After acquiring both Billy Butler and Ike Davis earlier this offseason, there is talk out of Oakland that the Athletics may trade one of their large number of left-handed bats at some point soon (via SF Gate).
Oakland dealt its best right-handed bat Yoenis Cespedes to the Boston Red Sox back in July. And with all due respect to Jonny Gomes that left a huge void in the lineup from that side of the plate. General manager Billy Beane is obviously out to rectify this during the offseason.
Three names have been mentioned as possible trade bait.
Josh Reddick, Outfielder
Reddick is a Gold Glove outfielder with above-average ability at the plate. He hit .264 with 12 homers and 54 RBI this past season. The former Boston Red Sox top prospect also saw his strikeout rate drop from 22.3 to 17.3 from 2013. Reddick could interest teams looking for a platoon player and late-inning bat against righties. Reddick tallied a .280/.319/.519 split against righties in 2014.
Brandon Moss, First Base/Outfield/Designated Hitter
Moss struggled big time after the A’s traded Cespedes away in late July, hitting just .173 with four homers after his first All-Star appearance. He did, however, hit two big homers against the Kansas City Royals in the Wild Card game and has smacked 20-plus homers in three consecutive seasons. While there is concern about Moss’ ability to have sustained success, it’s important to note that he can be an every-day player (.264 against lefties last season). And to be honest, this type of power will draw a ton of interest on the open market.
John Jaso, Catcher/Designated Hitter
A true wild card here, Jaso is a rare catcher that hits from the left side of the plate. And prior to missing the final month-plus of the regular season, he was having a darn good season. Purely a platoon player, Jaso hit .272 against right-handed pitchers. He also combined for a .391 on-base percentage in 2012 and 2013 before seeing that dip to .337 in 2014. Jaso’s ability to hit from an optimum position and play good defense makes him valuable to any team in the Majors.
Potential Trade Partners
Toronto Blue Jays: After trading Adam Lind and potentially losing Colby Rasmus in free agency, the Blue Jays are definitely in the market for a left-handed bat. And any of these three players would be a good fit for the team. As it relates to compensation, the A’s could look to add lefty reliever Brett Cecil to the mix. The team could also look at young talent to either replenish a weak farm system or flip for a better fit on the big-league roster.
Los Angeles Dodgers: This is another potential fit, especially for Jaso. The Dodgers current backstop, A.J. Ellis, leaves a lot to be desired at the plate. He hit just .191 in 93 games this past season. Backup Drew Butera also put up a .188 clip in 61 games. The Dodgers would likely have to part with a solid young prospect in exchange for Jaso.
Atlanta Braves: With all the talk surrounding Atlanta trading either one or both of the Upton brothers and putting Evan Gattis on the market, there is a potential that it could pull off a trade for both Reddick and Jaso here. And while that’s pure speculation on my part, it could make sense for both sides. Mike Minor could be a target for the A’s in a potential deal here.
Photo: NY Daily News