Oakland Athletics Rumors

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

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.”

Athletics Designate Shane Peterson

The Athletics have designated first baseman Shane Peterson for assignment, MLB.com’s Jane Lee tweets.

Peterson, 27 in February, has a grand total of two games on his major league resume.  However, he has spent the bulk of the last four years in Triple-A Sacramento.  In that span, Peterson owns a .294/.383/.452 slash line across 1,526 plate appearances.

Minor Moves: Morgan, Snodgress, Cubs

Here are some minor moves from around baseball…

  • Nyjer Morgan has signed a contract with the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization, as per a report from Naver Sports (hat tip to Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net).  Morgan played in Japan in 2013 before signing a minor league deal with the Indians last offseason.  He was only able to play in 15 games for the Tribe due to injury, however, and was released in August.
  • The Angels signed left-hander Scott Snodgress to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo reports.  Snodgress was non-tendered by the White Sox last week.  The 25-year-old lefty made his Major League debut in 2014, pitching 2 1/3 innings over four games for Chicago.
  • On Thursday, the Cubs, Red Sox and Athletics will complete some business left over from two trades from last summer, ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers tweets.  The A’s will send a player to be named later to the Cubs to complete the deal that sent Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland.  The Cubs will then send another PTBNL to the Sox to complete the two clubs’ deal for Felix Doubront.

Stephen Drew Drawing Broad Interest

Though he is coming off of a disappointing season, infielder Stephen Drew is drawing fairly broad-based interest around the game, Jon Heyman of CBSSports reports on Twitter.

Heyman attributes that to the fact that he is not saddled with draft compensation, as he was this time last year. But I would suggest that there is probably a general sense that a bargain could be had for a team that can present Drew with a desirable opportunity.

Among the clubs with some level of interest are the Yankees, Mets, Astros, Athletics, Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Blue Jays, Nationals, and Marlins. That lengthy set of club names probably encapsulates a variety of possible uses for Drew, ranging from a regular job at short to an intended use at another position to a pure utility role.

West Rumors: A’s, Kazmir, Giants, Kang, Rockies

The latest from the AL and NL West..

  • Even after moving Jeff Samardzija, the A’s are far from done, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter).  Oakland is undergoing an almost top-to-bottom, on-the-fly rebuild that could see them turning over half of their 40-man roster.
  • The Athletics are not in the mode of trading Scott Kazmir, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter).  In fact, they’re now looking to make a couple of additions.  Kazmir is set to hit the open market after the 2015 season and many predicted that he would be on the block along with Samardzija.
  • John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter) hears the Giants are not big on Korean infielder Jung-ho Kang.  Apparently, SF is not convinced that his overseas numbers will translate to MLB.
  • The Rockies are getting hits on outfielders Corey Dickerson and Charlie Blackmon and third baseman Nolan Arenado, but GM Jeff Bridich isn’t “supremely motivated” to move any of them, writes Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post.  There have also been a lot of inquiries about Wilin Rosario, especially from AL teams seeking a DH/backup catcher, but he’s “not in the mood to just give him away.”

White Sox To Acquire Jeff Samardzija

It’s official: the White Sox and Athletics have agreed to a deal that sends Jeff Samardzija back to Chicago, though this time with the South Siders. Righty Michael Ynoa is going with him in return for infielder Marcus Semien, righty Chris BassittJosh Phegley and Rangel Ravelo.

USATSI_8058200_154513410_lowresThe deal continues a huge offseason for the White Sox, who also recently agreed to terms with David Robertson and have also acquired Adam LaRoche and Zach Duke to bolster a team that won just 73 games in 2014. The 29-year-old Samardzija had his best MLB season last summer, posting an outstanding 2.99 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 while pitching a career-high 219 2/3 innings. He’ll augment a strong-looking White Sox rotation that also will include Chris Sale and Jose Quintana.

For the Athletics, the deal continues an offseason of adjustment — the Athletics are set to lose Jon Lester, Jed Lowrie and Luke Gregerson to free agency, and they’ve traded key position players Josh Donaldson (to the Blue Jays) and Brandon Moss (to the Indians).

Semien, 24, had a terrific half-season for Triple-A Charlotte in 2014, then hit .234/.300/.372 in 255 plate appearances in the Majors, playing mostly second and third base, although he can also play shortstop. He boasts an excellent batting eye and reasonable power. The Athletics could use him in their middle infield next season.

The 25-year-old Bassitt made his big-league debut in 2014 despite missing much of the year with a broken hand. In four minor-league seasons, Bassitt has a 2.97 ERA, 8.6 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9. Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook 2014 ranked Bassitt the White Sox’ 15th-best prospect heading into the season.

Phegley, meanwhile, is a 26-year-old backstop who goes from a crowded group in Chicago to one in Oakland. He has seemingly mastered the Triple-A level, putting up back-to-back high-power, high-OBP campaigns. But he failed to take advantage of a big league opportunity in 2013 and will need to earn his way into another.

Ravelo, the only true prospect going to the A’s, is a 22-year-old corner infielder.  Last year he was promoted to Double-A and the former sixth round pick slashed .309/.386/.473 in 551 plate appearances.  Ravelo has past experience at third base but has played mostly at first base over the past two seasons.

