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A’s trade Dustin Fowler to Pirates for cash

The outfielder was DFA’d on Monday

Colorado Rookies v Oakland Athletics
Pittsburgh is the land of rebuilding opportunity right now
Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s traded outfielder Dustin Fowler to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for cash considerations, the team announced Wednesday.

Fowler had been designated for assignment on Monday, to make room on the 40-man roster for new free agent signing Trevor Rosenthal. The DFA meant Fowler needed to be either traded or waived, and the A’s found a taker for him in Pittsburgh.

After missing a chance to stick in the majors in 2018, there was no longer much opportunity for Fowler in Oakland. The outfield depth chart has turned into a logjam with several quality competitors, and he never made it back to the bigs in 2019-20. He’s also out of options, meaning he could no longer be stashed in Triple-A if there once again wasn’t a place for him on the Opening Day roster.

But the Pirates are in the midst of a scorched-earth rebuild, meaning they should have ample playing time for anyone who can earn it. That’s perfect for a 26-year-old former top prospect looking for a new chance to prove himself, much like similar late-bloomer candidates often find their strides in green and gold after stalling elsewhere.

The A’s didn’t get any players in return for Fowler, but it never seemed likely that they would given his fallen stock and their lack of leverage with his option status. And hey, a bit of cash is better than nothing in a winter notorious for not having any.

Best of luck to Fowler in Pittsburgh! He overcame a tough injury in his MLB debut just to keep his career going at all, and it’s easy to root for that kind of perseverance.

Sonny Gray trade scorecard

Time to update the Sonny trade. The A’s got three players in the deal:

  • OF Dustin Fowler: traded for cash
  • IF Jorge Mateo: traded for another prospect (OF Junior Perez)
  • RHP James Kaprielian: still on A’s 40-man roster

So far two of the three prospects have not panned out, but one of them was swapped for a new prospect. Even though Mateo didn’t make it to Oakland, you could say they restarted the clock on him in the form of the younger Perez.

Meanwhile, Kaprielian is still here, he’s finally healthy, and he made his MLB debut last year. He was just voted No. 7 on our new Community Prospect List, and he’s part of the immediate 2021 pitching depth chart even if he doesn’t make the Opening Day squad. His fortunes will now almost entirely determine how we look back on the Sonny trade.