With about nine days to go before the trade deadline, the Oakland Athletics are looking to contend again for a playoff run for the fourth straight year. That said, let’s check out the latest and greatest of MLB trade talks!
With a 55-42 record thus far, the A’s are sitting in second place in the American League West, and are holding a three-lead over division rivals, Seattle Mariners, for the second Wildcard spot.
Oakland Athletics MLB Trade Talks
There is still a lot of baseball to be played with the Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays, and the New York Yankees just behind them. As a small-market team, the organization has been known for trading for rentals in an effort to aid them in their relentless playoff push to one day win a championship. Small market teams do go for it, as we saw the Kansas City Royals win it all.
Here are two players the organization should target with the deadline approaching.
PLAYER NUMBER ONE- NELSON CRUZ
With A’s being buyers at the deadline, the team will most likely target impactable players who are going to be rentals. The team could use a bat as the team is struggling to get the bats going as the team as a whole bats .233, which is good for 22nd in the league. A player who could DH and occasionally plays the corner outfield spots should be their main target.
If the price for Joey Gallo is too high, one other player that comes to mind is Nelson Cruz who, just like fine wine, gets better with age. Cruz just made his seventh All-Star appearance of his career, and could provide the offense with a much needed bat that gives the opposing pitchers another power hitter to worry about.
Cruz is also great at making contact for base hits 86 hits in 292 plate appearances this season. This year: .299/.375/.545, 19 HR, 145 wRC+, 10.1% BB, 17.6% Ks, ,384 xwOBA.
The A’s may be able to cover the $4.5 million remaining on his contract or add another player to the deal as the team does need help in the weakened bullpen. The Minnesota Twins may help the A’s cover some of the remaining money in the contracts for better prospects who could help the Twins now as they won’t be able to defend their AL Central Division Title.
— Oakland A’s (@Athletics) July 21, 2021
Cruz would easily be an upgrade over Mitch Moreland who is batting .238 with just seven home runs. This possible trade would be a full circle for Cruz as he was an AA prospect for the Athletics before being dealt to the Milwaukee Brewers for Keith Ginter in December 2004.
PLAYER NUMBER TWO- DAN WINKLER
There are reports that the A’s will not be pursuing shortstop Trevor Story of the Colorado Rockies as he is owed $6.1 million for the remainder of the season. Obviously things could change, but could use an arm or two in the pen to back up the relatively strong starting rotation.
The Chicago Cubs and the Oakland Athletics could be a perfect match as the Cubs are getting ready to unload the ship as none of their main free-agents-to-be stars signed an extension to remain on the team long-term.
Sorry, A’s fans it likely won’t be Craig Kimbrel, but RP Dan Winkler who could be a good arm in the pen for the sixth and maybe seventh inning. He is a ground ball specialist and could help the team get out of a tough situation with runners on base with one double play.
Winkler has a 1-2 record, 2.76 ERA, 1,29 WHIP, 35 K’s, 20 BB, 32.2 IP, 37 appearances. He has also given up only three home runs this season, and with the stadium being a pitcher’s park, he would fit perfectly in the bullpen. The contract would not be a burden, and the team would not have to give up a whole lot.
It will be interesting to see the Athletics as they look to catch the Houston Astros or hold down a Wildcard spot for the playoffs.