The MLB trade deadline for 2020 is less than 24 hours away, with the deadline set at 1 p.m. PT on Monday, August 31.
The Oakland A’s have already struck a deal, a brilliant move to acquire high-contact hitter Tommy La Stella from the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for a prospect who had passed his expiration date in the Bay Area.
But the As’s might not be made, as insider Mark Feinsand reported on Saturday that “Rival executives expect the Athletics and White Sox to trade for a starting pitcher by Monday.” (There’s also a rumor about lifters, but we’ll get to them in a separate article.)
The SP rumor makes sense. Oakland has traded for several starters over the past two trading dates to improve their contending rosters, including Mike Fiers, Homer Bailey and Tanner Roark. And while their rotation is better this year than it was in 2018-19, it still shows red flags between the struggling Frankie Montas and Chris Bassitt, and a five-round version of Sean Manaea. There is a lot of hope on rookie Jesús Luzardo, who even in a short season is risky.
So who is reasonably available, how much will they cost, and which ones make sense in Oakland right now? Here are some big names. For more ideas and to test your own, check out Baseball Business Values, including their article on available starters.
Lance Lynn, TEX
It’s the biggest name in the market and the one that has been publicly connected to the A’s. It seems likely that the 12-21 Texas Rangers will profit from their current ace, and since he still has an (affordable) year under contract, he doesn’t. is not a pure rental. It’s good for whoever acquires it, but also adds significantly to its price.
Insider Jon Morosi reported on Sunday that he had “heard athletics get involved” in Lynn, giving them tangible mention in the rumors. Other teams at Lynn’s factory include the White Sox, Twins, and Padres, among others.
The right-hander finished fifth in AL Cy Young’s vote last year, and his results have been even better so far this year (1.93 ERA), while retaining equally strong peripherals (3.53 FIP , 0.277 xwOBA). He would be Oakland’s top starter immediately and he could stay in 2021 for a relatively low price of $ 9.4 million – barely more than Fiers’ salary this summer in the final year of his own accord.
How much would it cost? It starts with AJ Puk. It will take a serious prospect to scare Lynn away, especially with several interested suitors bidding on him. Something more than Puk (like Luzardo or Sean Murphy) would be too much, and coming back after him on the prospect list is too important for anyone else to be a serious headliner – quantity for quality. surely won’t, for that big of an in-demand and win-now featured artist. And while other clubs might be interested in an MLB for MLB swap for one of A’s surplus hitters, it’s not clear the Rangers would agree to that. It would have to be Puk.
Is it worth it? Hard to say. Puk could be a star. Or, it could be a reliever who never stays healthy. That is the bet with prospects, especially when you plan to trade one with a division rival. It’s my favorite splashy option, however (spoiler alert).
Dylan Bundy, LAA
The classic inkblot test. He was an elite hope, then he never made it, then suddenly fact will take place this summer at age 27. Is it for real? Up to you!
Fans of A can attest to Bundy’s progress, having seen him throw two gems and another decent start against them this summer. Its 2.47 ERA is backed up by an excellent 3.14 FIP and .280 xwOBA, and its peripherals are excellent across the board, even without adding any new pitch or extra velocity.
Bundy is also under contract for another year, so it’s unclear if he’ll actually be traded. The Angels develop about one good pitcher per decade, and they come into each season thinking they’ll fight before they inevitably and embarrassingly collapse, so they might want to keep the right-hander for another run in third place. in 2021. Or, they could cash in now and sell high on a hot streak.
To that end, the Twins, Braves and White Sox have been named interested contenders.
How much would it cost? Less than Lynn, of course. He doesn’t have the track record to match the Rangers star. But he will always need something important. There isn’t a single prospect that would, as Puk is too much, but would a group of two strong youngsters make it? Robert Puason and Daulton Jefferies are an exact match for BTV, although that’s for Bundy’s median and surely the Halos could add some extra leverage – maybe enough for a solid third prospect? You can also replace Jefferies with an infielder like Nick Allen, Logan Davidson, or Sheldon Neuse, plus a smaller third piece.
Is it worth it? I don’t know, Oakland already sent Franklin Barreto a lotto ticket down south, and I’m scared to give them too much potential help going forward. I certainly wouldn’t complain about taking my chances on Bundy, but if we get that far, I could aim a little higher and go for Lynn.
