At 54-38 and still residing atop the American League West division, there is certainly a lot of excitement surrounding the Oakland A’s. As the A’s head back home to take on the Boston Red Sox for a three-game set before the All Star break, let’s take a look at some A’s related questions sent in over the last week from our readers and A’s fans in the first installment of the Oakland A’s Mailbag.
There will be plenty to talk about next week with the A’s having finished the first half of the season, Bartolo Colon in the All Star game, Yoenis Cespedes in the home run derby and the outlook for the A’s as they head towards the trade deadline, firmly planted in contention for a repeat trip to the playoffs.
Keep the questions coming!
“When will they bring up Michael Choice?” — Jay Quezada (@JayCapital_INC)
With both Sonny Gray and Grant Green getting called up already, Michael is certainly the next top-prospect on the list it would seem. The problem with calling him up now, though, is that the A’s would need to make room for him on the 40-man roster first. The most likely scenario at this point where that would happen would be if the A’s made a trade. Then, if there was a trade, it would almost certainly have to include one of the A’s outfielders on the 25-man roster to free up a spot in the log-jammed outfield already. The A’s aren’t going to call him up just to have him sit the bench behind Chris Young and Seth Smith, and they aren’t likely to relegate either of those two to strictly pinch-hitting duties either.
There really haven’t been any rumblings about any such move yet, but I could see where Billy Beane may try to move Chris Young since it’s unlikely that they would pick up his $11 million option for 2014 anyway. He was acquired for Cliff Pennington and Yordy Cabrera, so the cost wasn’t exorbitant anyway. If they could get a mid-level prospect back for him, it’d be a better return than simply letting him walk at the end of the season with a $1 million buyout. Then I could see Choice being called up to take his place, likely with better results than what we’ve seen from Young to this point.
If no trades happen, though, I’d say we likely see him in September, it’s just a matter of clearing up that one spot on the 40-man for him. A move in September could include the trade of any member of the 40-man roster not in Oakland’s plans any longer. Jemile Weeks perhaps? Michael Taylor?
“Do the A’s make a significant deadline move? What do you see as their most pressing need?” — Margie Kahn (@skigurl)
A significant deadline move? Doubtful.
The A’s don’t have a “significant” need at this point. They could look to bring in a starting pitcher to add some depth, though I doubt any of the top names available would be headed to Oakland. They certainly won’t be players for a pitcher like Cliff Lee or a Cole Hamels, for example.
Adrian Garro profiled some pitchers the A’s could target a few weeks back. There are some interesting options on his list, of them, the most intriguing to me is the possibility of picking up an arm such as Jake Peavy or Brandon Morrow. Both have injury problems, including missing significant time this season. Both also have all the promise in the world when healthy to be anchors for the rotation. Beane has taken chances on such players in the past, missing horribly at times, and knocking it out of the park in other instances. I personally think the dimensions of O.co coliseum would play well for these pitchers. Morrow has a 2.92 career ERA at O.co in 24.2 innings pitched and Peavy threw a complete game shutout in his only appearance in Oakland, so his 0.00 ERA is fairly nice to look at. More telling though, Peavy was an ace pitching in San Diego, which is also a pitcher’s park that benefits from the marine layer environment. Both are also under contract through 2014, meaning Beane could turn around and flip them this offseason if he felt comfortable with the young rotation moving forward, or keep them as a veteran presence if he feels that Bartolo Colon may be moving on into retirement or leaving via free agency.
A bullpen arm is the most likely slot that would be filled though, and I’m not that convinced they’d go that route either. They still have Hideki Okajima down in Sacramento, as well as Evan Scribner.
“What does the opening day OF look like in 2014?” — Jason Ramirez (@biscuits2)
You’d have to assume that Beane brings back both Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick, so there go two of your starting spots. The real question to me is whether or not they bring back Coco Crisp.
The A’s have an option on Crisp for next season at $7.5 million. It seems like a no-brainer that they would exercise that option and bring back the catalyst of their offense. He brings solid defense in center field and sets the table at the top of the lineup for their more powerful bat. He’s also an antagonist on the base paths.
It’s also hard to see them wanting to keep Michael Choice in the minors for another season though. He has a powerful bat that the A’s could benefit from.
I don’t see Chris Young returning, so that frees up one of the backup outfield spots, and as we’ve seen this year already, that spot gets an awful lot of playing time with the A’s. Seth Smith is also having a nice season and is under club control for one more season. He could be an offseason trade candidate, although I don’t see an obvious replacement in the A’s system to take over DH duties for him (unless you see Hiro Nakajima becoming a Major League capable short stop, Jed Lowrie moved to second and Grant Green to DH — not likely).
My best guess, and at this point that’s really all it is, would be that the A’s keep Coco in center, Cespedes in left and Reddick in right with Choice and Smith splitting the fourth outfielder duties and a rotation at DH.
I sort of touched on this already, but the short answer is no.
It makes sense that if they were going to make a trade, it would be for a bullpen arm. I could see them trading Chris Young, which I suppose could net them a reliever in return. Top bullpen arms are usually pretty costly at this time of the season though, so it may take a throw-in from the minors to do so. Choice isn’t going anywhere, nor is Addison Russel, so then you need to look at who else you’d part ways with since you’d be selling low on Young by himself.
Miles Head makes an interesting trade candidate in my mind. He certainly has all the potential in the world and had a HUGE season with Stockton last year, batting .382 with 18 homers in 67 games before being called up to Midland. He’s fallen off this season in an equally HUGE way though, batting just .196 with two homers in 40 games. With Renato Nunez and B.A. Vollmuth in the system, and Josh Donaldson now cemented at third base in the Majors, Head is expendable and could be the type of high-upside prospect a team would be willing to take a chance on in a trade despite his slump. Paired with Chris Young, now you may be able to pry loose a solid bullpen arm from a team in sell-mode.
I still like the options currently with Sacramento though. Hideki Okajima is still a solid reliever, and Evan Scribner is also there if the depth is really needed. Also, as we just saw with Sonny Gray last night, if they really need to utilize him in a reliever role, he has the stuff to be dominant in such a capacity. They can always work him back into a starters role over the winter and in spring training. He’ll certainly be a part of their rotation, and not a bullpen arm, but he could be valuable there for a stretch run this season.
“When will Jemile Weeks get called back up?” — Young Troy (@Xman_1700)
September is the most likely bet for this.
Jemile just doesn’t factor into Oakland’s plans this season. With all the moving around the diamond they have done with him this season in Sacramento (second base, short stop, center field, DH) it’s a possibility that they could use him in a super utility role next season if he is still with the organization, but he just doesn’t have a home on the diamond this year.
He’s blocked at second base by Eric Sogard and Grant Green (and presumably Adam Rosales if he clears waivers). At short stop he is blocked by Jed Lowrie, Hiro Nakajima and Andy Parrino. In center field he is blocked by essentially every one.
I still believe he has the talent to be a productive Major Leaguer, and his speed is a huge asset at the top of the lineup. The most likely scenario for Weeks is that he finds himself in a different team’s uniform by spring training. I don’t really see a trade happening this season, especially since they can use him as a pinch runner and get him some “showcase” playing time in September, but if I were a gambling man, I’d put money on him being moved during the offseason for sure.
Send your Oakland A’s related questions to Brandon McClintock via Twitter @BMcClintock_BSN or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions will be answered once a week for the remainder of the season.