The newest member of the Yankees’ lineup, outfielder/designated hitter Matt Holliday, clearly didn’t enjoy his 93-game stint with the Athletics in 2009. Included in the one-year, $13MM deal Holliday signed with New York is the ability to block a trade to one team – the A’s – tweets Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. Acquiring Holliday from the Rockies in November 2008 cost the A’s reliever Huston Street and, more painfully, outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. Former big-time first base prospect Brett Wallace headlined the package the A’s received from St. Louis for Holliday in July 2009, but Wallace never played a game for Oakland. The A’s dealt him to Toronto for now-former big league outfielder Michael Taylor (not to be confused with the member of the Nationals) the next offseason.
- The renewed momentum towards getting a new ballpark in Oakland has shifted the Athletics’ focus, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. While Billy Beane has always hesitated to embark on a full rebuilding process, the longtime A’s executive notes that “it still has to be in the back of your mind that if you’re going to have a venue, make sure you’re going to have a good young team that’s sustainable. Finding players has never been a challenge for us. We’ve found good players. It’s retaining them, and we’re operating with the idea we’re going to be able to retain them.” Beane said the A’s will hiring additional staff for the scouting and international operations departments in order to help the club’s player development process.
The Royals are advancing toward a potential trade of outfielder Jarrod Dyson, with the Athletics as a potential suitor, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes (all Twitter links). (Jon Heyman of FanRag adds the Rangers and Orioles to the list of interested teams.) The idea, Sherman reports, is that with a number of key players set to become eligible for free agency following the 2017 season (including Dyson, Wade Davis, Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and Alcides Escobar), the Royals need to think about how the team will look in the future. Meanwhile, they can capitalize on the market’s current demand for center field help by trading Dyson, while also dealing Davis and moving Kelvin Herrera to the closer’s role.
The 32-year-old Dyson batted a relatively modest .278/.340/.388 in 2016 and only collected 337 plate appearances, but still contributed 3.1 fWAR thanks to his excellent defense. The Athletics need outfield help and have, in recent years, acquired outfielders like Coco Crisp, Sam Fuld and Craig Gentry whose profiles when acquired were heavily oriented around defense. Dyson is also relatively cheap, at a projected $2.5MM for 2017. It makes a degree of sense, then, that the A’s would want to add him.
- The Athletics and Royals have a pretty healthy trade history, MLB.com’s Jane Lee notes, and the clubs could work out another deal to land the A’s a center fielder in the form of Jarrod Dyson. Lorenzo Cain is also available, if more expensive and Oakland would have to give quite a bit more to land him. Lee’s piece suggests several names that could be on Oakland’s radar for the center field vacancy, though costs will keep the A’s away from many of the bigger names.
The Braves are reportedly still in the mix for Chris Sale, and Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Atlanta also made a run at Athletics right-hander Sonny Gray but found Oakland’s asking price to be prohibitive (Twitter link). Oakland did not ask for Dansby Swanson to be included in the deal, but Atlanta still felt the A’s were asking for too much in return.
A few more notes on the market for starting pitchers…
- The Royals are gauging interest in left-hander Danny Duffy, reports MLB Network’s Jon Morosi (via Twitter). Duffy had a breakout campaign this past season, tossing 179 2/3 innings with a 3.51 ERA, 9.4 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and a 36.4 percent ground-ball rate. As Morosi points out, he could make sense for a team looking to augment its rotation but unwilling to part with the talent required to land someone like Chris Sale or Chris Archer. Duffy, however, is a free agent next winter, so he’d be a short-term upgrade rather than a long-term solution like those other names.
- The Astros are more likely to trade for rotation help than they are to pursue the remaining free agents on the market, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney. Houston isn’t in on right-hander Ivan Nova and likely considers him to be too expensive, per Olney. The Astros are reportedly open to moving either Collin McHugh or Mike Fiers as they seek to create some roster/payroll flexibility, as Olney’s colleague, Jayson Stark, reported earlier today.
- Pirates officials are set to meet with free agent lefty Derek Holland at some point this week at the Winter Meetings, reports Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (on Twitter). The Bucs have been linked to H0lland on multiple occasions this winter as the former Ranger looks to rebuild his stock with a healthy 2017 campaign.
- The Marlins are showing some interest in right-hander Doug Fister, tweets FanRag’s Jon Heyman, but adding an established closer is the team’s No. 1 priority at the moment. This isn’t the first time Miami has been connected to Fister, but that fact that they’re still interested after adding Edinson Volquez to the mix is notable.
- Dave Kaval’s new role as the Athletics’ president could potentially lead to some changes in how the A’s do business. With Kaval looking to secure a new ballpark in Oakland and generally trying to change the club’s profile, a “more of the same” deal of a star for prospects (i.e. dealing Sonny Gray) wouldn’t help Kaval’s objectives. That said, Rosenthal writes that “it’s difficult to imagine” the change in management having any impact on how Billy Beane does business.
- The Athletics have avoided arbitration with first baseman Yonder Alonso by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $4MM, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter). Alonso looked like a non-tender candidate after an underwhelming season at the plate that saw him bat .253/.316/.367 with seven homers and 34 doubles across 532 plate appearances. Once one of the game’s top all-around prospects, Alonso has never materialized into the offensive force he was supposed to become and is a lifetime .269/.334/.387 hitter.
The Braves are still looking at trading for an ace even after adding Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey and Jaime Garcia to their rotation this winter and are specifically focused on White Sox lefty Chris Sale and Rays right-hander Chris Archer, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (all Twitter links). The Braves prefer Sale to Archer despite the potentially higher asking price and shorter amount of club control remaining on his contract, Crasnick adds. Atlanta is receiving quite a bit of interest in top prospect Ozzie Albies (in general and not specifically from the White Sox or Rays), Crasnick adds, but they’re expressing a good deal of reluctance to part with him. The Braves don’t seem especially enamored of Athletics right-hander Sonny Gray on the heels of a down season in 2016, according to Crasnick.
- The Athletics have added two more players on minors deals, each of which includes a spring camp invite, per MLB.com’s Jane Lee (via Twitter). Catcher Ryan Lavarnway and first baseman Chris Parmelee will join the Oakland organization. Lavarnway, a former top prospect, continues to bounce around. He hit .266/.351/.384 last year with at the highest level of the minors. The 28-year-old Parmelee has seen MLB action in each of the last six seasons, slashing .248/.313/.405. At Triple-A last year in the Yankees organization, he put up a .248/.335/.449 batting line.
- The Dodgers are still open to considering trades involving outfielder Yasiel Puig, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times recently noted on Twitter. Meanwhile, the Athletics continue to chase a center fielder after signing Matt Joyce, per GM David Forst (via MLB.com’s Jane Lee, on Twitter). It seems that Oakland is considering options via trade and free agency to fill the void up the middle.