The A’s continued their flurry of moves this afternoon with their second trade of the day, and third in a 24-hour span.
This time, the A’s sent veteran outfielder and designated hitter Seth Smith to the San Diego Padres in exchange for right-handed reliever Luke Gregerson in a 1-for-1 trade.
That Smith was traded is hardly surprising considering he was a non-tender candidate due to his arbitration eligibility and a likely raise that would have put his salary in the $4 million range, a steep price for a platoon player, as he has been in the Oakland organization.
It appeared at the time that the A’s tendered him a contract for next season that the move would be followed by trading his rights to another team and allowing them to go to arbitration with him. He obviously had enough value to net a solid addition rather than just letting him walk into free agency with a non-tender.
In Gregerson, the A’s are receiving a solid reliever to help bolster their already strong bullpen. In 2013, Gregerson pitched to the tune of a 2.71 ERA with 8.7 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and a 45.5 percent ground-ball rate in 66.1 innings pitched across 73 appearances. He is also arbitration eligible and based on his $3 million salary in 2013, he will also likely command a salary in the $4.5 million range before hitting free agency at the end of the season.
Smith, 31, batted .253/.329/.391 with eight home runs for the Athletics in 117 games.
The trade comes on the heels of an earlier trade in the day that sent Michael Choice and Chris Bostick to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Craig Gentry and Josh Lindblom. Last night, Billy Beane traded Jemile Weeks and a player to be named later to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for closer Jim Johnson. Monday afternoon the A’s signed Scott Kazmir via free agency to a two-year, $22-million contract.
It does not appear the A’s are finished yet, as they have engaged in conversations with multiple teams for starter Brett Anderson, including the Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland Indians, Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees.
The A’s are also still considered to be in the running for veteran slugger Nelson Cruz. If the A’s don’t pick up a big bat in a trade including Anderson, they could use any savings they receive by dealing his $8 million contract to sign a player via free agency.
With both Johnson and Gregerson able to reach free agency following this season, and Gentry a cheaper insurance policy in case Coco Crisp leaves following this season, it looks clear that the A’s are going “all-in” for 2014, another indication that another move should be expected, perhaps as soon as the upcoming winter meetings, if not sooner.