Trade Target – All of the A’s, apparently

Throughout the 2011-2012 off-season, Kevin Creagh will be looking at players that have been rumored to be non-tender or trade candidates, based primarily off of MLB Trade Rumors’ Off-Season Outlook series.  The review isn’t to suggest that the players are being pursued by the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The purpose of the series is to explore the potential options on the market to see who might be a good fit for the 2012 roster.

Today on Major League Baseball Trade Rumors (MLBTR), there was a piece about how the Oakland A’s are willing to listen to offers on any of their players….except Jemile Weeks.  OK…setting aside Billy Beane’s incredible fascination with collecting and drafting 2B men in the past few years, let’s take a look at what they may have to offer.

Within the piece on MLBTR, three players are specifically mentioned:  Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill, and Kurt Suzuki.  Each of them has multiple years of team control left.  The reasoning for the non-fire sale fire sale is the continued drama surrounding the A’s being able to move to the more lucrative San Jose market.  This piece is not meant to detail that sordid backstory, but suffice it to say it is worth a Googling.  Short story — owner Lew Wolff wants out of Oakland badly.  So badly that he endorsed and back a candidate for mayor on the platform that no money would be given to the A’s for a new stadium.  Imagine that for a second!  If the A’s are to remain in Oakland for the next few years, they’re stripping the payroll down.

The catcher Suzuki has 2 years left on a 3 year deal that runs through 2013, with a club option for 2014.  The 2012 salary is $5.0M and 2013 is $6.5M.  The option in 2014, if picked up, is for $8.5M with a $650K buyout.  In 2011, Suzuki had a 686 OPS and a .300 wOBA.  He is generally regarded as an average to slightly above average defensive catcher.  For his career, he has been a steady 2 to 3 WAR player and he will be 28 in 2012.

Gio Gonzalez does not have a long-term contract, but he is still under team control for 4 more years as a Super 2 player.  Gonzalez, 26 in 2012, is a young star pitcher in the making.  If you were to assign him a #1 to 5 rotation order, he would be a number 2.  Gonzalez consistently is his young career has been at 200 innings, with nearly 9 K’s/9 IP (8.8 in 2011) and less than 1 hit per inning.  His bugaboo is walks, with a 4.1 BB/9 rate in 2011.  Gonzalez is a 3 pitch pitcher — 92 mph fastball, 80 mph curve, and an 83 mph change.  His past 2 years he has been 3.2 and 3.5 WAR.

Trevor Cahill, to me at least, may be the most intriguing of the 3 players spotlighted here.  He will be 24 years old in 2012 and is signed to a very friendly contract.  2012 — $3.5M, 2013 — $5.5M, 2014 — $7.7M, 2015 — $12M with team options in 2016 and 2017 for $13M and $13.5M, respectively.  Cahill is not as flashy as Gonzalez and does not have his at-present results, but he makes up for it with his cost certainty contract that covers his first year of free agency, plus options for two more years of free agency.  Cahill is a four pitch pitcher — 90 mph fastball, 78 mph curve, and 80 mph change, with an infrequently thrown 84 mph slider.

Of course in all scenarios it takes two to tango, as teams must “match up” in needs.  The Pirates need pitching, especially potential impact pitching to bridge the gap until (hopefully) Cole and Taillon arrive.  The A’s, as stated in the MLBTR piece, are looking for outfielders.  Guess what the Pirates have in abundance?  You got it….Ryan Doumit growth charts.  And outfielders.

With respect to the pitchers Gonzalez and Cahill, they are the types that you set aside Cole and Taillon and say “Pick from the rest.”  If the A’s want a blend of “now and later”, you have to think that Gorkys Hernandez (defense) and Robbie Grossman (on-base percentage) would be especially appealing to Billy Beane.  If two pitchers have to be tossed in, there are plenty to choose from.  Most likely one would be a consensus Top 10 Pirate Prospect and one would be a lower tier guy, maybe even a reliever for the ML club.

