It's the calm before the storm, and don’t kid yourself — there is going to be a storm. Whether it is more of a tornado or a cloudburst remains to be seen, as is precisely who is washed away and who lands on our shore.
My expectation is that even though he will not pitch Sunday’s game, Rich Hill will be dealt by Monday afternoon. In a seller’s market, especially for starting pitchers, David Forst is like a used car dealer who knows the value of his "as is" item. Hint: it’s still high.
"This 1980 Hill Bishopa? It has literally never driven better -- and you can drive it off the lot today if you want. Talk about low miles, hoo boy! You see that dent? Yeah, that’s a blister and it transferred some more miles from July to September. About 14 innings’ worth, I reckon. That’s right, this Bishopa right here has only 76 IP on it in 2016! Should be good for another 50-60 IP, easy. No wonder so many teams are looking him over this weekend, but he can be yours.
Now let’s talk about price. We can finance it with a few prospects you won’t pay for until later."
I think the A’s still hold enough cards to get a good haul, certainly one bountiful enough to make it worth making a trade now rather than setting for the qualifying offer and related draft pick. The question is whether they will emphasize quality or quantity, high or low risk, BPA (best player available) or to fill an identified area of need.
In some ways it would be more gratifying to see Oakland fill an immediate need with a major league ready piece, though generally you get a better "package" or "haul" by gambling on prospects who are farther away from the big leagues.
Let’s take a look at the teams who are known to be, or thought to be, or assumed to be, in the market for Hill, in approximate order to likely pursue: Blue Jays, Astros, Dodgers, Rangers, Pirates, Orioles, Red Sox.
Some players who might be appealing as "big league ready now":
Some players who might be appealing as filling an existing need:
Some younger players who might be appealing as "best prospect available":
- Chance Sisco (C, 21, Orioles)
- Alex Verdugo (OF, 20, Dodgers)
- Michael Kopech (SP, 20, Red Sox)
- Cody Bellinger (21, 1B-OF, Dodgers)
- Grant Holmes (20, SP, Dodgers)
- Francis Martes (20, SP, Astros)
- Kyle Tucker (19, OF, Astros)
My questions to you:
- From which of these categories do you see the A’s drawing? "Ready now"? "Fill a need?" "Talented and not yet close to the big leagues?"
- Which of these players do you think are the most realistic targets in a Rich Hill trade?
- Who did I miss who should be on one of these lists?
Thankfully we’ll know soon enough and we won’t have to wait for another heart-attack inducing — or is it adrenaline-rushing? — yellowjacket colored banner.