Oakland Athletics Rumors

Oakland Athletics trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

AL West Notes: Beachy, Asdrubal, A’s, Mather

Here’s the latest from around the AL West…

  • Brandon Beachy‘s agent, Robert Martin, tells Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News that the Rangers are one of multiple clubs who have shown interest in his client.  After missing all of 2014 due to Tommy John surgery, Beachy was non-tendered by Atlanta and is now an intriguing buy-low option that would fit the Rangers’ offseason plan to upgrade their rotation at a relatively low cost.  “Several teams are still reviewing his medicals.  I do not think a decision is imminent, but he does have multiple offers,” Martin said.
  • The Athletics have never previously shown any interest in Asdrubal Cabrera, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Twitter links), and thus she would be “pretty surprised” to see the A’s pursue the veteran infielder this offseason.
  • The reviews of the Derek Norris trade are starting to file in, and ESPN’s Keith Law (Insider link) calls it a win for both the Athletics and Padres, though “the A’s probably get more value in the end.”  Fangraphs’ Paul Swydan also likes the trade for Oakland, saying that the A’s added to their pitching depth without necessarily losing anything at catcher.
  • In a radio interview with Dave Mahler of Sportsradio KJR (hat tip to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times for the partial transcript), Mariners president Kevin Mather discussed his club’s payroll increase for 2015, hinted that contract length may have been a reason why the M’s didn’t sign Melky Cabrera and said the team didn’t make an official offer to Nelson Cruz in the 2013-14 offseason.

Padres Acquire Derek Norris

The Padres and Athletics have continued their busy offseasons by announcing a multiplayer deal.  Catcher Derek Norris, right-hander Seth Streich and an international signing slot are on the way to San Diego. with right-handers Jesse Hahn and R.J. Alvarez going to Oakland.  The #117 international signing slot carries a value of $144.1K (hat tip to Baseball America).

Norris, 25, hit .270/.361/.403 with 10 homers in 442 plate appearances with the A’s last season, earning his first All-Star appearance in the process.  The right-handed hitting Norris did much of his damage against lefty pitching (.863 OPS vs. LHP, .699 OPS vs. RHP) and in the first half of the season, as he hit only .240/.324/.335 after the All-Star break.  Norris is still a year away from arbitration eligibility and he’s under team control through the 2018 season.

The trade finishes off San Diego’s complete overhaul of their catching situation over the last week.  Once the Matt Kemp and Wil Myers trades are official, the Padres will have moved out Yasmani Grandal and Rene Rivera while adding Norris, Ryan Hanigan and Tim Federowicz.  With top prospect Austin Hedges also waiting in the wings behind the plate, Norris and the two veterans could essentially serve as a bridge for a season or two until Hedges (who has yet to hit Triple-A) is ready.

In that case Norris could be moved to first base in 2016 or sooner, given that he has graded out as a below-average defensive catcher in his brief Major League career, including an infamously tough game against the Royals in last year’s AL Wild Card game.  The Padres were known to be looking for corner infield help, so Norris could see some part-time action at first this year in a platoon with left-handed hitting Yonder Alonso.

Hahn, 25, was rumored as a possible trade chip as the Padres looked for hitters.  The righty posted a 3.07 ERA, 8.6 K/9, 2.19 K/BB and a 50.3% ground ball rate over 73 1/3 innings in 2014, his first taste of Major League action.  He came to San Diego last January from Tampa Bay as part of the Logan Forsythe trade.

Alvarez also made his MLB debut last season, allowing one earned run over eight relief innings out of the Padres’ bullpen.  The 25-year-old has a fastball that has touched the high-90’s and boasts some impressive minor league numbers, including a 2.41 ERA, 13.4 K/9 and 3.49 K/BB rate over 119 1/3 IP (mostly out of the bullpen).  This is Alvarez’s second trade in less than six months, as he was part of the prospect package that San Diego received from the Angels for Huston Street in July.

