By: Noah Wright
Photo by Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
The Oakland A’s are currently 46-38, and 3rd in The AL West. While they may be above .500, they’re still 8.5 out of the division, and 7 out of a wild card spot. But they are nearing the end of their rebuild phase, as former prospects Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Dustin Fowler, and Sean Manaea have already made an impact. Daniel Mengden, another young starter, has shown some promise at the major league level. The A’s could take one of two routes this season: they could either sell off some pieces to acquire some younger guys on the verge of MLB readiness, or buy to potentially go for a WC spot, or trade for guys controllable for next season, and prepare for next season.
What If They Sell?:
If The A’s decide to sell, they have some pieces that could bring back something decent. To start with, closer Blake Treinen has done an amazing job this season. With a .89 ERA, .91 WHIP, and 1.89 FIP, to go with a career best 10.8 K/9 rate, and .242 BABIP in 40.2 innings, Treinen could be an all-star this season. The right hander is also controllable through 2020, which further adds to his value. Teams that were interested in Kelvin Herrera before he was traded may also look for a trade for Treinen if The A’s make him available in trade talks. The A’s also have Santiago Casilla, who’s on the last year of his contract, along with Lou Trivino, and lefty Ryan Butcher, all of whom are having decent seasons. Another asset with control is Jonathan Lucroy. The A’s signed Lucroy to a two year deal over this past off-season. While he may not be performing at an all-star level like he has before, as he’s only batting .258/.315/.339, and his defense isn’t great, with -5 DRS and -.1 dWAR, Lucroy is still a serviceable catcher. He’s still caught a league average 27% of runners trying to take a base off of him. A team like The Nationals could show some interest in the former Brewer all-star. One starter that will likely be dealt at the deadline from The A’s is Trevor Cahill. The A’s signed Cahill to a minor league deal over the off season, and it’s paid off so far. On the season, Cahill has a 2.77 ERA, 3.04 FIP, and a .986 WHIP. His walk rate is also down, with a 2 BB/9 rate. With Cahill’s cheap price, any team looking for starting pitching depth, like The Yankees, Brewers, Indians, or Phillies. However, his value may be slightly be diminished because he has spent time on The DL, and is still on The DL as writing this. One last player The A’s could send off is Jed Lowrie. Lowrie is on the last season of his contract, and is owed a total of a cheap $6 million in total this season. Plus, Lowrie is having the best season of his career. Currently, he’s batting .291/.351/.500 with 14 home runs, 56 RBI’s, and 135 wRC+, with a .209 ISO, both of which are a full-season career high. Lowrie’s versatility also adds value. He can play second, third, and shortstop, along with being a switch hitter.
What if They Buy?:
The other option The A’s have is to buy some pieces. However, I do see this being the less likely of the two options. The A’s could fill some holes by getting some starting pitching help. Daniel Mengden, Andrew Triggs and Kendall Graveman have both had their fair share of struggles this season, with both performance and injures. The A’s have a fairly deep minor league system that could help them acquire some starters like J.A. Happ, Francisco Liriano, or Tyson Ross. A more controllable option they could look into is The Rangers lefty Cole Hamels. However, since they are in the same division, that could be a factor that plays in a trade like that. Another place in The A’s roster that could use some help is their outfield. Stephen Piscotty and Matt Joyce have been underwhelming so far this season. A cheap bat like Curtis Granderson could add some pop their lineup could use. A deal could happen that includes Jorge Mateo, and/or Austin Beck.
With the deadline approaching, The A’s are in a weird spot. They’re currently having a decent season, as they were 46-38. However, they’re still a good amount of games out of a playoff spot. With their current situation, The A’s will likely sell, but it would not be completely surpsing if they did decide to add a few cheap pieces.