Welcome back to the Daily Bernie! The big day is finally here, as the official deadline for all non-waiver trades is this afternoon at 1 PM Pacific. Buckle up and hang on tight - today is sure to be very wild. It’s the best dance in the game, so let’s get rolling once more!
- Today, we will finally find out the short-term fates of pending Athletics free agents Rich Hill and Josh Reddick. The two have generated tons of trade interest, and most recently the Los Angeles Dodgers and Toronto Blue Jays have looked into acquiring both in a package deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Rosenthal also reports that the A’s will not do a conditional deal for Hill (meaning, they would receive a certain player only if Hill made a certain number of starts) and that the Athletics were looking to extend the lefty. However, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com, it appears more likely Hill will be dealt than extended. As far as Reddick goes, his market seems to hinge on Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jay Bruce - if he goes to the San Francisco Giants (who are pushing hard for him, per John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle), then the Dodgers could be forced to give up a big package for Reddick (and possibly Hill) out of desperation. This will be a very wild series of events, as both players could conceivably be either dealt today or kept.
- The Cleveland Indians made the most noise on Sunday, acquiring star reliever Andrew Miller from the New York Yankees in exchange for a massive prospect package. The Yankees received highly touted outfielder Clint Frazier, starter Justus Sheffield, and relievers Ben Heller and J.P. Feyereisen. The deal has been made official. Miller, one of the nastiest lefties in the game, adds an absolutely dominant arm to the best team in the AL. He will be under affordable team control through 2018. The Yankees, on the other hand, did very well for themselves - Frazier has exciting five-tool potential, and Sheffield could be a mid-rotation lefty. Both players are Top 100 prospects. Heller and Feyereisen are two hard-throwing right-handed relievers that could make an impact in the New York bullpen as early as 2017.
- However, not all of Sunday’s news was positive for the Indians. Their trade for catcher Jonathan Lucroy, which had been agreed upon with the Milwaukee Brewers as recently as Saturday night, fell through as Lucroy exercised his no-trade clause to deny the deal. According to Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com, part of the problem was that Lucroy wanted the Indians to nix his cheap 2017 team option, and Cleveland refused. Another issue, according to Bob Nightendale of USA Today Sports, was that Cleveland would not guarantee Lucroy the starting catching job in 2017. There is still a high chance that Lucroy is moved to a team not on his no-trade list, and the Texas Rangers seem like the frontrunners, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.
- The Yankees also weren’t done on Sunday, acquiring righty Tyler Clippard from the Arizona Diamondbacks just hours after dealing away Miller. In return, Arizona received young righty Vicente Campos. The trade has been made official. Clippard, a former Yankee, is under team control through 2017 and will help ease the losses of Miller and lefty Aroldis Chapman, sent to the Cubs earlier in July. Campos, on the other hand, is an interesting 24 year-old starter. The righty had flown through the Yankees system in 2016, going from High-A all the way to Triple-A. He has decent upside, and could make the Diamondbacks’ rotation as early as mid-2017.
- The St. Louis Cardinals also added to their bullpen, picking up lefty Zach Duke from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for young outfielder Charlie Tilson. The move has also been made official. Duke, under team control through 2017, isn’t flashy but has been a solid reliever since 2014. Tilson is a speedy 23 year-old that profiles best as a fourth outfielder, and could fill that role for the White Sox very soon.
- The Baltimore Orioles picked up a cheap lefty to slot into their rotation, acquiring southpaw Wade Miley from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for minor league lefty Ariel Miranda. The deal has been made official. Miley isn’t a flashy arm in the slightest, but is somewhat reliable and can eat innings. He is under team control through 2017, with a 2018 club option. Miranda, signed from Cuba, could replace Miley immediately for Seattle. Not a top prospect by any means, Miranda is probably a back-end arm at best.
- Other names to watch today: Carlos Beltran, Will Smith, Jeremy Jeffress, Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson, Derek Norris, Chris Archer, Chris Sale, and everyone on the Angels not named Mike Trout.
Bernie’s Daily Deal: Rich Hill, Josh Reddick, and Ryan Madson to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Yasiel Puig, Grant Holmes and Johan Mieses
Holy blockbuster, Batman. The Dodgers seem like the best fit for three of the A’s top trade chips, and could be forced to take action if the Giants do indeed net Bruce. Los Angeles has also been looking to deal Puig, and while Athletics Nation as a whole is torn on the Cuban outfielder, I think Oakland is the perfect fit for him.
Puig is still only 25, and is a right-handed hitting outfielder. He has an absolute cannon, and his defense in right field passes the eye test for sure, even if metrics don’t quite agree. Under team control through 2018 for a total of only $14 million (according to FanGraphs; I will admit to not fully understanding the specifics of his contract), Puig has five-win upside or better, as he showed in his breakout 2014. Many who know him have stated that the flashy outfielder could thrive outside of LA’s harsh spotlight, and Oakland could be the perfect solution for him to bounce back to his All-Star caliber ways.
The A’s would also receive an exciting, high-upside arm in Grant Holmes. Only 20, Holmes is pitching quite well in High-A, thanks to a live fastball, sharp curve, and developing but solid changeup. His command could use some work, but in only a couple of short years Holmes could be thriving in the middle of Oakland’s rotation. Finally, Johan Mieses is a young outfielder somewhat similar to Puig. Only 21, Mieses has struggled to make consistent contact in the minors, but the right-handed hitter has a cannon for an arm and huge raw power. He has smacked 17 home runs in High-A this year while playing a capable centerfield, and makes for a very interesting lottery ticket.
Jed Lowrie and John Axford to the New York Mets for Robert Gsellman and Chris Flexen
Another deal? Yep, it’s time to go for broke, considering this is the last day trades like this will be possible. The Mets, wishing to add a righty to their pen, have shown interest in Axford before, and having lost shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to a very concerning knee injury in Sunday’s contest, they could use some infield depth in Lowrie as well.
Robert Gsellman is an interesting but fringy arm with solid command. The 23 year-old righty has posted an unsightly 6.94 ERA in Triple-A so far and has seemingly forgotten how to strike batters out. A complete turnaround could make him into a back-end starter, but he’s more likely a bullpen arm. Chris Flexen is my own personal pick, as he was my former pitching coach! The righty underwent Tommy John Surgery in 2014, but has looked very solid in his return. He has a plus fastball, solid command, and a decent slider. The 22 year-old is currently in High-A, but could move quickly.
Marc Rzepczynski to the Texas Rangers for Yeyson Yrizarri
I love this trade simply because both players’ names are nearly impossible to spell. The Rangers might not be done in their search for relief help, and Scrabble has quietly been solid enough to help out a team down the stretch.
Yeyson Yrizarri is a 19 year-old shortstop in Single-A. Obviously very far from the big leagues and at a fairly high level for his age, Yrizarri has struggled in 2016, barely walking at all and striking out a bit too much. He has a strong arm, decent speed, and a little pop. Long-term, he’s probably a back-up infielder, but if he hits his 90th percentile he could become a player similar to Eduardo Nunez.
That’s all for today. The A’s have the day off, but will almost certainly be far from quiet. Be sure to stay tuned to AN for updates. Feel free to dump any links in the comments below. I’ll see you all on the other side. Until tomorrow - lean on, A’s fans!