Hahn and Alvarez are each controllable through the 2020 season, giving the A’s two more quality young arms to go along with other offseason pitching acquisitions like Chris Bassitt, Sean Nolin and Kendall Graveman.  With the A’s so deep in starters, MLB.com’s Jane Lee opines (Twitter link) that the club is preparing to unload some of this pitching depth as part of a larger trade for a hitter.  Behind the plate, meanwhile, Stephen Vogt and the newly-acquired Josh Phegley look to be Oakland’s new catching platoon with Norris gone.

Streich, a sixth-round pick in the 2012 draft, has a 3.37 ERA, 3.04 K/BB rate and 8.5 K/9 over 262 minor league innings, none above the high-A level.  He entered the year ranked by Baseball America as the 25th-best player in Oakland’s farm system.

Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (Twitter links) was the first to report that Norris was going to the Padres.  FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi had Streich’s involvement while Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan was the first to report (via Twitter) the full trade.


A’s Acquire Eury De La Rosa, Designate Fernando Rodriguez

The Athletics announced that they have acquired lefty Eury De La Rosa from the Diamondbacks in exchange for cash considerations and designated right-hander Fernando Rodriguez for assignment.

The 24-year-old De La Rosa was designated for assignment last week to clear room for Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa, who were acquired in the Wade Miley trade with Boston. The A’s have acquired a lefty relief option that pitched to a strong 2.95 ERA with 7.9 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and a 43.1 percent ground-ball rate in 36 2/3 innings. However, the now-former Diamondback also turned in a reverse platoon split last year in Arizona, yielding a .309/.377/.418 batting line in a small sample of 61 plate appearances versus left-handed hitters.

Rodriguez, 30, appeared in seven games for Oakland in 2014 and allowed just one run in nine innings with four strikeouts and two walks. However, he’s yet to establish a track record of success in the Majors, having seen inconsistent playing time in the bigs dating back to 2009 and compiling a 4.62 ERA. He does throw relatively hard (career 93.3 mph average fastball) and did excellent work at Triple-A in 2014 (1.97 ERA, 10.4 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 in 45 2/3 innings), so another club could view him as a depth piece.



Quick Hits: Braves, Ross, Cabrera, Kang, Aoki

The White Sox, Yankees and Astros have spent heavily on relief help this offseason, and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick wonders if they’ll end up regretting their expensive contracts for veteran relievers. “In the last couple of years we’ve lost a lot of games late in the eighth and ninth inning,” says White Sox manager Ventura. “After a while you sit there and think, ‘We have to have somebody who can come in and do this.’ Everything has its risks — and this is one of them — but we’re pretty confident we got a guy [David Robertson] who we can put in the bullpen and be a leader.” The reason for all the spending on players like Robertson, Zach Duke, Andrew Miller, Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek isn’t so much that teams are trying to emulate the Royals‘ ferocious 2014 bullpen, Crasnick suggests. Rather, it’s more that teams are loaded with cash and pitchers like Robertson and Miller are very good. Here are more notes from around the Majors.

