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A’s trade Cristian Pache to Phillies

Right-handed pitcher Billy Sullivan coming back in return

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland A’s have traded outfielder Cristian Pache to the Philadelphia Phillies for right-handed pitcher Billy Sullivan.

With the news that Pache wouldn’t make the Opening Day roster, it was only a matter of time before he departed the organization. Instead of getting claimed on waivers and losing him for nothing, the team is unceremoniously trading him and getting at least something back in return.

That return is Sullivan. A 28th-round pick of the Phillies all the way back in 2017, he has been used almost exclusively as a reliever since going pro. He made it to Double-A last year and pitched in 44 games, throwing to a 4.59 ERA in 51 innings, but he did rack up 77 strikeouts during that time. The issue with him is command as he also walked 36 hitters.

That huge strikeout rate is what drew the attention of the front office. Right now the plan is for him to start the season in Vegas at Triple-Az If he can keep up the strikeouts and lower the walks we could theoretically see him at some point this year.

And so ends the Pache era in Oakland. After coming over from the Braves in the Matt Olson trade, Pache was a top prospect in all of baseball and seen as the center fielder of the future. He just never really got going with the team, though. His defense was everything and more than what the team was expecting, but he just looked completely overpowered by major-league pitching all year before finally getting demoted back to the minors. That move didn’t really help either as his struggles with the bat continued in a very hitter-friendly environment.

The writing was on the wall when the A’s acquired Esteury Ruiz this winter but there was still a little hope that Pache could force his way back into the A’s plans. He got off to a solid start during Spring Training but as camp wore on he looked more and more like the guy who couldn’t keep up with major-league pitching. The Olson trade isn’t looking so good right now after moving on from a key piece after just one year. Sigh.

Oh well. Good luck in Philly, Cristian. And welcome aboard Sullivan!