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A’s and Peavy

July 30, 2013

There are conflicting reports regarding Jake Peavy and his being sent in a trade to the A’s. It was rumored that the A’s had been asked for both Addison Russell and Sonny Gray. Others report that the inclusion of Russell alone would be a complete non-starter for Billy Beane and Oakland. Russell who has spent this year in the California League with the Stockton Ports presently is hitting .268/.347/.483 with a .361 wOBA and 117 wRC+ in 369 plate appearances which include nine home runs. He hasn’t walked as much as might be hoped (9.8%) and has struck out more than one would want (25.2%) but has featured some pop with a strong .215 ISO and a bit of speed to go with it with 12 stolen bases in 15 attempts (80% success rate). Gray may not be by himself a non-starter like Russell in the minds of the A’s brass but for what it is worth he made his MLB debut with Oakland this year and in four innings allowed two hits and a walk while striking out six good for a 0.00 ERA and 0.79 FIP in two relief outings. Of course he has spent the majority of his 2013 with the River Cats and there he has made 19 starts with a 3.38 ERA and even stronger 2.72 FIP backed by 9.2 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and 0.4 HR/9 meaning the .336 BABIP is not coming back to bite him as much as it could.

While the rumors now suggest Oakland has moved on from Peavy – it is unclear who they may have moved on to as Cliff Lee seems wholly unreasonable for Oakland to take on and the remaining starters seem to be of far lesser quality (Ervin Santana, Ian Kennedy?) – just a few hours earlier Oakland was still considered the most likely landing spot. Furthermore, Peavy whose other suitors could include the Red Sox, Orioles, Braves or Cardinals has been scratched from tonight’s scheduled start in Cleveland in anticipation of a move – he also cleared out his locker in Chicago on Sunday. If the A’s were to deal for Peavy it seems likely that a package that began with Michael Choice and Gray would be what we are looking at. It seems clear Russell is off limits and the A’s have a degree of outfield depth and have pitching depth as well.

As I said before, the addition of a frontline starter like Peavy would be interesting but is it really the best place to upgrade? The A’s rank 23rd in their production out of second base totalling an abysmal 0.1 WAR as Oakland second baseman have hit to a .226/.293/.334 clip. The A’s starting pitching has been middle of the pack with 7.1 WAR ranking them 17th in MLB so while an increase could be significant, there seems to be more bang for the buck with a second base upgrade. Of course the marketplace is not so simple and just because Oakland needs a second baseman it doesn’t mean there is a second baseman out there which may be helping to push Oakland in the direction of starting pitching. I still don’t think the book is closed on Peavy whose price will surely come down as teams balk at taking on all his salary which is roughly $19.5M for the balance of this season and all of next along with shipping two of their best prospects to the South Side.

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