Oakland Athletics: 5 Bats to Consider On Waiver Wire
Oakland Athletics: Five Bats to Consider on Waivers
It's the time of the year that GM Billy Beane of the Oakland Athletics gets to take part in a bit of waiver wire hunting.
Last year, the club snagged Stephen Drew in a waiver wire trade. Then the short stop for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Drew was hitting just .193 in what had been an injury-plagued campaign. That's exactly the kind of player who is available on waivers: a guy who is well-compensated (Drew was earning $7.75 million) and underachieving.
After all, if the player is lighting it up or makes a relatively reasonable salary, there's no way he'll clear waivers. The process works in reverse standings order, with teams getting the first crack at players in their own league before the opposite league gets a shot.
The Athletics need to add a bat, and preferably one that can crush righties. Rookie Rule-5 draft pick Nate Freiman has done an impressive job jumping from Double-A to the major leagues. The problem, though, is that he's currently just a really tall singles hitter.
Chris Young's average is still under .200, and even the ever-professional Seth Smith has been off. Since the All-Star Break, he's hitting just .114. Quite simply, the Athletics need more power out of the corner spots and DH, and the waiver wire could just be the place to find it.
Here are five bats that the Athletics should consider pursuing on the waiver wire this August:
Justin Morneau is playing down the final months of a five-year, $80 million deal for the Minnesota Twins. The big first baseman has already cleared waivers and is hitting .262 with 14 home runs. The 2006 AL MVP hasn't topped 19 home runs in a season since 2009, when he clubbed 30.
Josh Willingham is yet another Twin who could be very available on waivers. The former Athletic makes for great waiver wire bait as he cracked 35 home runs in 2012, yet has managed just 12 this year. With a $7 million dollar salary this year and next, he's also likely to slide through unclaimed.
Adam Dunn has 27 home runs for a very bad Chicago White Sox team. He's hitting .230 and has racked up a whooping 131 strike outs in just 112 games in 2013. Essentially, the 33-year-old slugger either hits the ball very far or not at all. He makes $15 million this year and the same amount in 2014. As a result, he has already cleared waivers. The bigger question is if the Athletics would want anything to do with such a large financial commitment.
The Athletics might need to fortify the catching position with normal backup John Jaso sidelined in concussion purgatory, and John Buck could be just the fit. The catcher for the New York Mets is hitting just .221, but he has launched 14 home runs. He also makes $6 million this season, which means he has an excellent chance of making it through waivers unclaimed. The powerful catcher could also fill in at the DH spot.