Oakland Athletics Rumors

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

Reed, Rodney, Axford, Mujica, Aardsma Clear Waivers

Right-handers Addison Reed, Fernando Rodney, John Axford, Edward Mujica and David Aardsma have all cleared revocable trade waivers, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post, making them eligible to be dealt to any club.

Of the listed group, only the veteran Aardsma has even posted a sub-4.00 ERA this season, as the 33-year-old has a 3.95 ERA with 10.2 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9 in 27 1/3 innings with the Braves. He’s generating grounders at just a 29.9 percent clip though and has had some home run issues to go along with his questionable control. Aardsma inked a minor league deal with the Braves, so his salary for the remainder of the season is light in comparison to the peers with whom he’s listed.

Reed, 26, was an up-and-coming closer not long ago was viewed in a strong enough light for the D-Backs to surrender one of their top prospects (Matt Davidson) for him in the 2013-14 offseason. His first season with the Diamondbacks resulted in a 4.25 ERA, however, and he’s up to 4.46 this season. Reed lost his job to Brad Ziegler earlier in the year and has been demoted to Triple-A this season.

Since returning, Reed has yielded just one run on nine hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in 10 innings, so things do look considerably brighter of late. However, Reed is also earning $4.875MM this season, and he’s still owed about $1.33MM of that sum through season’s end. He’s controllable through the 2017 season but is a definite non-tender candidate following the season, as he’ll top $5MM via arbitration despite his 2015 struggles.

The 38-year-old Rodney is perhaps the least surprising name on Sherman’s list. In 50 innings this season, he’s posted a 5.05 ERA with diminished strikeout (7.6 K/9) and walk (4.1 BB/9) rates to go along with a career-worst 1.44 HR/9 rate. Rodney’s fastball is averaging 94.9 mph, so he still has plenty of heat, but the results haven’t been there in 2015, and he’s owed $1.91MM of his $7MM salary through season’s end.

Axford, 32, has seen his share of struggles as well in his first year with the Rockies. Axford began the year in dominant fashion, yielding just one run in 19 innings and usurping LaTroy Hawkins as the Colorado closer. However, in the 19 2/3 innings that have followed that initial stretch, he’s been tagged for 19 runs on a dismal 29 hits and 15 walks. Teams in search of relief help may have some degree of hope that Coors Field has contributed to his poor results of late; Axford does have a 5.32 ERA in Denver versus a 3.78 ERA on the road. But, walks are walks in any park, and Axford has issued 10 free passes in 16 2/3 innings on the road.

Mujica has already been designated for assignment once this season (by the Red Sox), and his numbers have only worsened following a trade to the Athletics. The 31-year-old is still showing excellent control (1.3 BB/9 rate), but he’s averaging just six strikeouts per nine innings and has been entirely too hittable. Opponents are batting .309/.336/.525 against Mujica in 2015, and the result has been an unsightly 5.25 ERA. Even if he weren’t owed $1.3MM through the end of the season, he’d be a tough sell as a bullpen upgrade for a team seeking relief help.

Each of these relievers has been added to MLBTR’s list of players that have cleared revocable waivers, which can be always be found under the MLBTR Features on the right-hand sidebar for desktop users.


Minor MLB Transactions: 8/16/15

Here are the latest minor moves, with the newest transactions at the top of the post…

  • The Braves purchased the contract of right-hander Peter Moylan from Triple-A Gwinnett prior to today’s game, and the Australian tossed two-thirds of an inning in the 2-1 win over the Diamondbacks.  This was Moylan’s first Major League outing since 2013; the 36-year-old has been plagued by injuries over the last five years, most notably missing all of 2014 recovering from Tommy John surgery.  Moylan signed a minor league deal with Atlanta this past March and he’s posted a 3.14 ERA over 28 2/3 Triple-A innings.
  • Amidst a flurry of call-ups and DL placements today, the Angels purchased the contract of shortstop Ryan Jackson from Triple-A.  To create a 40-man roster spot, C.J. Wilson was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.  Jackson joined the Angels organization in May after being dealt from Kansas City for Drew Butera, and he has hit .293/.371/.373 in 363 plate appearances for Triple-A Salt Lake City.  Jackson’s big league experience consists of 25 PA with the Cardinals in 2012-13.
  • Right-hander Taylor Thompson has cleared waivers and been outrighted to the Athletics‘ Triple-A affiliate, MLB.com’s Jane Lee reports (Twitter link).  Thompson, who’s been limited to just 8 2/3 minor league innings this season due to a shoulder injury, was designated for assignment on Friday.
  • While Thompson is now out of “DFA Limbo,” nine players are still awaiting their next assignment.  Check out the MLB Trade Rumors DFA Tracker to keep track of their status.

