Trade Deadline Debate: Wonder over Yonder Alonso

MIAMI, FL - JULY 11: Yonder Alonso
MIAMI, FL - JULY 11: Yonder Alonso /

On Tuesday, Yonder Alonso went 2-2 with a stolen base as the A’s lone All-Star representative. One could argue for Alonso to be the MVP if Mariners 2B Robinson Canó didn’t hit a game winning home run in the top of the 10th inning. The first time All-Star’s outstanding performance certainly caught the eyes of general managers across the league. As the trade deadline approaches, Billy Beane and the front office must debate the benefits of keeping the 30 year old versus the advantages of dealing him to a contender before July 31st.

Keeping Yonder in Oakland

The first baseman has publicly voiced his opinion about staying in Oakland. Although the business side of baseball doesn’t take note of a player’s wishes, keeping a player happy correlates to increased team morale, one of many factors that lead to team success.

If the A’s trade Alonso, Ryon Healy would take over as the starting first baseman. He currently is the starting DH, a clear indicator to his defensive woes. So who takes over at DH? Maybe Khris Davis, another trade piece that a contender would love to have. Putting him at DH would lower his value a bit, but teams already know about his poor defense. The A’s could call up Renato Nunez, the home run leader in the minors, to take over in Left. He could also play third if Matt Chapman goes down. His three run homer in the Triple-A All-Star game shows major potential from the 17th ranked prospect, via MLB Pipeline. He also won the PCL MVP for the game.

Looking at our minor league system, only one player on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30, Matt Olson, plays first base. He’s only played 24 games in the majors, most of them in right field, which should prompt concerns if the 15th ranked prospect in the A’s system is ready to take over if Healy stays at DH. The only player to play first for the A’s this season is Mark Cahna, who has played just 82 games in the majors at the position. To say the least, the Athletics don’t have many options if they ship away Yonder Alonso.

Trading Alonso Out of Oakland

Alonso’s value is higher than it ever has been in his career. The A’s love capitalizing when a player is playing at his peak, bringing in as many high-level prospects as possible to bolster their farm system. Although there aren’t many teams in the playoff hunt with a glaring need at first base, albeit the Yankees, Alonso would provide an instant upgrade at the position for a plethora of teams.

Alonso only signed for one year this past offseason, meaning he will become an unrestricted free agent after the season. He probably would sign for a bit less to stay in Oakland, but the A’s don’t sign players long term. Ever. It may be best to ship him to a contender to gain as much as possible before losing him in the offseason

So What Happens?

If I ran the A’s, Alonso would be a veteran cornerstone of a team embracing it’s youth movement. But I don’t have any association to the front office. It’s very likely that Alonso will be playing for a team pushing for the playoffs this September, but that team won’t be playing its home games at Colosseum.