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Bud's keeping the payroll at 65M and building toward 2020. Could it surprise and win 90 games?


Let's not get our hope's up for a blockbuster off season. The A's publicly said they were committed to a full rebuild and for the first time in years a new ball park has hope (I am still skeptical). They want to build from within. So with that in mind, I will start with the upgrade and add a right handed outfielder who will be around (theoretically) when the ball park opens

Oak receives Stephen Piscotty

STL gets Chad Pinder, Liam Hendricks, Logan Shore (#8)

STL has a glut of OF and needs power not OBP. Whether they land Stanton or Ozuna is debateable but I do think they make the move for one. They have more bodies than needed and looking for more so Piscotty becomes expendable. Although the contract is friendly, it doesn't come risk free (see Allan Craig or even to a lesser extent Jorge Soler). That said he is exact bat that fits in front of the A's power bats and signed through 2022. A's gamble he is RF of the present and future.

STL needs power and Pinder provides exactly that while able to play anywhere on the diamond at the bargain price with 5 years of control. STL pen was destroyed by Rosenthal's TJS and So's FA, so they grab a guy to plug into the 7-8th inning for next two years on the cheap. Hate giving up Shore but he replenishes whatever young pitching they give up to get the power bat. May only profile as a #4-5 SP but my money is on him carving out a nice long career in the middle of a rotation. Old adage, got to give to get. Beane did say he wanted to keep the MLB core intact but this move's sole purpose of dealing from area of strength (MI) for an area of need young OF.

This next one was tough for me, as the organization has stated they plan on moving on from Healy. What is the value of a bat only player with 5 years of control who can give you 25 bombs a year? Should be high, but the problem is NL teams he doesn't have same appeal. Issue in AL is most already set at DH. The one team where he made sense was KC. Losing bulk of middle of the order and rebuilding.

OAK receives Kelvin Herrera & Cam Gallagher

KC gets Ryon Healy, & Norge Ruiz (#20)

KC likely loses Hosmer & Moose making a huge hole in middle of line up. Healy provides the power needed to bat in middle for rebuilding club who can fill in at 1st & 3rd in a pitch. With Moss on roster they can split DH, while one plays field enough to utilize both with Healy then taking DH role moving forward. KC has a glut of very good C's both at MLB and MILB and can give up on Gallagher to grab a young controllable back end starter/swingman type. With Maxwell situation and A's likely to non tender Phegley they get a plug and play young C to either split time with Maxwell or be a day one starter.

Herrera will cost 8.3M and fell apart last year but for bulk of his career was lights out. A's take risk they get the old Herrera and can flip him at the deadline for a really nice package. With Soria being paid 10M and rest of pen costing arb figures they move Herrera for cost controlled power.

Since we are talking Moss remember we (dumped) traded him for a 2nd baseman. Well he is out of options and more than MLB ready without a spot in OAK but still a top 30 prospect. Another mid-west team looking to rebuild and shed salary where they could use a 2nd baseman. A trade no one will remember but potentially pays dividends for both.

OAK receives Bryan Garcia (#22)

DET gets Joey Weddle (#23)

Detroit likely to move Kinsler in the offseason or mid year and will need a replacement. Joey Weddle is exactly that. Plug and play MLB ready and cheap something DET is looking for after owners death and rebuild. High AVG/OBP player to usher in next chapter.

A's get former college and MILB closer with AA experience. Being drafted in 2016 means doesn't have to be protected on the 40. Likely not a closer at MLB, still someone who can give quality 7th inning work in 2020 and beyond.

Since were working on back end of the pen for 2020 let's get a lefty.

OAK receives Jared Miller (#17)

AZ gets Santiago Casilla (plus 3M) and Frankie Montas

AZ lost its closer to FA, but found that older former closer's could still do the trick. They plan on giving ball to Bradley but want cheap insurance in Casilla if Bradley falters. Montas also gives them an additional arm and 100 mph heat. Since he is out of options the A's risk him reaching potential for a dominant lefty they plan on needing when they return to relevance.