West Notes: Zito, Flores, Wood

With Aaron Brooks headed to Triple-A Nashville, the Athletics will need a starter sometime in the next few days. That could be A’s veteran Barry Zito, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The 2002 AL Cy Young winner and three-time All-Star hasn’t appeared in the big leagues since 2013, but he’s pitched 137 innings for Triple-A Nashville this year, posting a 3.48 ERA, 5.9 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9. Zito had been scheduled to start for the Sounds on Saturday, but Sean Nolin will take the ball instead, and Zito is no longer listed among the Sounds’ upcoming probable pitchers. Zito has also briefly missed time recently with a shoulder injury, althoug Slusser characterizes that issue as “extremely minor.” Here’s more from the West divisions.

  • Mariners outfielder Ramon Flores has a compound fracture in his ankle and will miss the rest of the season, MLB.com’s Greg Johns tweets. As Tacoma Rainiers broadcaster Mike Curto tweets, Flores left yesterday’s game on a cart after falling while trying to make a play in the field. The Mariners acquired Flores with Jose Ramirez late last month when they traded Dustin Ackley to the Yankees. The 23-year-old Flores was off to a terrific start with Tacoma, batting .423/.524/.654 with eight extra-base hits and 11 walks in 63 plate appearances.
  • The Dodgers lost their first two games with new trade acquisition Alex Wood on the hill, but he picked up his first win with them yesterday against the Reds, as Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register writes. Mat Latos, the Dodgers’ other starting pitching acquisition in that trade, had also struggled, so Wood’s victory likely came as a welcome sign for the Dodgers. Wood says his outlook hasn’t changed significantly since arriving from Atlanta, however. “For me, and I can probably speak for the other guys too, the expectations everywhere you go are high,” he says. “[Y]ou’ve got to come in and you have to perform … Not just to be a contributor or make trades look good or bad but to stay here and be a part of it, you know?


Athletics Designate Brad Mills For Assignment

The Athletics have announced that they’ve designated lefty Brad Mills for assignment. They also optioned righty Aaron Brooks to Triple-A Nashville and recalled righty Dan Otero and switch-pitcher Pat Venditte.

The A’s added Mills to their roster yesterday so that he could make a spot start against the Orioles. He pitched five innings and allowed three runs, all of them coming on a homer to Adam Jones, as the Athletics lost 8-6. In parts of seven big-league seasons, Mills has a 7.97 ERA, 8.1 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9 in 79 innings. Unsurprisingly, he’s fared far better as a Triple-A innings-eater in that time frame.


A’s Designate Taylor Thompson For Assignment

The Athletics announced on Friday that they have designated right-hander Taylor Thompson for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Brad Mills, whose contract will be selected from Triple-A so that he can start tonight’s game.

The 28-year-old Thompson hasn’t pitched in the Majors this year and has just 5 1/3 big league innings total throughout his career, all of which came with the White Sox in 2014. He’s spent most of the season on the 60-day DL due to a shoulder strain, though he was recently activated and began pitching at Class-A Advanced before moving up to Triple-A. The results haven’t been great, as Thompson allowed seven runs in 8 2/3 innings with a 10-to-5 K/BB ratio.


Heyman’s Latest: Jays, Goldschmidt, Teheran, Chen, Epstein, Gordon, Gray

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports kicks off his weekly Inside Baseball column by chronicling the efforts of Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline. Perhaps most interesting are some of the items about trades the Jays elected not to make. As Heyman notes, the Reds asked for right-hander Marcus Stroman in exchange for Johnny Cueto, but Stroman was a deal-breaker in all trade talks with Toronto. Dating back to the offseason, the Blue Jays considered signing Craig Breslow, Joba Chamberlain, John Axford and Rafael Soriano, as well as some larger names, including David Robertson, whom they considered “closely.” (Toronto never made a firm offer to Robertson, though, Heyman writes.) The Blue Jays’ willingness to include Daniel Norris in a trade for David Price effectively shut every other team out of the market, per Heyman, as others weren’t willing to discuss their absolute top prospects. The Yankees, for instance, wouldn’t part with Luis Severino, while the Dodgers steadfastly refused to part with Corey Seager or Julio Urias.

