The Athletics announced a trade this morning, acquiring right-handed pitcher Ross Stripling from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for a prospect:
The Oakland A’s acquired RHP Ross Stripling and cash from the San Francisco Giants for minor league OF Jonah Cox. The A’s also agreed to terms with LHP Alex Wood on a one-year contract for the 2024 season. To clear space on the 40-man roster, Oakland outrighted LHP Francisco…— Oakland A's Communications (@AthleticsPR) February 2, 2024
In exchange, the A’s are sending minor league outfielder Jonah Cox back in return. In addition, the club finally finalized its 1-year deal with left-hander Alex Wood, making official what was reported earlier this week.
The club was clearly not comfortable with the pitching options on hand. The addition of Stripling brings a veteran presence to what was shaping up to be an incredibly youthful group of pitchers that the club was going to lean heavily on. Stripling bounced between the starting rotation and bullpen in his lone season with the Giants last year, but the bottom line results weren’t great as he pitched to a 5.36 ERA over 89 innings. Still, Stripling is only a year removed from posting a career-best 3.01 ERA for Toronto in 2022. The club is clearly hoping that last year was an anomaly and rolling the dice for the ‘22 version of Stripling. It’s very likely he begins the season in the starting rotation.
In exchange, the club surrenders outfield prospect Jonah Cox, a 6th-round pick out of Oral Roberts. Cox was only just picked last year and spent just one season in the Oakland farm system, getting to Single-A while playing in just 35 games. Cox is a speedy center fielder with a solid glove but questions about his bat exist. He’s still years away from an MLB debut, if he even gets there.
To clear space on the 40-man roster, the club decided to designate infielder Jonah Bride for assignment. Bride has hit really well in the minor leagues while showing off very good plate discipline with his nearly identical walk/strikeout ratio. But he also doesn’t have much power behind his bat, a problem for a corner infielder. His performance in Triple-A just hasn’t translated to the major leagues as he’s struggled in his two seasons for the Athletics. He’ll likely find a new home within the next couple weeks in the lead up to Spring Training.
Also, the club finally finalized its deal with lefty Alex Wood, who is likely going to join Stripling in the starting five. The two pitchers know each other well, having spent three and a half years together on the Dodgers and a year with the Giants. The addition of these two immediately deepens the starting rotation and probably pushes a couple of the young guns back to Triple-A for more seasoning.
Overall both moves help the club heading into 2024. Stripling in particular could rediscover his magic from 2022 and become a leader on the staff/possible trade deadline chip. Wood doesn’t have the same upside but can still help soak up innings or himself become a trade deadline candidate. Neither of these moves make the club a contender but they should stabilize a rotation that struggled immensely last season. The rotation is suddenly pretty set with less than two weeks to go ‘til pitches and catchers report. Blackburn, Sears, Stripling, Wood are all seemingly locked in, with the rest of the young pitchers competing for the fifth and final rotation job. Things are going to get interesting here really soon.