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The Daily Bernie, 7/18/16: Rough Sunday for Oakland A’s

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The A’s couldn’t get anything to break right for them on Sunday, as Rich Hill aggravated his blister once again, and the Yankees and Rangers remain at the forefront of deadline rumors, among other news.

Toronto Blue Jays v Oakland Athletics
Which did this blister hurt more - Hill’s finger or his trade value?
Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

Welcome back to the Daily Bernie! After a promising start to the second half on Friday and Saturday, nothing would go the A’s way on Sunday. Still, it’s the best dance in the game, so let’s get rolling once more!

  • Athletics lefty and top trade candidate Rich Hill was removed only five pitches into his Sunday start when his blister started acting up again. Hill had originally been slated to start on Friday night, but was bumped to Sunday because of said blister. Seen as one of the top starting pitchers available, this measly little blister could certainly damage his trade value. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Saturday night (prior to Hill’s early exit) that the team could keep him past the deadline and extend him a qualifying offer. She also noted that the team will not add Billy Butler to any deal this summer, as that would diminish the return. Slusser also covers much, much more on the upcoming potential trades, so be sure to check out her article.
  • Also, a minor note regarding Hill - the A’s asking price for the southpaw was identical to the price the Boston Red Sox paid for Drew Pomeranz, which was young flamethrower Anderson Espinoza, according to Buster Olney of ESPN. Olney adds that upon being rejected, Oakland made a counter offer not including Espinoza, which obviously didn’t come to fruition either.
  • The team’s youth movement started on Friday with the promotion of Ryon Healy to the major leagues. Healy has started all three games since at third base. Oddly, this will result in less playing time for Danny Valencia, per Slusser. Valencia reportedly hasn’t drawn much trade interest due to his poor reputation. He will be moved around to keep his bat in the lineup, as he entered the game at first base on Friday, was the designated hitter on Saturday, and started at first on Sunday. Also affected is veteran outfielder Coco Crisp, who started at designated hitter on Friday but did not play Saturday or Sunday. Instead, Jake Smolinski played centerfield all three games. One has to next look to young catcher Bruce Maxwell, who has hit .369/.396/.699 with all nine of his homers since June 1.
  • In a minor deal, on Sunday morning the A’s acquired lefty Ross Detwiler from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for cash considerations. The 30 year-old is in his ninth major league season, and while he really isn’t anything special, he still throws in the low-nineties and should provide solid depth for the club, especially if Hill is indeed moved. He will report to Triple-A Nashville and is not on the 40-man roster.
  • The Houston Astros made a huge splash on Friday, signing Cuban third baseman Yulieski Gurriel to a five year, $47.5 million contract, as Yussef Diaz of PelotaCubanaBlog.com first reported. The 32 year-old was the best player on the island, known for his big power. The fit seems curious at first, especially with top prospect Alex Bregman knocking at the door and slated to play third base, but Bregman could eventually be shifted to the outfield or Gurriel to DH. It will also be at least a few weeks before Gurriel is MLB-ready, as he hasn’t played professionally since late 2015.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays continue to draw plenty of interest in their young starting pitching, as Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish lists nine clubs that have shown interest. Lefties Matt Moore and Drew Smyly along with righty Jake Odorizzi are all candidates to be moved. However, it seems less and less likely that the club will move struggling right-hander Chris Archer, as a Rays official calls the offers for him “comedic” per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
  • The New York Yankees have become the center of trade deadline rumors, but maybe not in the way you’re used to. The club has slowly fallen out of contention and are moving closer and closer to becoming sellers, as Rosenthal writes. Southpaw Aroldis Chapman and outfielder Carlos Beltran seem to be the most obvious trade chips, as both will be free agents after the season. However, despite big interest, the club is hesitant to move lefty Andrew Miller. Additionally, the club could move a starter or two, as the Pirates have inquired on hard-throwing righty Nate Eovaldi, per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
  • The Texas Rangers have cast a very wide net in their search for pitching help. Having already shown significant interest in A’s starters Rich Hill and Sonny Gray, the Rangers have now discussed Odorizzi, Moore, and Smyly (link), Andrew Miller and Padres righty Andrew Cashner (link), and Braves righty Julio Teheran (link). It seems almost certain the club will add a pitcher or two, but it will be very interesting to see exactly whom.

Bernie’s Daily Deal: Josh Reddick and Rich Hill to the Kansas City Royals for Raul Mondesi, Jorge Bonifacio, Jake Junis, and Eric Skoglund

This one’s a real blockbuster. The Royals have shown serious interest in both players, and some reports have even said they might look to acquire both. Paulo Orlando has been solid in right field, but is running a .400 BABIP and is far from trustworthy. Meanwhile, their rotation could certainly use some help, ranked fourth-worst in the AL in ERA. However, the price for the A’s two top rentals will certainly be step.

I’ve already covered Junis and Bonifacio here before, so I’ll make this quick. Junis is a 23 year-old righty in the midst of a serious breakout in Double-A. His command has always been great, but he’s finally getting strikeouts as well and could blossom into a mid-rotation arm. Bonifacio, on the other hand, is a 23 year-old outfielder. The right-hander has serious pop, and has already hit 14 homers in Triple-A to go along with a .287/.355/.498 slash line and four stolen bases. While he could certainly cut down on the strikeouts, he has serious potential and is almost MLB-ready.

Mondesi, almost universally ranked the Royals’ top prospect, suffered a PED suspension at the beginning of the year. While this definitely puts his character in question, his raw talent remains unquestionable. A sound defensive shortstop, the 20 year-old (almost 21) adds plenty of speed and a little power to form an all-around enticing package. The bat isn’t quite there yet, but the switch-hitter still has plenty of time to grow and has already made it to Triple-A.

Eric Skoglund is simply an interesting throw-in. The 23 year-old is having a fine season in Double-A, as the lefty has become a sort of a control freak, posting only 1.96 BB/9 thus far. His 6’7” frame means there’s plenty of projectability left in him, and if all breaks right he could become an interesting back-end starter.

That’s all for today. Kendall Graveman and the A’s play host to Mike Fiers and the Houston Astros tonight at 7:05 PM. Feel free to dump any links in the comments below. Until next time - lean on, A’s fans!