Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle believes that yesterday's Jason Kendall trade could be the first in a series of forward-looking moves for the A's. Billy Beane doesn't say it outright, but he seems ready to play for next year. Simmons says rumors have swirled around Dan Johnson, Esteban Loaiza, and Mike Piazza.
Johnson has been linked to the Twins (DH) and Yankees (1B) previously. The idea is to clear some room at first base for top prospect Daric Barton. As a cheap league average 1B, Johnson has decent value. Simmons says a Johnson for Scott Proctor trade is "all the buzz." However, the teams have not talked in over a week. The 30 year-old Proctor has been worked pretty hard by Joe Torre, but has performed decently over the last two seasons. For a while during the offseason, the Yankees considered using him as a starter. The A's could go through with that plan in '08.
Piazza is said to be a candidate for the same teams as Johnson, plus maybe the Angels. He'd due back in about a week from a strained shoulder. He'll only be able to DH.
Loaiza has yet to make his season debut due to neck, shoulder, and knee injuries. He recently threw a bullpen session and felt good, but won't be big league ready until August. He's owed $7MM in '08; not sure if that salary would pass through waivers in August without a claim.
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