Oakland Athletics: 5 Trade Targets Who Could Help Pitching Staff
5 Pitchers Who Could Help The Athletics
Earlier this week during his weekly interview on 95.7 FM The Game, Oakland Athletics GM Billy Beane admitted, “It's a fun time of year.” The Athletics executive was, of course, referring to the MLB trade season, which extends through July 31.
Beane went on to say, “I also think we've got a pretty good minor league system, which is really, really important at the trade deadline.” I'll interpret that sound bite as Beane's willingness to add to what is already a strong squad.
To be exact, the Athletics currently sit at 46-34 entering the weekend series and are half a game off the pace in the AL West. Last year, the Athletics were 38-42 after 80 games and a dozen games behind the Texas Rangers.
If the Athletics could find a right-handed power hitter who plays shortstop, that would be awesome. But those kind of guys are, of course, quite hard to come by. Plus, they require a number of prospects in return. It's not nearly as exciting, but the type of player that Beane is likely to add is most likely a veteran innings eater, with all due respect to Bartolo Colon, or an extra arm or two out of the bullpen.
The aforementioned Colon, who takes the mound in game one against the St. Louis Cardinals at the O.co Coliseum, has been the team's best pitcher in 2013. Colon has won seven starts straight, and with his 10-2 record, he is just the fourth Athletics starter since 1991 to win 10 games before the end of June. He's also a perfect 6-0 since turning 40 back on May 24. That's never been done by a 40-year-old before, which suggests to me that the club needs to be careful with how heavily it leans on the big dude.
Led by the likes of Grant Balfour, Sean Doolittle, Ryan Cook and Jerry Blevins, the Athletics' bullpen has put up a collective 3.13 ERA. The group has issued the fewest walks in the AL, but has also allowed 33 percent of inherited runners to score, which is good for the fourth highest percentage in the league. It can never hurt to add extra arms, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Athletics tried to snag a righty and a lefty.
Okay, so I don't really think the Athletics should trade for Aaron Harang, but I just really like that picture of the big right-hander and Adam Kennedy, who is also a former Athletic. I also wanted to underscore just how hard it is to find a quality starter on the trade market. The 35-year-old has been pretty awful for the Seattle Mariners in 2013 after winning 10 games last year and 14 the year before that. He's not particularly cheap either, as he's currently in the second year of a two-year, $12 million deal. I wouldn't part with the fringiest of prospects to get Harang, but if he's available for an A-ball reliever or gets released and the Athletics have the need, bringing him back to Oakland could prove a low-risk gamble worth making.
Matt Garza would be a far more realistic target. The Chicago Cubs' right-hander is owed $10.25 million, however, so he won't be cheap and that doesn't include the package of players it would require to get him. The 29-year-old has only made eight starts in 2013, which means his arm is fresh, and he's lost just once. In his past three starts, he's looked absolutely locked-in as he has allowed just two runs combined.
Jesse Crain is a right-hander who has been nearly untouchable for the Chicago White Sox in 2013. The 31-year-old native of Toronto has a 0.52 ERA and has already racked up 46 K's in 36 outings. He makes $4.5 million this year.
Matt Lindstrom, another good right-hander on what is a very bad White Sox team. The 33-year-old has a 2.59 ERA, has yet to serve up a longball in 37 games and is earning $2.3 million in 2013.
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