Jared Miller is a huge LH who throws upper 90's and K's more than a batter per inning in career. He continues his craft in 2018 at Nashville and becomes integral big piece of pen by 2020, but controllable through 2025.

Now that the A's have gained some nice arms for the future let's fill out the rest of the 2018 roster in Free Agency.

Justin Masterson (SP) - 1yr / 4M - Offered guaranteed MLB contract and starting role ala Rich Hill. He becomes staff veteran. May stick through April or may become former self and a huge trade chip at the deadline. Either way small investment to see if the sinkerballer can regain quality MLB innings eater at a great pitchers park.

Kevin Seigriest (LH RP) - 1yr / 2M - Former dominant LH reliever for STL fell from grace and was DFA'd late in the year. PHI used #1 waiver priority to grab him but became a FA at years end. Hopefully a full off season of rest and he shows the tires still have lots of tread. If so valuable trade chip at deadline. If not back to DFA scrap pile and Moll is called up. Low risk, High Upside.

JJ Hardy (SS) - 1yr / 5M - Aged vet brings leadership to the core young middle infielders. The MLB depth was thinned with trades but JJ is stopgap to ensure the future of Barreto, Mateo, Munoz, Schrock, Martin, Neuse, Merrell, Allen get regular AB's at proper levels. Can back up SS, 3B, or 2B.

Luke Gregerson (RP) 2yr / 10M - Old friend is brought back. Gives a different look to the pen and veteran presence.

*** Miquel Montero (C) 1yr / 2M - If Maxwell can't play in 18 is signed as backup C

DFA or non tendered - Hatcher, Phegley, Smolinski, & Hahn (unless anyone offers anything)

The Team:

SP - Sean Manaea (600K)

SP - Kendall Graveman (2.6M)

SP - Justin Masterson (4M)

SP - Jharel Cotton (600K)

SP - Daniel Mendgen (600K)

AAA Depth - No clue who wins the last 2 rotation spots so adding Blackburn, Triggs, Gossett as possibilities to open in rotation.

Bullpen:

CL - Blake Trienan (2.3M)

RH - Kelvin Herrera (8.3M)

RH - Luke Gregerson (5M)

LH - Kevin Seigrest (2M)

LH - Daniel Coulombe (600K)

RH - Ryan Dull (600K)

RH - Raul Alcantara (600K)

Raul gets the opening day assignment as out of options. Bassett & Wahl other long man options if they go 8 man pen and 4 SP early.

C - Cam Gallagher (600K)

C - Bruce Maxwell (600K) or Miquel Montero (2M)

1B - Matt Olson (600K)

2B- Jed Lowrie (6M)

SS - Marcus Semien (3.2M)

3B - Matt Chapman (600K)

INF - JJ Hardy (5M)

INF/OF/DH - Renato Nunez (600K)

DH/OF - Khris Davis (11.2M)

OF - Stephen Piscotty (1M)

OF - Matt Joyce (6M)

OF - Dustin Fowler (600K)

OF - Boog Powell (600K)

Dead Money - (3M - Casilla)

The young core is maintained and the big money picked up in the off season is almost all off the books by years end with exception of 30M to Piscotty. Who is viewed as long term piece. Only 4 players who were regulars in 2017 were dealt and of the 4 only Pinder could be considered a long term piece albeit without a position. The minor league's were not raided with only 1 top 10 prospect moved and he was only #8 (granted I do hate losing him). A's got some potential late inning arms that will be ready and still cheap when the A's contend. That savings can be sunk into long term contracts for the current young players keeping the core intact.

A's picked up potential deadline trade chips to further enhance the future with Herrera, Masterson, Seigriest, Gregerson, Hardy along with stay overs of Lowrie and Joyce.

With middle infielders and SP close to MLB ready the A's have the depth to trade for BPA as they prepare for Laney College site in 2021/2.

While it would be great to swing some wild trades and trading the farm, I do think the A's will stick with the rebuild with the eye on winning big in 2020 and beyond!

Not sexy but neither is the coliseum, however the future looks promising.