  • The Braves continue to explore potential trades involving Justin Upton and Evan Gattis, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports (Twitter links). The Braves have spoken about Upton and Gattis with five teams Wednesday, and continued to consider ways to include B.J. Upton or Chris Johnson in trades involving Justin Upton or Gattis. The Padres had previously looked like a potential destination for Justin Upton, but it would appear that their agreement to acquire Wil Myers today rules them out as a potential trade partner, at least for now.
  • Free agent catcher David Ross is deciding between the Red Sox, Cubs and Padres, WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford writes. Meanwhile, lefty reliever Craig Breslow has spoken to the Red Sox and Cubs. Ross has played for the Red Sox, of course, and has a history with Jon Lester and Theo Epstein of the Cubs (although his signing with the Cubs would likely result in, or come as the result of, a trade of Welington Castillo). The Padres are in the process of trading both Yasmani Grandal and Rene Rivera, but are also in the process of acquiring Ryan Hanigan and Tim Federowicz, so it’s unclear where Ross would fit in.
  • Asdrubal Cabrera has drawn interest from the Giants, Athletics, Mets, Cardinals and Twins, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets. Heyman writes that Cabrera could play second base or third base as well as shortstop, although there have been rumblings that Cabrera prefers to play shortstop or second base only, and not third. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle would be surprised if the A’s are interested, as they’ve never shown interest in Cabrera in past years despite up-the-middle needs (Twitter links).
  • Those same five teams have asked about Korean middle infielder Jung-ho Kang, although the Athletics and Mets are downplaying their interest, Heyman tweets. A’s GM Billy Beane has stated on the record that reports of his club’s interest in Kang are inaccurate. Kang was posted earlier this week.
  • Heyman lists the Orioles, Reds and Mariners as possibilities for Nori Aoki, with the veteran outfielder potentially receiving two to three years at $7MM-$8MM per year. Aoki had previously been connected to the Orioles and Reds, with the Orioles mostly interested in him as a backup option. Heyman reported last week that Aoki was looking for a three-year deal. Earlier this offseason, we at MLBTR guessed he would receive two years and $16MM.

Minor Moves: Tuiasosopo, Beal, Partch

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league.

  • The Orioles have announced the signings of outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo and righty Jesse Beal to minor league deals. (They also formally announced the signing of reliever Chaz Roe, which we already noted last week.) Tuiasosopo, 28, was a productive role player with Detroit in 2013, but he spent all of 2014 in the minors, batting .240/.357/.379 in 487 plate appearances for two International League teams. Beal, 24, is re-signing with the Orioles after posting a 3.48 ERA, 7.8 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 41 1/3 innings for Class A+ Frederick in 2014.
  • The Cubs and Athletics have completed the summer’s Jeff Samardzija / Jason Hammel / Addison Russell trade between the clubs with the Athletics sending cash instead of a player to be named later, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat tweets.
  • The Giants have signed reliever Curtis Partch to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweets. The Reds non-tendered the 27-year-old Partch earlier this month after he posted a 4.75 ERA, 10.3 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9 in 47 1/3 innings for Triple-A Louisville last season. Partch’s fastball regularly sat in the mid-90s in parts of two seasons with the Reds, but he’s never had sustained success at the big-league level.

Athletics Designate Jorge De Leon

DECEMBER 17: The Athletics have released De Leon, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets.

DECEMBER 9: The Athletics have designated Jorge De Leon for assignment, MLB.com’s Jane Lee tweets. His departure opens a 40-man spot for the pieces coming back in exchange for Jeff Samardzija.

Claimed by Oakland in early October, De Leon has a live arm that has seen little MLB action. The 27-year-old has thrown just 17 1/3 MLB innings, allowing ten earned runs and both striking out and walking ten batters. He was much better over 68 2/3 frames in the upper minors this year, however, posting a 3.01 ERA and posting 8.0 K/9 against 3.0 BB/9.


AL Notes: Harrison, Headley, Lowrie, Floyd, Tigers

The Rangers and pitcher Matt Harrison seemingly received positive news yesterday, as the righty, as Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets that an X-ray of Harrison’s back came back clean. He will undergo a CT scan on Wednesday in hopes of being cleared to throw in January.

More from the American League:


Blue Jays Sign Daric Barton

The Blue Jays have added first baseman Daric Barton on a minor league deal, the team announced via press release. Barton joins a mix of secondary first base and bench bats that includes Justin Smoak and Chris Colabello.

Barton, 29, saw only 64 plate appearances for the Athletics last year, his lowest tally in eight big league seasons. He struggled badly at the plate in the bigs, though his numbers at Triple-A (.261/.371/.411 over 375 plate appearances) were better. Since a big 2010 season as a regular, Barton has managed only a .216/.323/.284 slash over 600 trips to the plate at the MLB level.