More highlights from the article (which is worth checking out in its entirety, as there’s far more than can be recapped here with any form of brevity)…

  • Paul Goldschmidt is under team control through 2019, but the D-Backs will attempt to extend him further this offseason, per GM Dave Stewart. “We want to make him a lifetime Diamondback,” Stewart told Heyman. I imagine the price tag there will be extraordinary, as Goldschmidt has gone from rising talent to unequivocal superstardom since signing his initial extension with Arizona. Heyman also reports that the D-Backs will take a shot at extending the arbitration-eligible A.J. Pollock. While not a household name, Pollock probably earns my personal vote as the most underrated player in baseball.
  • The Braves have been making an effort to shed contracts that reach beyond the 2016 season, and Heyman writes to “look for them to take offers on Julio Teheran” this offseason. Clearly, Atlanta would be selling low on a talented arm that comes with a very reasonable contract. Teheran signed a six-year, $32.4MM extension prior to the 2014 season, but he’s logged a 4.57 ERA due in part to diminished control in 2015.
  • The Orioles will make left-hander Wei-Yin Chen a qualifying offer this winter, Heyman reports. Chen might not seem like a prototypical QO candidate, but he’s a lock to turn it down, in my mind, coming off a very nice season at age 30. He should draw pretty significant interest this winter, as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd recently noted in examining Chen’s free agent stock.
  • Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein is up for an extension at an excellent time, as the Cubs’ rebuild looks to be paying tremendous dividends. Epstein has been earning about $4MM per year with the Cubs, but Heyman hears from some in the industry that the expectation is for Epstein to top Andrew Friedman’s reported $7MM annual salary with the Dodgers if and when he signs a new deal.
  • Despite a poor season for the Reds, there’s a sense among some that they may keep manager Bryan Price. The second-year Reds skipper has had to deal with the losses of Devin Mesoraco, Zack Cozart and Homer Bailey, among many injuries to others in 2015.
  • There’s been some buzz about the Tigers trimming payroll, but Heyman spoke to multiple sources close to the situation who say that talk might be overstated. One spoke specifically about the Ilitch family’s continued commitment to winning. Heyman speculatively mentions Justin Upton as a player that has previously piqued Detroit’s interest. He also lists the White Sox as a team that may show interest in Upton.
  • The Royals are serious about trying to make Alex Gordon a lifetime member of the organization. It’ll be tough for Kansas City to do so if he’s seeking something in the vicinity of Shin-Soo Choo money ($130MM), but the increased revenue they’re receiving from the Kansas City baseball renaissance could allow them to spend more than they would’ve in previous seasons.
  • The Dodgers have interest in Johnny Cueto as a free agent, and adding a right-handed arm does intrigue them. Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-jin Ryu and Julio Urias (expected to eventually join the L.A. rotation) are all left-handed, as is fellow offseason target David Price, whom Heyman terms a “more obvious target” for Friedman & Co.
  • The Brewers are serious about trying to emphasize analytics with a new GM hire, as the Attanasio family (the team’s owners) are big believers in the growing statistical trend. Mark Attanasio’s son, a former basketball player, is an MIT grad with a strong foundation in basketball analytics. John Coppolella, Thad Levine, David Forst, Mike Hazen, Billy Eppler, Michael Girsch and Jerry Dipoto are among the names that Heyman feels could be fits in Milwaukee’s GM seat.
  • “Not happening. Not even slightly,” was the response from Athletics general manager Billy Beane when asked by Heyman about the possibility of trading Sonny Gray this winter. That’s a pretty emphatic denial, and while some will recall similar comments made about Josh Donaldson last October, those came from an anonymous executive as opposed to an on-record denial from Oakland’s top decision-maker.

AL West Notes: Martinez, Wilson, Astros, Davis

The Rangers optioned right-hander Nick Martinez to Triple-A following yesterday’s poor outing versus the Twins, and as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News points out, it looks like the option will be a costly one for Martinez. The 25-year-old has already spent 18 days in the minors this season, and barring a quick recall due to an injury, his collective time at the Triple-A level will likely be large enough to prevent him from accruing a full year of service time, thus delaying his free agency by a season. However, as Grant stresses, this isn’t an instance of a team manipulating service time. Rather, Martinez’s poor outing exhausted the bullpen yesterday and eliminated the possibility of working with a short relief corps for a few days. Martinez’s recent play hasn’t done him any favors, either; he’s pitched to a 6.25 ERA over his previous 11 outings after a brilliant start to the season.

