Little-Discussed Trade Could Be a Huge Deal for Oakland A's

By mattkeith
Andy Parrino Oakland A's
Kelley L. Cox-US Presswire

When the Oakland A’s sent pitcher Tyson Ross and minor league first baseman A.J. Kirby-Jones to the San Diego Padres in exchange for infielder Andy Parrino and pitcher Andrew Werner, the baseball world did not pay much attention.

Indeed, why would it?

Ross was once considered a talented prospect, but his major league career has been nothing short of disastrous. In just under 150 innings, Ross has recorded a 5.33 career ERA. He did manage to pitch admirably in 2011 in six starts, but in 2012 he effectively ended any shot he had at earning a spot in the A’s organization. He pitched only 73.1 innings, but somehow managed to lose 11 games with an ERA of 6.50.

Ross was an Oakland native and always seemed well liked by teammates and fans, but the above statistics made him an irredeemable project. Perhaps the fresh start will enable him to capitalize on his talent, but he likely would never have been anything more than a struggling prospect with the A’s.

Oakland therefore did not lose a whole lot in the deal, but it also did not get much in return. Parrino has played 79 games in his major league career, mostly at shortstop. His career batting average is .200 and he has only one home run to his credit. Parrino’s on-base percentage of .319 is quite a bit higher, but still a little on the low side. Defensively, Parrino is solid enough to be a nice backup, but will not add a whole lot with his glove as an everyday fielder.

Werner is a left-handed pitcher who posted numbers similar to Ross in eight starts with the Padres, but lacks the same upside. He seems to be a bit of a throw-in to complete the deal, as does Kirby-Jones.

It is always tough to provide instant analysis of which team won a trade. On the surface, the Padres got the best talent in Ross, but at the same time the A’s got something in exchange for a player with no future with the team. In that sense, both teams won.

Of course in a trade where getting a decent backup would be a win, does it matter which team came out ahead?

For the A’s, it actually might. Oakland has been struggling to find a shortstop all offseason. Adam Rosales was the only player on the roster clearly capable of playing short, and it never seemed that the team was comfortable with him as a starter.

Now, they have Parrino to add to the mix. If they plan to let him compete with Rosales for a utility role, that is fine. If the organization hopes that Parrino can compete for a starting job, then this trade will hurt them.

There are very few quality shortstops on the free agent market, and the asking price in the trade market is going to be high. If this trade is a sign that Oakland believes it cannot acquire a decent player at short, then the team is in trouble.

Billy Beane has won a lot of trades over the years. More often than not, the A’s get great value for whatever they give up. Maybe Parrino will be a better major league player than Ross. But barring the miraculous, he will never be more than a quality reserve. And acquiring that type of talent with the intent to start him is almost always a lost cause.

If Oakland is just trying to add depth at a thin area, good for them. If the team does not add another shortstop before the season begins and opens with Andy Parrino playing short, this trade will suddenly seem much more important than the passing mention it is currently getting.

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