The rebuild continues.
The Oakland A’s traded starting pitcher Sean Manaea to the San Diego Padres on Sunday, first reported by MLB insider Mark Feinsand and later confirmed by the team. This is the fourth star traded away by the A’s in the past month, as they continue tearing down their old roster and constructing a younger, cheaper one. They also sent a prospect to the Padres, right-handed pitcher Aaron Holiday.
In return for Manaea and Holiday, Oakland received two prospects, infielder Euribiel Angeles and right-handed pitcher Adrian Martinez.
Angeles spent last season in the lower-minors and will turn 20 next month, and he slots in as the A’s No. 10 prospect according to MLB Pipeline. His top tool is his bat-to-ball contact skill, and he showed that off with a high batting average and low strikeout rate in Low-A as a teenager, followed by a solid 18-game audition in High-A. On defense, he’s currently a shortstop but could end up at second base.
- Angeles, 2021 A-: .343/.397/.461, 128 wRC+, 3 HR, 18 SB, 7.9% BB, 15.1% Ks
- Angeles, 2021 A+: .264/.369/.361, 110 wRC+, 1 HR, 9.3% BB, 18.6% Ks
Martinez reached Triple-A last summer and will pitch at age 25 this year, and MLB Pipeline ranks him No. 25 on the A’s prospect list. The righty has two above-average pitches in his mid-90s fastball and diving changeup, with a slider still in development. He worked mostly as a starter last season but also has bullpen experience, leaving his future role uncertain.
- Martinez, 2021 AA: 2.34 ERA, 80⅔ ip, 83 Ks, 24 BB, 4 HR, 3.14 FIP
- Martinez, 2021 AAA: 5.28 ERA, 44⅓ ip, 39 Ks, 17 BB, 6 HR, 5.29 FIP
Martinez was on San Diego’s 40-man roster, which means he’ll now take a spot on Oakland’s 40-man.
Manaea joins Chris Bassitt, Matt Olson, and Matt Chapman as stars traded away by the A’s since the lockout ended in March. It’s been over two weeks since the last blockbuster for Chapman, and it appeared possible there might not be any more deals, but the sale picked back up just five days before the beginning of the season.
This time, Oakland also chipped in a prospect of their own, sending Holiday to the Padres. The right-hander was a 13th-round draft pick last summer and made a brief pro debut in Rookie Ball.
Another one bites the dust. From a roster-building standpoint it had to happen, but it never gets any easier reading the news that the latest favorite star has been shipped away.
Once the rebuild began, it never made sense to stop before it was finished. Manaea is entering his final year of team control, which made him an obvious trade chip, and his recent success combined with his long injury history made it wise to cash in now rather than waiting with fingers crossed until the July deadline. With the Matts gone and contention no longer a realistic plan in 2022, take it the rest of the way instead of wasting Manaea’s value on a 70-win team.
The question is whether the return they got was worth giving him up. As a one-year rental making a nearly $10 million salary, he wasn’t going to fetch any Top 100 level prospects, but even with that caveat Baseball Trade Values suggests the A’s got an especially light package. Trading him now is a must if you can get full value, and if you can get more than you would by waiting until July. Is that what they did here, or did they simply dump him off the payroll?
That said, there’s plenty to like about the two prospects. Angeles has the Hit tool that Oakland has been unable to develop in their system lately, and he’s actually performed in the pros so far instead of just offering theoretical potential. Martinez could find his way to the majors sometime this summer, and if all goes well then he ultimately takes a spot in the rotation. The A’s certainly got more than nothing, with Angeles ranking in their farm’s new and vastly improved Top 10 list.
With this trade, the 2022 season will be a little bit less fun, but hopefully the 2023-26 seasons will be cooler because of it. Whether that exchange is worth it is in the eye of the beholder, both in terms of whether to trade stars for prospects, and whether you like this seemingly modest return, but one thing we can’t be is surprised. This is the process in Oakland, and they’re nothing if not consistent.
Hopefully it works out again like it so often does, and like it did when they acquired Manaea as a prospect for a couple months of Ben Zobrist back in 2015.
Best of luck to Manaea in San Diego, where he’ll be reunited with manager Bob Melvin! We didn’t have to wait long to see him in his new uniform, as the A’s hosted the Padres this afternoon for a Cactus League spring training game. The lefty was already scheduled to start, so he switched dugouts and went against his former teammates, albeit still wearing his old green glove. This final ovation is from all of us at Athletics Nation.