Here’s more from the AL West…

  • There’s been no final decision made on whether or not Angels lefty C.J. Wilson will undergo season-ending surgery, writes MLB.com’s Greg Garno. Wilson had a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache recently, and while the meeting revealed nothing new, per manager Mike Scioscia, the decision is solely up to Wilson. “Once he gets all the information, I’m sure we’ll get the results from it and see what C.J.’s decision is,” said Scioscia. The Angels are currently waiting for Wilson to “digest” all of the info and make the call, according to Scioscia. Wilson reportedly has eight bone spurs in his elbow which will need to be surgically removed at some point.
  • The Astros have had a rough stretch of games on the road, but GM Jeff Luhnow tells the Houston Chronicle’s Evan Drellich that he’s confident due to the quality of pitching he’s received as well as the quality of upper-level players who will join the team in September. The Astros currently have a logjam of corner/DH options that will be magnified by the return of George Springer. As Drellich writes, though, it’s difficult to justify the loss of a player like Chris Carter for little to no return (that is, by way of DFA or waiver claim) when expanded rosters are just under two weeks away.
  • Alex Hall of Athletics Nation makes a case for the A’s to cut ties with Ike Davis sooner rather than later. As Hall notes, Davis hasn’t hit since coming off the DL in May, and his $3.8MM salary figures to increase even after a down season simply due to the nature of the arbitration process. Davis only has a year of team control remaining anyhow, so he’s not likely to be a long-term piece in Oakland, and the A’s could do well to replace him with a cheaper set of lottery tickets in 2016 as opposed to paying him north of $4MM. Davis was already acquired for very little last offseason, Hall points out, and a season marred by injury and more poor performance at the plate will sap him of any meaningful trade value this winter. Releasing him now would give Davis a chance to latch on with a contending team that wants to roll the dice on his previous success in the season’s final six weeks, which would be beneficial to both Davis and the A’s, Hall concludes.

AL West Notes: Luhnow, Peacock, Mariners

Here’s the latest from the AL West…

  • The Astrosacquisition of Oliver Perez may have filled the club’s last remaining need, The Houston Chronicle’s Evan Drellich reports.  “There’s a lot of activity on the trade waiver wire and we’re monitoring it, but I think we’ve addressed the main areas that we wanted to address going into this trade season,” GM Jeff Luhnow said. “Obviously we’re going to be opportunistic if somebody pops up.”
  • Astros righty Brad Peacock underwent back surgery last week and will officially miss the rest of the season, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.  The procedure involved the removal of two bone spurs that were pinching a nerve near Peacock’s spine, which should hopefully solve the health problems that have plagued Peacock all season.  He made only one start for Houston back in April before a lengthy DL stint with what was thought to be a right intercostal strain.
  • The Mariners‘ problems stem from an inability to develop highly-touted young players, Grantland’s Jonah Keri writes.  This includes both many of their own draft picks as well as prospects acquired in trades, like Justin Smoak or Jesus Montero.  GM Jack Zduriencik had a strong track record of player development as the Brewers’ scouting director, yet his inability to duplicate this success with the M’s may cost him his job in the wake of Seattle’s poor season.
  • CSNBayArea.com’s Joe Stiglich takes a look at some of the Athletics’ top prospects, several of whom were just recently acquired in midseason trades to bolster Oakland’s farm system.

Mets Acquire Eric O’Flaherty, Designate Alex Torres

AUGUST 7: Righty Dawrin Frias will head to Oakland to complete the deal, the A’s announced. The 23-year-old has been hit hard at the Class A level this year, while also showing significant control problems.

AUGUST 4: The Mets announced tonight that they have acquired left-handed reliever Eric O’Flaherty and cash considerations from the Athletics in exchange for a player to be named later. Fellow southpaw reliever Alex Torres has been designated for assignment to clear space for O’Flaherty on the 40-man and 25-man rosters.

