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.