In honor of the MLB Winter Meetings I have decided to do a series of posts dedicated to possible trade partners the A’s could be in touch with throughout not just this week but the entire offseason. The A’s have the biggest hole in their lineup at shortstop, but could also fill holes at second and third base, the bench, and every team can never have too much bullpen depth. There are plenty of teams in need of starting pitching which the Green and Gold have plenty of so GM Billy Beane can be aggressive if needs to be and trade from the depth. There are a couple of things to remember however.
One is the A’s recently drafted a shortstop (though they may move him to third base) in Addison Russell. While he is still a few years away from possibly making it to the big leagues it may not make too much sense to invest in a young shortstop that may cost extra because of their age. The opposite hand to that is sometimes prospects never match up to their expectations. That is a balancing act that Beane will have to deal with.
The second is the A’s have internal options at all of their positions except shortstop. Therefore it would seem Beane’s main concern this week will be to find a shortstop. There aren’t many free agent shortstops on the market this offseason (Stephen Drew seems to be the only potential fit) therefore the most likely scenario to fill the need at the six position is via trade.
There are multiple teams with shortstops that could be available for the right price. The first team I will be looking at is the Miami Marlins. The Marlins have already made their big splash (no pun intended) in a blockbuster trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. They acquired shortstop Yunel Escobar as well as top shortstop prospect Adeiny Hechavarria. With Hechavarria being ready for the major leagues, Escobar has become expendable for the Marlins.
The Marlins are in the process of a rebuild albeit a quick one to hopefully regain their fan base (again which they seem to have lost after trading away almost their entire roster). They are looking for affordable young pitching to build around. This is where the A’s and Marlins meet as natural trade partners.
The A’s have potential trade chips within the realm of starting pitching in Dan Straily, A.J. Griffin, Tommy Milone, Brad Peacock, and Michael Ynoa. Peacock and Ynoa would be risky considering their 2011 seasons respectively (Peacock was inconsistent and Ynoa was injured for most of the season). Straily is another long shot because he just came into his own this past season after developing his changeup. That leaves Griffin and Milone as likeliest to be traded.
Determining Escobar’s value will be interesting regardless of where he ends up. His production is above average which at a position that is as bare as shortstop player wise means his price raises exponentially. However, Escobar has had multiples issues regarding his attitude and work ethic. It was widely reported that he was a “cancer” in the Blue Jays clubhouse and he was suspended and fined for having a gay slur on his eye black during a game toward the end of last season. The flip side to that is the A’s clubhouse is strongly united and may be able to change his ways. We’ll just have to wait and see.
**UPDATE** MLB.com’s Jane Lee reported that Billy Beane and the Marlins have been in discussions for Escobar.