Samardzija was born in Indiana, grew up a White Sox fan, and of course played most of his previous big-league career with the Cubs, so his return to Chicago will represent a homecoming. He is projected to make $9.5MM in 2015 through the arbitration process, and will be eligible for free agency following the season.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, Bruce Levine of 670TheScore.com (on Twitter), and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (links to Twitter) all reported pieces of the deal. David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com (via Twitter) and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (via Twitter) both contributed to the reporting on the deal’s progress.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

A’s, White Sox Near Jeff Samardzija Deal

11:27pm: The two sides agreed to the parameters of the deal several days ago, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).

11:14pm: The deal is on hold for the moment but will likely happen Tuesday, tweets John Hickey of the Oakland Tribune.

9:53pm: Even if a Samardzija deal is close to being finalized, it doesn’t sound as if the A’s are planning to announce anything tonight, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter).

9:22pm: The White Sox are close to acquiring Samardzija from the A’s, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).

9:12pm: The A’s are close to a deal involving Samardzija and it appears likely he’ll be heading to the White Sox, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.

There was speculation that the Red Sox were also involved, but the White Sox have been the most interested of anyone and they’re the likely winners here.  The White Sox have several young infielders that could make sense for the A’s.  If the White Sox complete the deal, that would give them a strong right-hander to join Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, and John Danks.

8:10pm: The White Sox are among the favorites to acquire A’s starter Jeff Samardzija – assuming he’s traded. If a deal does happen, the A’s would receive Marcus Semien and prospects, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (two tweets). Chicago doesn’t want to trade top prospects like shortstop Tim Anderson or pitcher Francellis Montas for Samardzija since he has only one season of club control remaining.

If the A’s do acquire Semien, he would play shortstop. The 24-year-old hit .234/.300/.372 in 255 plate appearances last season, although there is some room for optimism. He struck out 27.5% of the time, but his minor league rates have been considerably lower. Perhaps an adjustment or two will allow him to put more balls in play and post a higher average.

The Red Sox have also been connected to the 29-year-old but it’s the White Sox that appear to have won out.  The A’s were intent on finding a promising young shortstop in exchange for the right-hander and reportedly would have wanted to get prospect Deven Marrero in a swap with the Red Sox.

Teams that spoke with the A’s also got the impression that Oakland would not greenlight an extension negotiation window as a part of any deal.  That stance makes sense as the pitcher seems intent on testing the open market after the 2014 season.

AL West Rumors: Rangers, Kemp, A’s, Kang

The Rangers are expected to talk to the Mets and Marlins about starting pitchers, tweets T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Sullivan mentions Jon Niese and Dillon Gee of the Mets and Andrew Heaney and Nathan Eovaldi of the Marlins as likely targets. Presumably, Texas would consider other targets as well. New York needs a shortstop while Miami could use first base help. The latest from the AL West..

  • There has been no recent progress in the Matt Kemp trade talks between the Mariners and Dodgers, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
  • A’s manager Bob Melvin likes internal shortstop options, notably Andy Parrino, but he also said he wouldn’t be surprised if they added one before spring, according to Jane Lee of MLB.com (via Twitter).
  • Meanwhile, GM Billy Beane says that contrary to reports, the A’s are not among the teams with interest in Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang (link).
  • Beane confirmed that the A’s are targeting young shortstops in deals, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter).
  • Astros GM Jeff Luhnow says he’s still very much focused on adding bullpen depth through free agency or trade, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com (via Twitter).

Infield Market Rumors: Monday

With Pablo Sandoval off the board, attention on the third base market has shifted to Chase Headley. But Jed Lowrie also could be an option at the hot corner (as well as at short and second). He took a step backward last year in the power department, but has a lengthy track record of legitimate pop. Better still, the 30-year-old managed to stay on the field after some injury issues in his past.

Here’s the latest on the infield market:

  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter) hears that Headley will make his decision by the end of the Winter Meetings.  There are three or four teams bidding on him right now, including the Giants and Yankees.
  • It’s not just the starting pitchers that are waiting for Jon Lester to sign, tweets Sherman.  Headley is also up in the air because the Giants won’t know how much they can afford to spend until they know whether they can sign Lester.
  • The Giants will consider Lowrie at third if they can’t land Headley, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports (Twitter links). As for Headley, four years at a $11MM to $12MM AAV is probably too rich for San Francisco, Crasnick adds.
  • Another National League squad, the Marlins, could also have interest in Lowrie as an option at a position other than shortstop, per another Crasnick tweet. Miami is “exploring” the market at those positions. Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill and GM Dan Jennings told me last month at the GM Meetings that the team feels comfortable with its internal options at the keystone but would consider sensible upgrades.

Earlier Updates

  • The Astros have at least “kicked the tires” on Headley as an option at third base, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets.
  • Lowrie is indeed willing to play elsewhere in the infield, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports. That face makes him a solid fit for the Astros, where he could keep the seat warm for Carlos Correa at short before eventually sliding to third, or possibly move to hot corner right away while providing some insurance up the middle.
  • The Astros have been pursuing Lowrie, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports on Twitter. Houston dealt Lowrie to the Athletics before the 2013 season. For Houston, Lowrie could conceivably fill in at short, third, or both over the life of a hypothetical deal. I noted the Astros as a possible landing spot in Lowrie’s free agent profile, in which I also predicted he could score a three-year deal at a $10MM AAV.