's succeed with a few of their close infield prospects, other infield prospects will likely be used to acquire talent in positions of need around the diamond.

What do you think?