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The Daily Bernie, 7/4/16: Oakland A’s struggle to stay healthy

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A pair of Oakland’s top trade chips performed well in front of scouts on Saturday night, while the rest of the club simply can’t stay healthy, among other news.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Oakland Athletics
Josh Reddick continues to ponder his future with the club, but also continues to destroy baseballs.
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to the Daily Bernie, and happy Fourth of July, Athletics Nation! The Bernie is back, covering every major trade and rumor throughout the month of July. It’s the best dance in the game, so let’s get rolling once more!

  • A plethora of scouts were in attendance for Saturday night’s 10-inning loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Scouts from the Pirates, Red Sox, Orioles, Yankees, Cubs, and Royals were checking out pending free agents and likely trade chips Rich Hill and Josh Reddick, among other players. These scouts were certainly satisfied, as Hill threw six strong innings and Reddick went 4-4 with a walk.
  • The injuries won’t stop for the Athletics. On Sunday morning, catcher Josh Phegley hit the disabled list with recurring right knee pain, as the team announced on Twitter. Replacing him on the roster was catcher Matt McBride, who clubbed a double in Sunday’s loss. Phegley may have to undergo knee surgery. Reliever Fernando Rodriguez could be joining Phegley, as he left Sunday’s game in the middle of the eighth inning with a right shoulder strain. He received an MRI on Sunday night, and “DL is a possibility” according to Joe Stiglich of CSN California.
  • Oakland surprised many by striking big on the international amateur market, inking deals with five top prospects on July 2nd, as the team announced on Twitter. The headliner was Cuban outfielder Lazaro “Lazarito” Armenteros, a well-built 17 year-old with five-tool potential. He received a $3 million signing bonus. The A’s also agreed to deals with Dominican shortstops Marcos Brito ($1.1 million) and Yerdel Vargas ($1.5 million), as well as outfielder Kevin Richards ($600k) and third baseman George Bell ($500k). These signings blew Oakland past its spending cap, forcing a 100% tax on overages and prohibiting the team from spending more than $300k on bonuses for the next two years. For more on these players, check out AN’s coverage of the international signings.
  • Two significant trades transpired on Thursday, as righty Bud Norris and young outfielder Dian Toscano were sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers. In exchange, the Atlanta Braves received young relievers Caleb Dirks and Phil Pfeifer. Norris stepped directly into Clayton Kershaw’s spot in the rotation, as the ace hit the disabled list with a back injury. At about the same time, the Miami Marlins added righty Fernando Rodney to their bullpen, sending interesting A-ball righty Chris Paddack to the San Diego Padres to complete the deal. Rodney, despite his 2015 struggles with the Mariners, has been dominant this season and will strengthen a Marlins bullpen weakened by the preseason loss of Carter Capps to Tommy John Surgery.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays could jump on the starting pitching market, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. At 33-47, the Rays have fallen out of contention and could capitalize on a very weak starting pitching market by dealing Matt Moore, Jake Odorizzi, and/or Drew Smyly. While none of these pitchers are setting the world on fire, the demand for starting pitching is so much higher than the number of quality starters available that the Rays could really re-tool their ballclub by moving one or more of their arms.

Bernie’s Daily Deal: Rich Hill and Marc Rzepczynski to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Trayce Thompson and Andrew Toles

Klay’s younger brother Trayce is in the midst of a breakout season, as the outfielder acquired in the three-way Todd Frazier deal has filled in well during Yasiel Puig’s absence, smacking 13 home runs in only 236 plate appearances. The Dodgers certainly aren’t actively shopping him, but do face a bit of an outfield logjam, and dangling an arm as effective as Hill’s could get them to bite. And while the talent is obvious, Thompson still has some obvious holes in his game - his .322 OBP isn’t bad but could be better, and defensive metrics haven’t liked his work in the outfield at all. While still a work in progress, he would slide directly into Oakland’s starting outfield, especially if Reddick is indeed dealt.

Scrabble also makes quite a bit of sense for Los Angeles. Southpaw Adam Liberatore has been fantastic, but J.P. Howell has struggled as the second lefty out of their bullpen, and Rzepczynski would definitely be an upgrade. To even the deal out, the Dodgers could include fringy young outfielder Andrew Toles. The 24 year-old is in the midst of a very strong season between High-A, Double-A, and now Triple-A, and profiles as a speedy contact-oriented fourth outfielder, a Craig Gentry type.

That’s all for today. Kendall Graveman and the A’s face off against Ricky Nolasco and the Minnesota Twins at 11:10 AM PST. Feel free to dump any links in the comments below. Until tomorrow - lean on, A’s fans!