Yesterday was annual Refresh Twitter Day and it yielded results for the A’s, as they made one of the biggest deadline day trades, shipping both Josh Reddick and Rich Hill to the Dodgers for a trio of pitching prospects. We knew it was probably coming, as both players were due to be free agents after this season. There had been some talk of extending one or both, but come on – this is the A’s. The expected happened. A similar scenario is how we even got Reddick in the first place. It’s the cycle of the A’s roster.
Reddick was a really good Oakland A – a little flamboyant, definitely unique, and an excellent fielder and a good hitter most of the time. I will have lasting memories of him gunning down runners at third and delivering post-game pies to the faces of walkoff heroes. He was probably one of our most recognizable Oakland A’s in the last two years, so this is a loss of identity as much as it a loss of one of our best players. But we’re used to being the anonymous team.
Rich Hill’s short stay here leaves me with little feelings about him leaving, other than it’s nice to get something for a guy that was signed out of free agency. He was stellar in the 76 innings he pitched as an A, but with little on the line this season, I won’t remember him for much more than just passing through. That’s unfortunate, because he’s been a great story in baseball the last year and will probably continue to be with the Dodgers.
The return for this trade sounds like a very good one. I don’t pretend to know who prospects are most of the time so I leave it to people who know, and the general consensus is that the A’s did very well getting Grant Holmes, Frankie Montas, and Jharel Cotton in return for Reddick and Hill. Holmes is the big get of the deal, drafted in the first round just last season, while Montas and Cotton are more advanced but lower ceiling arms. I’ve seen the “#2 starter” ceiling thrown around for Holmes, which is probably about or maybe slightly better than Sean Manaea level. It remains to be seen whether Montas and Cotton are rotation or bullpen material, but we’ll probably find out soon-ish. Both project to be in Oakland in ’17, if not this season.
We’ve seen a lot of A’s teams over the years and they are always built around good, young pitching. This is where it begins. I know a lot of fans get sick of the trades, but being mad about stuff like this is really short-sighted. I get how roster building works. We’ve been good before and we’ll be good again. Go A’s…
Well the A’s managed to win a game yesterday to avoid an 0-8 road trip. 0-8 would’ve been awful but 1-7 is not much better. They continued their streaky ways again, as this season high seven-game losing streak immediately followed a five-game winning streak (and that followed a 1-7 stretch, which followed a four-game winning streak). Ugh, A’s. What are you?
The answer to that is what it was when I wrote my last blog about three weeks ago, and that’s “not very good.” Injuries are still a thing – Rich Hill is now on the DL, and Khris Davis and Danny Valencia sat out both of the games in Milwaukee with ailments. Sonny Gray came back, which is nice, but this is still a very battered bunch, with 10 guys still on the DL. At least they were able to find a taker for Chris Coghlan, as the Cubs wanted him back and gave the A’s an actual sort of prospect for him, speedy switch hitting infielder Arismendy Alcantara.
In seasons like these, it is often fun to focus on other things that the day-to-day playing of baseball games, and we got one of those things last week with the draft. Thanks to being crappy last year, the A’s had the highest pick they’ve had since they selected Mark Mulder #2 overall in 1998. This year they picked sixth and went with a big tall lefty pitcher, A.J. Puk. I won’t even pretend that I follow college baseball at all but the fact that this guy was considered a potential #1 overall at one point makes me pretty glad the A’s landed him here. Then with the competitive balance lottery pick at #37, the A’s drafted Cal pitcher Daulton Jefferies who posted a 1.08 ERA in college ball this season. Then in the second round, they picked Puk’s Florida teammate Logan Shore, a kid who actually put up better numbers than the highly touted Puk this season. It’s always easy to be optimistic about draft picks but the general consensus is that the A’s did very well here, and I’ll go with that. I gotta go with something.
The A’s are back home after their abysmal road trip, and it would be nice to see them win a few with A.L. West rivals coming to town. They’ll get the first place Rangers for four and then the Angels for three over the weekend. Go A’s…
Sigh. I don’t really know what to make of the A’s this year. Well, scratch that. I do know what to make of the A’s this year and that is that they’re not very good. They are also not very healthy, which may also have something to do with not being very good, but it doesn’t have everything to do with it. Kendall Graveman and Chris Coghlan probably weren’t expected to be as bad as they have been much of this year but here they are, with an ERA of 5.36 and a batting average of .153 respectively. And the A’s are playing without either Sonny Gray or Josh Reddick right now. What can you do? Unfortunately the way Major League Baseball works is that you have to keep on playing games nearly every day even when your star players are injured. I know, that’s brutal! But it’s the way it is. And you end up with the 2016 Oakland A’s.
This year’s A’s are also extremely streaky. They’ve swept three series (two on the road) but have been swept four times. They’ve had as long as a six-game winning streak and a five-game losing streak. They’ve been doing lots of things in bunches, even hitting singles (Reddick tied a franchise record for hits in consecutive at-bats), giving up home runs (the A’s gave up the most home runs they have in a single game since 1994 when they allowed six against the Orioles on May 8), hitting home runs (both Danny Valencia and Khris Davis had three homer games within two days of each other), and allowing runs (the A’s allowed 11+ runs in four consecutive games for the first time in franchise history from May 8 to May 11). Lots of good and lots of really, really horrible things have been happening.
Now, it’s still very early and anything can happen. But my expectation is that this year is much like last year. Gray’s injury may have delayed the inevitable with him, but I would still expect Rich Hill, Valencia and Reddick to all be trade bait at the deadline. Reddick, much like Ben Zobrist last year, should be back from his injury in time to rebuild his value in what could be a seller’s market. We are already seeing some of the rewards from last year’s deadline moves, with Sean Manaea in the rotation, and this summer looks like it could be a time to load up again.
In any and all things, A’s, don’t screw it up…