Trade rumors have surrounded the Oakland Athletics ever since they unexpectedly started to flounder in the first month of the regular season. The A’s are an underperforming team with a lot of top-tier talent at many positions, so Billy Beane will be hearing from nearly every contending team about acquiring one or more of those pieces.
Last year’s blockbuster deal that sent Jeff Samardzija to the A’s in exchange for Addison Russell occurred on the Fourth of July. With that day quickly approaching, the baseball world will be watching the A’s closely to see if they are the first to make a splash in the trade market. Particularly, baseball is wondering where starting pitcher Scott Kazmir is going to be dealt.
The A’s did have the option to keep Samardzija for the 2015 season as well, so it is difficult to compare the assets of that deal to what Kazmir’s value to a contending team will be, since he will be eligible for free agency at the end of this season.
A Kazmir deal may more closely resemble the deal that sent Yoenis Cespedes to the Boston Red Sox. The A’s were one of the best teams in baseball, and they were willing to part with their best hitter to get 11 starts out of Jon Lester.
Beane set pretty jarring precedents with these trades. Top rated-prospects and lineup centerpieces are no longer off the table, even in exchange for half a season of a pitcher’s services. He might have foreseen Kazmir’s inevitable departure, and preemptively set the table for an incredibly A’s-friendly deal down the road.
The A’s should make the deal this weekend. Chris Bassitt showed his true Major League form in his start against the Colorado Rockies, and Sean Nolin and A.J. Griffin are just waiting for a call-up from Triple-A. If Kazmir is dealt this weekend, he will get to provide about 15 starts for his new team. The ultimate question is how much will teams give up to get 15 Scott Kazmir starts?
Here are four possibilities:
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