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 (Link to post 1). 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 and outfielders 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.
September 30, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart (2) singles in the game winning run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the ninth inning at PNC Park. The Cincinnati Reds won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY SportsThere are multiple teams with shortstops that could be available for the right price. The second team I am going to look at is the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds have a newly proven shortstop in Zack Cozart whom could become expendable if prospect Didi Gregorious comes to fruition. There’s no secret around the baseball world that the Reds have been looking for a proven leadoff hitter. It has been reported that they are on the verge of resigning Ryan Ludwick who will be their starting left fielder. They have Jay Bruce already in right field so the main question is in center.
Oct 10, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics center fielder Coco Crisp (4) hits the RBI single to win the game against the Detroit Tigers during the ninth inning of game four of the 2012 ALDS at O.co Coliseum. The Oakland Athletics defeated the Detroit Tigers 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY SportsThis problem for the Reds is where the A’s can come in and help. With four starting caliber outfielders which can play center the A’s have a multitude of options in which to put together a trade for Cozart. The main trade candidate will probably be Coco Crisp. Crisp is entering the last year of his contract with the A’s and with the acquisition of Chris Young he has become expendable. Crisp has proven himself as a catalyst for the A’s offense the last couple of seasons and would mesh perfectly with the Reds powerful middle of the order.
In return the A’s would get a young powerful shortstop who would add power to an already powerful lineup. It would also add a higher average hitter than the past couple of seasons. With the shortstop position struggling for the A’s lately it would be a nice change of pace and an obvious added boost to a feast or famine offense. These two teams match up perfectly for a trade to help each other.
**UPDATE** In my first post I discussed Yunel Escobar has a potential trade candidate, but he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays today.