Well the winter meetings have come and gone and the A’s made some moves, most of which were fairly expected.
The bullpen revamp continued, as the A’s traded Evan Scribner to the Mariners for a minor league pitcher and then agreed to sign veteran right hander John Axford to a 2-year, $10 million deal, pending physical. Axford’s deal also includes incentives based on games finished. Axford has closing experience – he lead the majors in saves in 2011 with 46 as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers. So in addition to Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle, the 2016 A’s have a few options to go to late in games in save and high leverage situations. This is a level of depth that was tested for the A’s last year, with Doolittle injured for much of the season and Tyler Clippard getting the bulk of save chances early on. It’s nice to have options and hopefully it goes better this season than it did last season.
The other big move came in the form of a trade, when Brett Lawrie was dealt to the White Sox for minor league arms J.B. Wendelken and Zack Erwin. It was pretty expected that one of Lawrie or Danny Valencia would get moved after the A’s acquired Jed Lowrie in a trade with the Astros last week, so here we are. Considering that Lawrie came over as part of the package in the unpopular Josh Donaldson trade, reactions from the fan base are pretty down on this trade. I would have certainly liked to see a higher ceiling prospect here but maybe this was the best they could do for either Lawrie or Valencia. Wendelken was in AAA last season, so we could see him sooner than later. Erwin, on the other hand, was a 2015 draftee and pitched in low-A last year, albeit extremely well (1.34 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 40 1/3 innings). By the time we see him anywhere near the bigs, we’ll probably have forgotten where he came from.
The A’s also made a Rule 5 selection on Thursday, but traded that player to the Padres as the PTBNL in the trade that brought Yonder Alonso to the A’s.
So the expected moves have been made and there aren’t really much more that remain. I do expect that they’ll add another reliever and maybe another starter, but there is no one on the big league roster that I expect to get moved and will probably be surprised if and when it happens. How many days until pitchers and catchers report? Go A’s…