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The Athletics designated O’Flaherty for assignment over the weekend to clear a roster spot for trade acquisition Aaron Brooks. The former Braves setup ace was in the second season of a two-year, $7MM contract he signed prior to the 2014 campaign as he recovered from 2013 Tommy John surgery.

O’Flaherty, 30, was sharp in 2014 — his first year back from Tommy John surgery — working to a 2.25 ERA with 6.8 K/9 against 1.8 BB/9 in a small sample of 20 innings at the big league level. His backloaded contract paid him just $1.5MM in 2014 due to uncertainty surrounding how much he’d be able to pitch and $5.5MM in 2015, with the A’s expecting him to be a significant piece in their bullpen.

That didn’t work out, though, as O’Flaherty has struggled to a 5.91 ERA in 2015. While a .354 BABIP has been a significant factor in the regression of O’Flaherty’s ERA, so, too, a marked step back in his control. O’Flaherty averaged just 2.3 unintentional walks per nine innings from 2009-14 after establishing himself as a quality relief option in the Majors, but he’s issued 12 unintentional free passes in 21 1/3 innings this season. On the plus side, O’Flaherty has a track record of success — he posted a 1.99 ERA, 7.2 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 249 1/3 innings from 2009-13 with Atlanta — and he’s dominated opposing lefties in 2015, holding them to a .186/.286/.209 batting line.

O’Flaherty is owed about $1.86MM through season’s end, though the A’s appear to be picking up at least some of the tab there. He becomes the second reliever to make the cross-country journey from Oakland to Queens, as he’ll join former teammate Tyler Clippard in manager Terry Collins’ bullpen.

Torres doesn’t immediately look like a DFA candidate upon first glance, as he’s worked to a 3.15 ERA and struck out 35 batters in 34 1/3 innings. However, Torres has also walked 26 batters this year, and opposing lefties are hitting an alarming .268/.406/.393 against him in 69 plate appearances. Torres’ ERA is largely a product of a minuscule .233 BABIP and a bloated 83 percent strand rate — neither of which figures to be sustainable down the stretch.

A relatively quick DFA certainly isn’t what the Mets had in mind this spring when they traded Cory Mazzoni and a player to be named later (Brad Wieck) to the Padres in exchange for what they hoped to be several years of Torres’ services. Torres is not yet arbitration eligible — though he will be this winter — and enjoyed better performances from 2013-14 with the Rays and Padres, so perhaps a team looking for left-handed bullpen depth will give him a look if he’s placed on outright waivers. If not, the Mets will be able to outright him to Triple-A Las Vegas and keep him in the organization with the hope that some time in the minors will help to sort out his command issues.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. This post was originally published at 9:48pm CT.


Quick Hits: QO, Yankees, Athletics, Cubs

The qualifying offer continues to be an interesting topic of conversation and study around the game. It’s clear that it impacts free agent situations, but precisely how and how much remains somewhat difficult to nail down in practice. Next year’s QO will rise to approximately $15.7MM to $16MM, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney tweets, providing another, increasingly-high-stakes opportunity to observe how teams approach the rule.

Here are a few stray notes to finish out the evening:

  • The Yankees have already made use of a significant number of relief arms, often by shuttling players with options, and figure to do even more of that when rosters expand next month, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. That strategy may explain in part why the team ultimately chose not to add a starter at the deadline, preferring instead to rely on its depth to reduce the burden and reliance on its starters.
  • The Athletics front office is geared up for the future, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. While GM Billy Beane says he is “always trying to get better in the short term,” he acknowledged that the club’s trade deadline strategy focused on cashing in expiring veteran contracts for “younger players with more of an upside .. as more of a long-term approach.” Having adopted that approach, Beane says that the team likely will not “use prospects for acquisitions” this winter.
  • Notably, the Athletics’ key non-playing figures all seem likely not only to stay on, but to advance their careers. Per Slusser, manager Bob Melvin is likely to receive a multi-year extension at season’s end, while she labels it a “strong bet” that Beane will move up to a president position while handing over the GM title to David Forst.
  • The presence of multiple teams still in contention could slow the August trade market, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer tells Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times“There’ll definitely be deals,” he said. “Whether those will be big deals or not, I would probably say no, simply because I do think people are pretty active on the waiver wire and there’ll be quite a bit of blocking.” Hoyer added that Chicago had already been awarded several waiver claims, though obviously it has not actually acquired any of those players.