The Athletics have traded former top pitching prospect A.J. Puk to the Miami Marlins for former No. 4 overall draft pick JJ Bleday, the teams announced Saturday.
Once upon a time, the A's envisioned Puk and fellow left-handed pitcher Jesus Luzardo as the future 1-2 punch atop their rotation, and now, both have been dealt to the Marlins in the last two years.
Puk, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, was expected to compete for a starting rotation spot with the A's this spring and expressed his desire to do so to manager Mark Kotsay during the offseason.
Kotsay spoke to NBC Sports California's Brodie Brazil in December and noted that he believed Puk was prepared physically and mentally to spend an entire MLB season in the rotation.
But the A's have a number of candidates for their Opening Day rotation, including Paul Blackburn, James Kaprielian, JP Sears, Ken Waldichuk, Daulton Jefferies, Adam Oller and Shintaro Fujinami, so they were trading from a position of depth.
Now Puk will try to make the Marlins' rotation.
Puk was drafted as a starter but arm injuries relegated him to a reliever role, and after a rocky 2021 season, he started to excel out of the bullpen in 2022. In 66 1/3 innings over 62 games, he struck out 76 batters and had a 3.12 ERA.
From 2017 through 2021, Puk was either the No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 prospect in the A's farm system, per MLB Pipeline.
Bleday, a 25-year-old outfielder, hit .167/277/.309 with five homers and 16 RBI in 65 games for the Marlins last season.
Just as highly touted as Puk, Bleday was the Marlins' No. 2 overall prospect in 2020 and 2021, per MLB Pipeline. But given a chance at the MLB level last season, he struggled at the plate.
RELATED: Vogt encouraged by A's offseason moves
The A's are hoping a change of scenery will help Bleday reach his potential.
Puk and Luzardo were roommates in the minor leagues while with the A's and now they will attempt to pitch in the Marlins' rotation together.