Hallelujah, the lockout is over! Baseball is back, with an eventful week ahead for the sport with free agent signings and trades expected to be completed in short order.
On the flip side, though, is the dreaded rebuild many A’s fans have come to expect when the lockout was lifted. Now that it has been, we hold our breath to see what the team decides to do. With Oakland being phased back into a revenue-sharing club, and with an expanded postseason, there remains a glimmer of hope that they won’t completely tear down the roster, even if that scenario still sees trades in an effort to pare back payroll and build a new young core.
We’ve already discussed the two corner infielders, third baseman Matt Chapman and first baseman Matt Olson, as well as the three-headed monster at the top of the rotation — Chris Bassitt, Sean Manaea, and Frankie Montas. However, those are just the big and most obvious names on the roster that could be dealt.
Current closer Lou Trivino could also find his way out the door in the coming week as the most expensive piece in the bullpen, but that would leave Deolis Guerra as the only returning arm to the A’s pen. Infielder/outfielder Tony Kemp has proven to be a useful piece for a team trying to contend, and while his contract is extremely affordable, even for the A’s, a team could always approach with an offer Oakland couldn’t refuse.
If the A’s are really adamant about cutting payroll, they could even try to package one of the Matt’s or a starting pitcher with right fielder Stephen Piscotty to get his $7.5MM off the payroll. Doing so would lessen any prospect haul coming back from the Matt/pitcher, though, and the A’s would be selling at Piscotty’s lowest value. The same strategy could also apply to shortstop Elvis Andrus and his own pricey contract.
There is one more A’s star that could be traded but would constitute quite the surprise: catcher Sean Murphy. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the A’s consider their Gold Glove catcher available for discussion due being only a year away from arbitration as well as taking advantage of a market that isn’t stocked with quality backstop options. Would Oakland really take away an important player for what could be a young pitching staff? Or could they try to package someone like Chapman with Murphy for what could be an immense haul?
What do you expect to happen in the next week? Let’s chat below!