If the Pirates have a chance to gain from the misfortune of others this offseason, so be it.  That is the way of the jungle and something that the other teams have been doing to the Pirates lo these many years.

Author: Kevin Creagh

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OGCKUSO5MA5VUCJHW2YSJ2K3TM Bob

    Trade Hernandez…fine.  Trade Grossman…I don’t think so.  But, this is the Pirates so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them deal a top prospect like McPherson and Grossman for a stop gap player 

  • Anonymous

    Neal Huntington calls Billy Beane.

    Huntington: Billy, we’re interested in Gonzalez or Cahill.

    Beane:  Sure, who are you thinking giving up?

    Huntington: Gorky’s Herdandez and Robbie Grossman.

    Beane: Neal, why are you wasting my time?

    Huntington:  Okay, I’ll include Kyle McPherson but that’s my final offer.

    Beane: (hangs up phone)

    • Anonymous

      Beane seems to learn from mistakes.  He was burned when he thought defense was undervalued.  He isn’t going to give up anything close to Cahill or Gonzalez for a deal that includes Hernandez.  He might give up Suzuki.

      Another thing that needs to be understood about Oakland, how much that ball park benefits pitchers.  Cahill’s BABIP at home was .289 (lots of fouls balls caught) but on the road, it rose to .317.  Gonzalez, who has natural talent and stuff saw a smaller rise in his road BABIP (.297) compared to his home BABIP (.280).  A guy with good stuff may continue high levels of performance in another home park, but Cahill may turnout like Zito in a less pitcher friendly park.

      I like Grossman, Hernandez not so much, but Beane isn’t giving up either Cahill or Gonzalez for both Pirate prospects.  If he does, he’s trying to get fired.  

  • Anonymous

    I might not give up Grossman, I might try to get them to take Tabata for Gonzalez and throw in a lower tier pitcher. Marte is not untouchable in my book either, but Hernandez is never going to play in Pittsburgh anyway, at least not as a regular player, finding a home for him as a throw in is not a bad idea.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PPT2F2VP6U2ES4NUSWKAF3P73M terry

    All three please. Offer Ludwick arb. and if he accepts swap Tabata for Gonzalez. Grossman plus what for Cahill? Allie plus what for Suzuki? Beane is always making these mega deals, why not with us this time? Geo, Cahill, McDonald, Morton,Lincoln, Karstens, Correa is a lot of pitching depth without even touching the farm. Ludwick a bridge to Marte, Suzuku a bridge to Sanchez. How far off am I?

    • Anonymous

      I don’t see any reason why they should not go for all three, I am for mega deals, let the chips roll!
      The Pirates do not have a player that I would not trade from the 25 man roster. I would have a tough time dealing Cole or Taillon.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=72405411 Ian Rothermund

        Well, we can’t trade Cole until June this year anyhow, so I doubt he’ll factor into the equation regardless.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_K3QKOJI7XRK4ELNKY72GICD5HM JustinG

    They have to be careful about trading young guys they just extended (ie McLouth and Tabata).  If they show that this is any kind of trend, young guys might be less willing to sign extensions.  How you treat your players is as big an attraction/turn off as anything.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=72405411 Ian Rothermund

      Winning is more important though…

      • Matthew Spicer

        signing players is quite important if you want to win.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PPT2F2VP6U2ES4NUSWKAF3P73M terry

    I agree. I love Tabata and his contract extension. I would be willing to give up Grossman, Marte and Allie plus some fodder. I just want to fill the new roster spots with young upside players. What do they have to give up for Montero and Nunez?

  • Anonymous

    The reason I would trade Tabata is because they have Marte and Grossman coming, Presley and McCutchen probably are not going anywhere. Marte could be here by the middle of 2012. I would keep Jones as a utility player since he can play 1st or right.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DBY23SQLNRNPDANG2TWHJBQI2I clarke

    why not try to get all three in a 3 for 6 type deal offer meek, walker, owens, hernandez, jaramillo, and either bryan morris or justin wilson and in return get your starting catcher, and 2/5 of your rotation?

