clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Good Trade? Bad Trade? Depends On What The A’s Passed Up

New York Mets v Atlanta Braves Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

There’s a simple equation on the internet: "Inference" + "Internet" = "Baseless speculation," because a little knowledge is indeed a dangerous thing. Did the A’s make the right trade in dealing Rich Hill and Josh Reddick together for a package of three minor league pitchers? Or were their options, dealing them separately to teams intent on trading for a SP or RF, superior?

Ultimately, what the A’s settled on was to bring back 20 year old SP Grant Holmes, a 1st round pick out of high school in 2014, 24 year old Jharel Cotton, whose changeup is unquestioned but whose role as a SP or RP is still unknown, and the fire-balling 23-year old Frankie Montas, most likely ticketed to be a closer although a gig in the rotation has not yet been ruled out.

My first reaction to the deal was "all pitchers?" because the A’s have clear needs in the COF and currently at 2B and CF. Pitchers are extremely valuable, both to your own success and also as assets, along with being highly volatile from a health standpoint. Ideally you would like a balance of pitching and help at a position around the diamond and certainly the A’s did not opt for that balance.

On the other hand, I was familiar with all three pitchers and had favorable views of all three, so from a "best talent available" standpoint Oakland seemed to come out pretty well to get three highly regarded pitchers, two of whom could easily be factors in 2017.

The question is: what could the A’s have done instead, and for that we can only infer based on what actually transpired around the league on a busy Monday afternoon.

The deal that stands out to me is the one which sent Jay Bruce to the New York Mets in exchange for minor league infielder Dilson Herrera and minor league lefty pitcher Max Wotell, a 19-year old 3rd round pick. That’s a pretty good haul for Bruce, whose 80 RBI lead the National League but whose defense is very sub-par (-16.0 UZR/150 according to Fangraphs).

Who is worth more, Reddick or Bruce? According to fWAR, Reddick has the edge (1.0 to 0.7), and according to bWAR it’s not even close (Reddick 2.2, Bruce 0.6), making you wonder if Herrera and Wotell could have been had for Reddick. Certainly one has to imagine that Oakland could have procured Herrera, unless the Mets were just hell-bent on the long ball that chicks dig — there it’s mega-advantage Bruce, 25-8.

Herrera was most certainly a target of mine, as a 22-year old 2Bman batting .276/.327/.462 at AAA and blessed with excellent physical tools. If the Mets dangled Herrera and a 3rd round pick for Bruce, you can infer they made Herrera available in a possible Reddick deal.

Of course by trading Hill alone to the Dodgers you lose some of the haul the A’s wound up getting. How much? Hill for Holmes and one of Cotton or Montas? Hill for Holmes straight up? Hard to say. Stupid blister.

Let’s say the Mets were prepared to pony up the same haul for Reddick they offered for Bruce, and let’s say the Dodgers were not willing to offer more than Holmes for Hill alone. That is certainly not tipping it in the A’s favor.

That would leave you with a possible haul of Dilson Herrera, Max Wotell, and Grant Holmes. Better? Worse? The same?

My questions to you are:

  • Given what we now know, what do you think the A’s could have gotten had they dealt Reddick and Hill separately in order to bring back a blend of pitchers and position players from two different organizations?
  • Specifically, what do you infer the A’s could have gotten for Reddick to the Mets and for Hill to the Dodgers?
  • Would you have preferred the deal you infer the A’s could have gotten, or would you still want the three pitchers Oakland got from the Dodgers?

I guess a lot of it depends on how you feel about Herrera, who is about major league ready and plays a position of need — but of course the same can be said of Arismendy Alcantara and Joey Wendle. I’m a bit agnostic because I do like Cotton and Montas, and I also like Herrera and hoped Oakland would improve itself somewhere in the area of 2B/CF/RF.

Your thoughts?