Jung-Ho Kang Posted

DECEMBER 15: As promised, Kang has been posted today, Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets. Friday at 5pm EST is the deadline for teams to submit bids.

DECEMBER 13: Kang will be posted Monday, Rosenthal tweets.

DECEMBER 8: Kang is drawing interest from the Athletics, Giants, Mets and several other clubs, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports.  The A’s and Mets would presumably be interested in Kang at shortstop, while the Giants could use Kang at either third or second (if the latter, Joe Panik would shift to the hot corner).

DECEMBER 7: Rosenthal tweets Kang is expected to be posted next week.

NOVEMBER 10: Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang is not expected to be posted until after the Winter Meetings, which run next month from Dec. 7-11 in San Diego, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Agent Alan Nero tells the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo that his client will be posted in mid-December (Twitter link).

The 27-year-old Kang is coming off a monster season in the Korea Baseball Organization in which he hit .354/.457/.733 with 39 home runs. However, there are some differing opinions on how well Kang’s game will translate to Major League Baseball. Firstly, KBO is known to be an extremely hitter-friendly environment, so perhaps we shouldn’t read too much into those numbers. And, as Joel Sherman noted earlier today, some scouts have expressed skepticism that his power will translate to the Majors and aren’t sure he can play a Major League caliber shortstop — sentiments that were shared by an international scouting director that spoke with MLBTR regarding Kang.

However, ESPN’s Keith Law recently ranked Kang 15th among free agents (Insider subscription required and recommended), believing that some of his power can translate to the Majors, likely at the cost of his batting average. He noted that Kang lacks the range teams would like to see out of a shortstop but has a 60 arm (on the 20-80 scouting scale) to make up for some of the range. Law noted that he’d give Kang every chance he could to stick at shortstop while acknowledging that he, too, has heard scouts who see Kang as more of an “unathletic corner guy” whose power won’t play in the Majors.


Quick Hits: Hamels, Forst, Rule 5 Draft, BoSox

We at MLBTR would like to thank our readers for their support during this memorable Winter Meetings.  Our 24/7 coverage over the last four days proved necessary given all of the news and major transactions that came out of San Diego, and our committed readership was right there with us by checking in with MLBTR at all hours of the day and night.  Here’s some more news from around baseball…

  • ESPN’s Jayson Stark lists the teams he feels were the winners and losers of the Winter Meetings.
  • The Phillies‘ hopes of landing a huge return for Cole Hamels took a hit during the Winter Meetings, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News writes.  The Red Sox, Cubs and Dodgers (the three teams usually cited as the top potential suitors for Hamels) all made moves to solidify their rotations, thus robbing the Phils of some leverage in trade talks.
  • Athletics assistant GM David Forst discusses his team’s offseason moves, the challenges of competing in Oakland and more as part of an insightful interview with Fangraphs’ Eno Sarris.
  • With the Rule 5 Draft in the books, Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper looks at the scouting reports of the players taken and analyzes the prospects’ chances of lasting the entire season on their respective Major League rosters.
  • The Mets checked in on Yoenis Cespedes at the end of the season but were told by the Red Sox that it would take Jacob deGrom or Zack Wheeler to obtain the outfielder, Newsday’s David Lennon reports.  Needless to say, negotiations failed to proceed from there.  Rival teams are constantly asking the Mets about deGrom, Wheeler or Noah Syndergaard, Lennon notes, while the club is instead trying to deal Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese or Dillon Gee from its pitching surplus.
  • The Red Sox need an ace to headline their rebuilt rotation, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe opines.  From that same piece, Cafardo talks to an NL scout who believes the Sox got the better of the Wade Miley trade.  The scout calls the young left-hander an “unrefined [Jon] Lester right now, but he’s on his way to being a No. 2 [starter].  Not sure what the D’Backs are thinking on this one, except to get more bodies.”