    • Anonymous

      Because the A’s wouldn’t trade two young all-star starting pitchers for a reliever, a slighly above average 2b, a bust of a former prospect who can’t get AAA hitters out, a 5th OF, a poor backup catcher and a AAA reliever.

      I’ve never seen a better example of a fan overvaluing his own team’s prospects as this suggestion.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=72405411 Ian Rothermund

        Well, Walker had one of the highest fielding percentages combined with leading most second basemen is plenty of offensive categories in just his second full season, when most consider he hasn’t hit his ceiling.  So if you were to trade him, you better be getting something more than just Suzuki in return.  Meek would have to show me he has his fastball back next year.  I don’t know that you can call Owens a bust after one bad year when he was minor league pitcher of the year in their system two years in a row.  He just doesn’t have overwhelming stuff, which lowers trade value in the short term.  Next year will be crucial in his development to see if he can rebound, he may not, but now is too soon to label him a bust.  Hernandez, still pretty young, but yeah, doesn’t have the skills or tools to make him great trade bait.  I see him as more of an acceptable throw in player in a good trade.  Jaramillo, yeah, loser.  Bryan Morris, once again, not quite a loser, but not a guy that could be traded on his own.  Justin Wilson’s interesting as a reliever, who doesn’t want a guy that could be a “potential” Matt Thorton, power lefty. 

        I understand people overvaluing their own homegrown players, but you can’t undervalue your own players either.   The key to any trades from the Pirates, or any potential impact trades, is going to be what guys from the 25-man roster.  If you mix and match some of the minor league names with a Joel Hanrahan, let’s say, I think that drastically changes the likelihood of a trade going through.  I’ll trade a top notch closer/reliever for a #2 lefty starter with a high upside every single time. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3G6S3MLR7RKSHPBY62TA5KKR4A michael

    The guy I’d go after is Gonzalez;  very good now and likely to get better.  If the A’s are really paring payroll, they’ll want prospects; it’d probably take 3 good ones.  Bucs have OF and pitching depth in the minors, so I’d say Grossman, McPherson and Rojas and hope they bite.

    • Anonymous

      I agree it will take three prospects.  I’m not sure I agree with those three though.  They will want Grossman for the reasons pointed out in the article.  I’m not sure that McPherson and Rojas are enough.  Gonzalez has the stuff to be an elite pitcher.  It might take Taillon and Grossman to get him.

  • http://twitter.com/berichards1981 Brandon Richards

    Many of these posts remind us why we are posting on a website and those two are general managers. We either over-value our players, or we think the other gm is an idiot.

    • Lee Young

      Brandon……….you beat me to it. I used to be in APBA mail leagues. I always had to chuckle at some of the trade offers. “If I give you enough junk, will you give me your star”?

      These trade ‘talks’ that bloggers post are hilarious.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_K3QKOJI7XRK4ELNKY72GICD5HM JustinG

    I agree that Tabata is probably the best trade chip (quality-wise and because it makes sense to do so), but trading someone right after they signed a contract is just kind of an jerk move.  But i totally agree that he is a good chip with the marte and grossman coming up.

  • Anonymous

    WHERE is Starling Marte going to play?  The optimum position for him is CF.  Therefore, I would trade…..

    Andrew McCutcheon for Gonzalez, Cahill and Suzuki, along with a highly rated prospect.  I KNOW the Bay Area; Cutch would be a fan fave out here.

  • http://twitter.com/berichards1981 Brandon Richards

    Cutch would be loved anywhere, but once again, is that trade really going to improve Oakland who’s trying to trim payroll? Or is it going to have them moving him to someone else for more parts and a better trade then we made with them? This isn’t fantasy baseball folks, there’s real money involved and all those parts have to move correctly.