The American League is riddled with postseason contenders. The A’s are in a tight sprint for two available Wild Card spots with at least four other teams — the Tampa Bay Rays, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers.
But a quick pitstop looms: the trade deadline. And the A’s will surely be looking primarily at the starting pitching and bullpen options.
What’s to give up? Oakland has a bit of an infielder glut in their farm. Jorge Mateo and Franklin Barreto crowd a middle infield pipeline. There’s also some backup in the outfield, with Dustin Fowler and Nick Martini waiting behind a loaded outfield corps.
But who will the A’s be looking at to bolster their pitching staff? Here are some potential options.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants have a friendly face in Farhan Zaidi across the Bay Bridge, and for the first time in decades the A’s could engage in a trade with the Giants — who have a bevy of tradable assets on their pitching staff.
First, and foremost: Madison Bumgarner. A postseason legend not five seasons ago — his all-time 0.25 World Series ERA ranks first in baseball history — Bumgarner has established himself as the most dominant postseason pitcher in recent history.
Despite a not particularly dominant season — a 4.03 ERA in 111.2 innings with 112 strikeouts — Bumgarner’s postseason pedigree makes him the pitcher to get for a team looking to solidify itself as a legitimate postseason contender.
But, in a field heavy with contenders looking for starting pitching, Bumgarner will be a difficult get. For one, the asking price might be too much for a beloved player on a rival team on the downside of his career. Particularly since the Giants would seek a good return from a loaded team like the A’s, who likely would only be getting Bumgarner as a short-term rental.
The A’s might also look to the Giants’ bullpen for some relief. Will Smith is 23-for-23 in save opportunities this season and could make Oakland’s somewhat shaky bullpen into a potential juggernaut should injured pieces return to form. Sam Dyson has a 2.03 ERA and 39 strikeouts with a devastating sinker. Tony Watson could provide a much needed left-handed arm out of the ‘pen.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays could very well be on the sellers’ market with Marcus Stroman and Ken Giles as arms the A’s might want to look at.
Stroman will surely be at the top of most teams’ shopping list, and a difficult get: He has postseason experience, though the results were inconsistent. He has a 4.40 postseason ERA.
He was named an All-Star this year after posting a 3.18 ERA in the first half. But Stroman is 28, in his prime and under team control until 2020. That could up the asking price a little too high — the A’s, after all, have a loaded list of pitchers just a couple rehab assignments and years away from forming a downright scary rotation.
The A’s could also look at Giles, who’s toting a 1.35 ERA and …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Sports