In a shocking turn of events, MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell reported Thursday night that Bob Melvin has been hired as the new manager for the San Diego Padres. Given that his option had been picked up by the A’s for 2022, his name came out of nowhere in the Padres’ search.
Melvin had been a fixture in the A’s organization since taking over as manager in 2011. However, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale suggested that the move to allow Melvin to leave was for financial reasons as Oakland will receive no compensation for his departure.
In fact, Nightingale reported that there is a belief that the A’s will likely try to cut their overall payroll this year, leaving the $4 million that Melvin was making an easy area to slash costs.
If the A’s are going to try to cut payroll, it is possible that some pretty significant names could be moved. With that in mind, let’s take a look at four players that could be on the move from Oakland this upcoming offseason.
Of all of the possible trades the A’s could make, the most noteworthy would probably come in the form of All-Star first baseman Matt Olson.
This season, Olson was sensational hitting .271/.371/.540. He led the team in home runs (39), runs batted in (111), runs scored (101), and walks (88). According to baseball-reference, his WAR (wins above replacement) was a solid 5.8.
At just 27-years-old, Olson is still in the prime of his career. The problem, though, is he is about to get very expensive. The expectation is that his arbitration figure this year will be roughly $12 million (Matt Swartz of MLB Trade Rumors projects $11.8 million).
With one more year of arbitration before hitting free agency after the 2023 season, he will only get even more expensive next offseason.
While it makes it more difficult for Oakland knowing there are two more years of team control, that also makes him all the more valuable on the trade market. There would be no shortage of suitors if the A’s made him available, and they could easily bring in a massive haul for the first baseman.
Similar to Olson, Matt Chapman would be a tough sell for the A’s to move this offseason. A fan favorite, Chapman is known just as much for his glove on the hot corner as he is with his bat.
This season, Chapman committed just six errors in 446 chances over 150 games. His defensive runs saved above average was an impressive 10 at the hot corner (his career high is 28 in 2019).
Offensively, Chapman struggled a bit this season hitting just .210/.314/.403, but he also managed 27 home runs, 72 runs batted in, and 75 runs scored. He walked 80 times, but he struck out a concerning 202 times in 529 at bats.
Like Olson, Chapman has two years of control left on his contract. According to Swartz of MLB Trade Rumors, Chapman is projected to get approximately $9.8 million in arbitration this season.
All the same things apply here that applied to Olson. A lot of MLB teams would love to put Chapman at the hot corner and would pay a handsome price to do so.
On the pitching side, the A’s may look to move southpaw Sean Manaea. The lefty is in the final year of arbitration and is expected to make around $10 million this year (according to Swartz) before becoming a free agent after the 2022 season.
While Manaea has struggled to turn into the ace that many expected, he still had a solid season this year. In 32 starts, he went 11-10 with a 3.91 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and had 194 strikeouts in 179.1 innings.
Durability is a bit of a concern with Manaea as this was the only season he has ever exceeded 30 starts. In fact, in 2019 and 2020 combined, he had just 16 starts and 83.2 innings total.
However, after an injury-free season, teams would certainly have interest in the lefty on a one-year deal at a very modest cost. Especially with the starting pitching market being a bit thin and an extension unlikely, Manaea could be one of the likeliest to be moved.
Andrus was acquired in a deal last offseason with the Texas Rangers in exchange for slugger Khris Davis. As part of the deal, the Rangers are paying just a little over half of Andrus’ $14 million salary for next season.
Still, at $6.75 million, this is a player the A’s may look into moving, especially given that Andrus had a subpar year. In fact, he hit just .243/.294/.320 with three home runs, 37 runs batted in, 60 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 497 at bats.
After finishing the season with an ankle injury, the A’s turned to the likes of Pete Kozma and Josh Harrison in his absence, and they could likely find a replacement for Andrus’ production at a much cheaper cost.
The problem would be finding a taker for the 33-year-old Andrus, especially with a relatively robust free agent shortstop market. It is also worth noting that while his contract next season is manageable, in 2023, the final year of his deal, he is set to make $15 million.
He may be a player the A’s would love to find a taker for, but he may be the most difficult of the four to move.