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Game Thread #92: A’s Look to Sweep the Indians

One night after Khris Davis hits a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th inning, and a few hours after the A’s confirm a trade that sends Sean Doolittle to Washington, Sean Manaea goes for the sweep against the Indians

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Manaea (7-5, 3.76 ERA) takes the mound for the A’s just hours after it was announced that Oakland had sent Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to the Washington Nationals.

Sure, we’ll talk about the ballgame today and the fact that the A’s, as Jeremy Koo laid out on Twitter today, could conceivably end the day just 5 games out of the second Wild Card slot...

... but what we’re really likely to discuss is the trade.

And [some] A’s fans should remember that this is not a contending team and it’s not a year that they should be contending. They were able to successfully parlay two 30+ year old relievers [Doolittle / Madson] into what could potentially be two really solid future major leaguers [Luzardo / Neuse] -- one of whom [Luzardo] might be a middle of the rotation or front-end starter one day—and another reliever [Treinen] who might bounce back and be better than both relievers you originally traded for the rest of the season. Treinen certainly has the stuff. And hey, maybe we can re-sign him and flip him for more prospects next season!

Game Thread #92 aside, that’s why I follow small market baseball so closely - there are so many intricate layers and the possibilities are endless. I don’t know how these prospects will turn out, or if Blake Treinen will simply finish out his season here with a mid-5s ERA and a handful of losses, but I do know when you hold on to aging [and expensive] players for too long, there are far fewer positive outcomes and there’s a finite window with which that player can be relevant.

Jeremy Koo did a fantastic job of breaking down who the A’s will receive in exchange for their two relievers this morning.

I also recommend Rich Campbell of Forbes’ contract breakdown: the A’s will save roughly $5 million dollars for the remainder of the 2017 season, and a total of $12.1 million on the contracts for both Doolittle and Madson in 2018 before Blake Treinen’s arbitration hearing, but based on his performance this season, it’s likely to be a bargain-bin negotiation.

- The A's shed the 36 year old Madson's contract, which is for $7.7 million this year and an identical salary in 2018.

- The A's also lose Doolittle's very team friendly contract, which pays the 30 year old $2.6 million this season, $4,4 million in 2018 and has team options for $6 million in 2019 and $6.5 million in 2020. Both of those option years have a $500,000 buyouts, if the team declines the option.

- In return the A's now have team control of reliever Blake Treinen. The 29 year old's salary is just $564, 000 and he is eligible for salary arbitration next year and not eligible for free agency until 2021.

Obviously, this morning’s news tends to overshadow today’s game, but it doesn’t necessarily have to. Re-stocking the roster for future seasons doesn’t necessarily mean that the A’s can’t both intelligently rebuild while at the same time, find a way to sweep the first-place Indians, giving us even moe reason to watch the rest of the season with cautious optimism.

Manaea gives the A’s a good chance to do just that today. In Sean’s last 3 starts, he’s 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA but still has room for improvement. His K/BB Ratio is just 2:1 while opposing batters have hit over .300 against him in those 3 starts. With Sonny Gray potentially giving his Oakland swan song on Friday night and Andrew Triggs down for the rest of the season, it could be Manaea that will take the torch the rest of the way en route to being considered the ace of the staff heading into next season.

He’ll face off against Trevor Bauer, who last pitched against the A’s on May 30th when he struck out 14 batters en route to a 9-4 victory. The most batters he’s struck out since was 8, so yeah, maybe the A’s can practice patience and make better contact this time around.

In need of a reliever, the A’s have called up 29-year old Simon Castro, who last made an appearance in the major leagues with the Rockies in 2015. Not only has he looked solid at Nashville this year (3-5, 3.32 ERA), he hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last 10 appearances. In those 11 innings, he has struck out 16, walked 1, and opponents are slashing .154/.195/.179.

Game time is set for 1:05pm.

Today's Lineups

Brandon Guyer - RF Matt Joyce - RF
Francisco Lindor - SS Marcus Semien - SS
Michael Brantley - LF Yonder Alonso - DH
Edwin Encarnacion - DH Khris Davis - LF
Jose Ramirez - 2B Jed Lowrie - 2B
Carlos Santana - 1B Ryon Healy - 1B
Roberto Perez - C Matt Chapman - 3B
Abraham Almonte - CF Jaycob Brugman - CF
Giovanny Urshela - 3B Josh Phegley - C
Trevor Bauer - RHP Sean Manaea - LHP