The Oakland Athletics were very active during this year’s trade deadline. They traded away most of their highly valued players whose contracts were up at the end of this season and acquired a handful of prospects in return. Through these trades, it quickly became clear that the Athletics were not looking to compete this season, but in the years to come.
Oakland kicked off the trading frenzy by completing a transaction that sent Scott Kazmir to the Houston Astros on July 23. In return, the A’s gained minor leaguers RHP Daniel Mengden and catcher Jacob Nottingham. Interestingly enough, both of these players do not break the A’s top ten prospects list, but perhaps it is just because they currently play in Single-A. It seems like a bad trade especially after how successful Kazmir was with the A’s. However, do not forget that back in 2008, the Athletics traded pitcher Rich Harden for a Low-A catcher by the name of Josh Donaldson. Perhaps history will repeat itself in this case.
On July 27, Oakland completed its second biggest trade of the season by sending closer Tyler Clippard to the New York Mets in exchange for RHP Casey Meisner. This 6’7” minor league pitcher has a powerful arm, but still has a ways to go before reaching the major leagues. He is the youngest player acquired by the A’s during this year’s trade season, but is a highly desired prospect and has a bright future as a pitcher.
The very next day, the Athletics traded utility man Ben Zobrist to the Kansas City Royals. In return, Oakland received RHP Aaron Brooks and LHP Sean Manaea. Even though Brooks is MLB ready and making his Athletics’ debut on Saturday against the Cleveland Indians, he is the less exciting player out of these two.
Manaea was a first round draft pick in 2013 and was the reason the A’s completed the deal with the Royals. Manaea will head to Double-A Midland and continue to showcase his affinity for strikeouts. Want an impressive stat on Manaea? In 153 ⅓ innings pitched in the minor leagues, Manaea has only given up seven home runs.
There were some other more minor trades that the Athletics completed before the July 31 deadline. One included the acquisition of RHP Felix Doubront from the Toronto Blue Jays for cash. Doubront found success when he was with the Boston Red Sox in 2012 and 2013, but has struggled the past two season. If this starter can bounce back, he is actually not a bad pickup for Oakland.
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The Athletics also traded away former 2012 All-Star pitcher Ryan Cook. Cook went to the Red Sox for a player to be named later. Cook struggled mightily this season and spent most of his time in Triple-A. It is sad to see him go since he was such a big part of the team in the past seasons, but hopefully Boston will be able to give him more of an opportunity.
Way back on July 2, Oakland acquired RHP Cody Martin from the Atlanta Braves for an international bonus slot. This Triple-A pitcher took Chris Bassitt’s spot in the Nashville Sounds’ rotation when Bassitt was called up to Oakland. Even though he has not been faring well since coming to the Athletics’ organization, he did have a 2.10 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP before the trade. He also has pitched 21.2 innings in the MLB. He may need a little more time in Triple-A to develop before he called back up again.
Shortly after acquiring Martin, the Athletics gave the Atlanta Braves another international bonus slot in exchange for right handed relief pitcher Aaron Kurcz. Kurcz was previously in the Red Sox organization before going to the Braves this past offseason. He has good arm speed and a plus slider, but he did miss the 2012 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. This season is Kurcz’s first year in Triple-A and he has a 3.63 ERA with 54 strikeouts in 44.2 innings pitched.
Now that the Oakland Athletics’ minor league system is fully stocked, let’s hope that next season and beyond are more than exceptional. Even though the benefits or drawback of these trades may not be seen for quite awhile, it will be interesting to see how everything unfolds over the next two to three years. It is time to wait out this terrible season and hope for success in the future.