Good morning, Athletics Nation! And happy birthday to my mother!
For over three months, player transactions were frozen around Major League Baseball during the coronavirus pandemic shutdown. That freeze ended on Friday, and we’re beginning to see the first signs of serious movement among teams.
The Oakland A’s got the trade market started again by swapping infield prospect Jorge Mateo to the Padres for a player to be named later. The move helps ease a middle-infield logjam on the A’s current roster, one in which none of the candidates could be sent down to Triple-A — for his part, Mateo was out of minor league options. Click here for more details on the trade.
Meanwhile, in the National League, the Rockies made a notable pickup by signing Matt Kemp to a minor league contract, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today. That might not seem relevant to an A’s site, but there are three reasons why it’s interesting.
The first, as mentioned above, is that it’s just been a long time since we’ve seen any team sign an MLB-caliber player. Take a moment to drink in some actual, real-life baseball news.
More importantly, Oakland is set to play Colorado this season. With teams competing against only regional opponents, the AL West will be limited to playing each other and the NL West. The current expectation is they’ll have four games against each interleague rival, which means 7% of their 60-game schedule should include the Rockies — that would prorate to nearly a dozen games in a normal full campaign.
Finally, Kemp’s signing is a reminder that the DH is coming to the NL in 2020. The 35-year-old has been a train wreck in the field the last decade, but his bat stayed alive for most of that time. Last year was mostly a lost season for him (with the Reds), but as recently as 2018 he hit well enough to earn an All-Star berth with the Dodgers.
While every NL team has to suddenly make last-minute plans for their new DH spot, the Rockies found themselves in an even deeper hole when one of their top in-house candidates, Ian Desmond, exercised his right to opt out of the season amid the pandemic. Now they’ve added a new veteran bat in his place. We’ll have to wait to see whether Kemp actually makes the team in Colorado, but he’s at least in the conversation for one of the A’s new regional rivals.
- Hall: A’s trade Jorge Mateo to Padres for player to be named later
- Gallegos: A’s deal Mateo to Padres for player to be named
- Hickey: Athletics Deal Jorge Mateo to Padres, Clearing Up Second Base Logjam
- Hickey: The MLB Rules Have Changed a Little for Athletics Rule 5 infielder Vimael Machin
- Portside podcast: Guest is John Hickey
- Bair: A’s Matt Olson has long history of power surges in 60-game stretches
- Hall: A’s will fill Coliseum stands with cardboard cutouts of fans
- Hall: 2020 Minor League Baseball season officially canceled
MLB News, & Interest:
- Cooper and Norris: The 2020 Minor League Season Is Canceled. So What Happens Next?
- Mullen: It’s Bobby Bonilla Day! Why Mets pay him $1.19 million today and every July 1
- Dodger Talk interview: Mark McGwire: “I Think Players Should Play With (Masks) On”
- Yoo: KBO considering QR code registration for fans when stadiums reopen during pandemic
- MLB: The top Summer Camp storyline for every team
- Harrigan: These rookies could play big part in playoff race
- Adler: Former MVPs want Landis removed from plaque
- Today in Baseball History
Best of Twitter:
Official statement from Minor League Baseball
Update: President Kaval is still the best
We also have a visiting fan zone. So fans of the @sfgiants for instance can buy cutouts. We will be conveniently putting them in the Seagull zone where the birds can perform target practice... https://t.co/WLKu8LxJAj— Dave Kaval (@DaveKaval) June 30, 2020
Early analysis of A’s trade return in the Mateo deal
One reason to hurry it up and do PTBNL is to prevent Mateo from having to go to Oakland and then on to SD in a week or two or whatever the timeline would have been. A considerate gesture. https://t.co/skDpXhnyOG— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) June 30, 2020
Yes, even bigger than the bonuses of Strasburg and Harper, though they got more money overall in their post-draft contracts (under a different system that didn’t have team bonus pool caps).
No. 1 overall pick Spencer Torkelson signs with @Tigers for $8,416,300 (slot value = 8,415,300). New @MLBDraft bonus record, also first No. 1 overall pick to get or top slot value in bonus-pool era. Perhaps the best all-around offensive talent to come out of Draft in 20 years.— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) June 30, 2020
Snippet of McGwire’s interview (full version linked above in MLB News section)
Happy Bobby Bonilla Day!