Mike Clevinger, CLE
He’s been throwing roughly an ace level since 2017, and he appears to be out of favor at Cleveland to some extent after violating coronavirus protocols earlier this summer. At the very least, it’s available, even if the asking price is “ridiculous”.
Like the others, the right-hander is not a rental, as he has been under control for of them more seasons in 2021-2022. He’s allowed a few more homers this year, but since 2017 his sparkling ERA of 2.97 is backed by a strong FIP of 3.43 and a low xwOBA of .296.
Clevinger has a bit of injury history over the past year, but nothing involves his arm. His back landed him in 60-day IL last year, then his ankle required a minimum of 10 days, and over the winter he had minor knee surgery.
The Padres, Braves, Dodgers and White Sox are among the publicly interested parties, according to this roundup of MLB business rumors, but there are also potential “mystery teams” involved.
How much would it cost? More than Lynn, because of the extra year of control. But that also means he would be worth more, even if his salary starts to rise in arbitration – he might not earn more than Lynn in 2021.
But it won’t cost this much more in the trade. It starts over with Puk, but now add someone, as one of the names mentioned in the Bundy section. Or, the Indians are still competing, so they might be interested in one of Oakland’s surplus bats like Mark Canha in a one-for-one trade (or maybe Canha plus a lesser prospect).
Is it worth it? Again, I would prefer Lynn. Clevinger’s extra year is good, but he will be 30 next season and I don’t know how far I’ll have to play on a veteran pitcher. Personally, one more year in 2021 is enough for my taste – plus, if Clevinger stays good, then he could get overpriced in his final year of arby in 2022.
I have no interest in trading an MLB hitter for a starter because honestly were you watching in 2014? Let’s not repeat that no matter how much you agree that Yoenis Cespedes’s trading wasn’t the singular factor that weighed on the range as is often suggested.
Kevin Gausman, SF
Of course, those names above are the premium lenses. The A’s sometimes make the big blockbuster, like in 2014 for Jeff Samardzija, but lately they’ve kept things smaller by the deadline.
Enter Gausman, who is more Oakland Speed. He’s had a solid career as a mid-rotation guy, and at 29 he has a mediocre 4.54 GPA and 331 xwOBA but a fantastic 3.31 FIP (thanks to 12 K / 9 and 6 K / BB). It wouldn’t level up at the top of A’s spin, but could consolidate depth and thus improve things mid / back.
Gausman is also pure rental, which makes it much cheaper. It’s possible that the 17-19 Giants won’t sell for some reason, just as they didn’t last year despite the lack of any real playoff luck, but two All- caliber free agents. Star on which to profit. But if they do sell, at least we’ve already seen both sides make their first trade in decades last winter (for Burch Smith), so the line of communication is open again with A Farhan’s former AGM. Zaidi who ran the show. the Bay.
How much would it cost? Not much compared to the others on this list. Think of the range of Neuse, Austin Beck, James Kaprielian, etc. Jefferies would be too much, as would Puason or Allen. And please don’t sell low on Greg Deichmann.
Is it worth it? For one of these first three names? Of course, I could be convinced. I’d also be happy to keep all three and see if they can help the A’s in 2021 (or maybe 2023 for Beck). Oakland has done well with small pitching acquisitions like this over the past couple of years, so I’m willing to give it another try. That wouldn’t really move the needle until September, however, not necessarily in the playoffs (unless there were enough injuries to put Gausman in the spotlight).
Here are a few other names to consider, whether it’s because they’re in the rumor mill or because they’re currently on bad teams. (I’m leaving out the Cincinnati Reds for now, so no Trevor Bauer or Sonny Gray. They are too expensive to acquire anyway.)
- Andrew Heaney, LAA (4.62 ERA, 2.76 FIP, left-handed, one more year in 2021… could cost something like Puason)
- Danny Duffy, KC (4.11 ERA, identical 4.11 FIP, left-handed, one more year in 2021 but at $ 15 million … which makes it fundamentally free to acquire)
- I thought I would get a third name here but no one else immediately jumps on me; do you want to suggest one more in the comments?
I left out Jeff Samardzija, Ivan Nova, and Matthew Boyd because they have terrible seasons; Drew Smyly because he is currently on the IL; and Johnny cueto because there is just too much salary there to match well and it is also only OK now.
What do you think, Athletics Nation? Are you interested in one of these large swings? One of the smallest? Or do you just stand up and focus on the bullpen, if applicable?