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The Daily Bernie, 7/28/16: Minor deal, major rumors

The Texas Rangers added some pitching depth on Wednesday, while the market for catcher Jonathan Lucroy is starting to heat up, among other news.

Atlanta Braves v Cincinnati Reds
One of the newest Texas Rangers.
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Welcome back to the Daily Bernie! It’s the best dance in the game, so let’s get rolling once more!

  • In a relatively small move, on Wednesday afternoon the Texas Rangers acquired righty Lucas Harrell and lefty Dario Alvarez from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for young infielder Travis Demeritte. The move has been made official. Harrell really isn’t anything special, but the 31 year-old is at least valuable rotation depth for a team that desperately needed it. Alvarez is pretty interesting, as the 27 year-old touches the mid-nineties from the left side and has struck out 28 batters over 15 innings of relief work. The Braves acquired both players in May (Harrell from free agency, Alvarez from the waiver wire) and have now, only two months later, turned the pair into a solid prospect in Demeritte. The second baseman has swatted 25 homers and stolen 13 bases as a 21 year-old in High-A, and would have ranked 9th overall in Texas’ strong farm system, according to Jim Callis of Neither team is done making moves - according to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish, the Rangers will continue to look at all starting pitching options following the deal, and according to Jayson Stark of ESPN, former Athletics legend Jim Johnson could be the next player the Braves look to trade.
  • On Tuesday it was learned that Reds outfielder Jay Bruce could soon be dealt, and now the Seattle Mariners have emerged as another possible suitor for the left-handed slugger, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. While at first this might seem curious, especially after the Mariners’ recent trade of lefty Mark Montgomery, the club is only six games back in the AL West and with Bruce’s affordable 2017 team option, he could make sense for a fringe contender like Seattle. I’m not sure their pitching staff would love having to deal with his poor outfield defense, however.
  • The buzz surrounding Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy is increasing, and as Crasnick reports the Cleveland Indians, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, and Rangers have shown interest, along with a “mystery team”. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports lists the Detroit Tigers as a possible sleeper for the backstop, but it’s possible they don’t have the prospect firepower to outbid other clubs. Crasnick adds that the Indians have reached out to the Brew Crew about a package deal of Lucroy and lefty reliever Will Smith, a match which has long been speculated given Cleveland’s needs in the bullpen and behind the dish. While mid-season trades for catchers remain extremely rare (unless absolutely necessary), it seems more and more likely that Lucroy will be finding a new home within the next few days.
  • According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, there’s at least a chance that the Athletics’ hot streak since the break could cause the club to hold off on selling at the deadline. Personally, I think the club’s recent success and a saturated outfield market could deter the team from dealing right fielder Josh Reddick. However, Oakland starter Rich Hill is a completely different story - if the lefty can make his Sunday start as planned, then he seems a likely bet to be moved. But if his nagging blister sets him back yet again, it would be hard to see a team giving full value for him prior to Monday’s deadline and it might make more sense for the team to hang onto him. It still seems very likely that players such as reliever Marc Rzepczynski (nailed that name on the first try!) and infielder Jed Lowrie will be finding new homes within the next week.
  • Oakland’s midseason Top 30 prospect list has been released by Shortstop Franklin Barreto retains the top spot, while 2016 first round pick (sixth overall) A.J. Puk slots in at number two. Third baseman Ryon Healy’s breakout has boosted him to the fourth spot, while international amateur acquisition Lazaro Armenteros ranks tenth. First baseman/right fielder Matt Olson has sunk all the way to the 14th slot with his struggles in Triple-A, while starters Daniel Mengden and Dillon Overton have risen to the eleventh and ninth spots respectively following their MLB debuts. Barreto and Puk are the only two young Athletics ranked in the updated Top 100, at 55th and 80th respectively. Be sure to check out the full lists for more.

Bernie’s Daily Deal: Jed Lowrie to the San Francisco Giants for Rodolfo Martinez

The Giants need a little depth, especially after injuries to third baseman Matt Duffy and second baseman Joe Panik. Lowrie could bounce around the infield and be a solid switch-hitter off the bench. And for A’s fans that can’t stand to see the Giants succeed, Lowrie probably won’t single-handedly lead the team across the bay to another title. Unless he pulls a Cody Ross.

Of course, you can’t expect a whole lot in return for Jed, a mediocre infielder at best. Rodolfo Martinez is still interesting, though. The 22 year-old righty recently debuted in Double-A, and while he hasn’t been successful there so far, still probably has a Major League future. The reliever sits in the mid to high nineties with a decent slider and posted a 0.88 ERA in High-A so far this year. He should turn into a solid reliever given a year or two.

That’s all for today. The A’s have the day off...which means plenty of time for them to make trades! Feel free to dump any links in the comments below. Until tomorrow - lean on, A’s fans!