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The Daily Bernie, 7/31/16: A’s make first deadline deal, acquire Eibner from Kansas City

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The Athletics swapped Triple-A outfielders with the Kansas City Royals, and the Cleveland Indians pulled off a late-night deal for a star catcher, among other news.

Kansas City Royals v Toronto Blue Jays
Your newest Oakland Athletic, Brett Eibner.
Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

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

  • The Athletics had a somewhat surprising start to their trade deadline deals, sending 26 year-old outfielder Billy Burns to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for 27 year-old outfielder Brett Eibner. The move has been made official. Both players will report to their new clubs’ Triple-A affiliates, Eibner to Nashville and Burns to Omaha. Burns was one of the brightest spots on a bad A’s team in 2015, as he came out of nowhere to hit .294/.334/.392 with five home runs and 26 stolen bases. However, he simply couldn’t get it going in 2016, hitting a measly .234 before being demoted to Triple-A earlier in July. Billy’s speed has never been in question, but his poor approach at the plate and bad routes in center field limit his value. Eibner, on the other hand, is a bit old for a prospect but has hit very well at Triple-A these last two seasons. The right-handed hitter has decent power and is solid in the field. He could develop into a good platoon outfielder or possibly even a low-end starter.
  • In very sad news, Athletics catcher Stephen Vogt’s mother Toni died on Thursday, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported. She was only 59. Vogt missed three games last weekend when he was placed on the family medical leave list, presumably related to this tragedy. However, a true team player as always, Vogt returned after missing only the minimum three days, and even started and played all nine innings in Friday’s game. I think I can speak for all of AthleticsNation when I say that we send our deepest condolences to Vogt and his family.
  • The Washington Nationals picked up the closer they were looking for, receiving righty Mark Melancon from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for young lefties Felipe Rivero and Taylor Hearn. The move has been made official. The Nationals have been looking to upgrade over struggling closer Jonathan Papelbon, and the addition of Melancon gives them one of the best bullpens in the game. Pittsburgh, only three games out of the second NL Wild Card spot, chose to sell high, as Melancon will be a free agent after 2016. In return, they picked up a pair of flamethrowers in Rivero and Hearn. Rivero has pitched effectively out of the bullpen the last two seasons, occasionally touching 100 with his fastball. He has five years of team control remaining. Hearn is only 21 and is showing success in Single-A, both as a starter and reliever. The big lefty has all six years of control remaining.
  • The San Diego Padres and Atlanta Braves have completed a swap of bad contracts. Outfielder Matt Kemp will head to Atlanta in exchange for infielder/outfielder Hector Olivera. The deal has been made official. Kemp, 31, has fallen far from his MVP-caliber years as a Los Angeles Dodger. He is still a slightly above-average hitter, but is an atrocious outfielder and is thus barely above replacement level overall. He is owed $54 million over the next three years, as the Dodgers are covering $3.5 million of his contract annually, according to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Olivera, also 31, has not lived up to any of the hype. Signed by the Dodgers out of Cuba to a large contract, he has done nothing but disappoint since - Olivera has been a well below average hitter, and is currently suspended after being arrested for assault and battery in April. This was a pure salary dump for San Diego, who immediately designated Olivera for assignment, according to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports. The Padres also sent over the $10.5 million covered by the Dodgers to the Braves in the trade, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports.
  • Late Saturday night, the Cleveland Indians and Milwaukee Brewers came to an agreement on a deal that would send star catcher Jonathan Lucroy to the Indians, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. The trade, however, is pending Lucroy’s own approval, as the Indians are on his no-trade list. If completed, prospects Francisco Mejia, Greg Allen, Yu-Cheng Chang, and a currently unknown fourth prospect would head to Milwaukee, also according to Rosenthal. Lucroy would add some star power to a Cleveland team already in first place in the AL Central, and would provide a consistent presence to replace the injured and struggling catcher Yan Gomes. The Indians would have to give up quite a haul, however - Mejia, a 20 year-old switch-hitting catcher, has hit .344/.374/.524 with nine home runs between Single-A and High-A in 2016. Chang is an interesting 20 year-old shortstop in High-A with an interesting power-speed combo, and Allen is a 23 year-old outfielder recently promoted to Triple-A with great plate discipline, a lot of speed, and a little pop - potentially the next Coco Crisp. Cleveland would give up quite a bit, but would get to keep their two top outfield prospects (Bradley Zimmer and Clint Frazier) and would add one of the best catchers in the game to an already great team.

Bernie’s Daily Deal: Marc Rzepczynski to the Cleveland Indians for Mike Papi

My original top trade target from the Indians’ farm was Greg Allen, but it looks like it’s too late for that. Regardless, there still seems to be a good fit here. Susan Slusser again heard of Cleveland’s interest in Scrabble on Saturday, and he definitely makes sense for the club as a low-cost LOOGY.

Mike Papi is a 23 year-old outfielder who is always an OOTP stud with decent potential. He hasn’t been great at Double-A, and could be due for a change of scenery. He profiles as an average defensive corner outfielder, and also plays some first base. The main problem is, right now he’s hitting like an outfield Daric Barton, and just typing that made my fingers bleed. In all seriousness, Papi is a great doubles hitter with fantastic walk rates, but strikes out too much, leading to low batting averages. He also has yet to fully tap into his raw power. As it is, if he continues to develop the left-handed hitter could be a solid platoon bench bat. However, if the A’s minor league development staff could get him to show his power and cut down on the strikeouts, you could be looking at a very solid every day player.

That’s all for today. The A’s, behind Sonny Gray, will look to salvage the final game of the series against the Corey Kluber and the Indians at 10:10 AM. Hang on tight - this could be a very busy day of trade activity. Feel free to dump any links in the comments below. Until next time - lean on, A’s fans!