Athletics

A's trade former 2B prospect Joey Wendle, who never got a chance to blossom

A's trade former 2B prospect Joey Wendle, who never got a chance to blossom

The A’s swung a trade on the first day of the Winter Meetings, but it wasn’t the type of swap that’s been anticipated.

Oakland dealt second baseman Joey Wendle to the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday for a player to be named later or cash considerations. The storyline for the rest of the week is whether the A’s complete a deal for their biggest target— a right-handed hitting corner outfielder.

They weren’t involved in heavy dialogue Monday as the four-day Winter Meetings opened at the Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Fla. But they’re on the lookout for an outfielder that will allow them to shift Khris Davis from left field to designated hitter.

Billy Beane, the A’s head of baseball operations, reiterated to reporters that the team ideally wants to acquire an outfielder who’s under team control for multiple years. The Cardinals’ Stephen Piscotty fits that bill and is known to be a primary target, but the A’s have been linked to others too, including Miami’s Marcell Ozuna.

If a trade doesn’t pan out, Beane didn’t rule out the possibility of signing a free agent outfielder, but the focus is trading for one who’s signed to an affordable contract. Beyond that, the A’s seek a left-handed reliever to continue fortifying a bullpen they’ve already added to this offseason.

“We were pretty specific with who and what we want, whether it be a free agent or a trade,” Beane said of the team’s approach to the meetings. “There’s a few free agents we have interest in, a trade here and there. And if we don’t get them, we’ll just wait for the offseason” to continue.

Wendle, who saw slices of big league time in 2016 and 2017, was originally acquired from Cleveland for Brandon Moss during the 2014 Winter Meetings. He drew some comparisons to Mark Ellis for both his style of play and work ethic but found himself blocked at second base despite an impressive big league debut in September 2016.

He hit .260 that month in 28 games, and though that average doesn’t stand out, he impressed defensively and proved to be a spark plug hitting leadoff, drawing praise from manager Bob Melvin. But a shoulder injury cost the 27-year-old Wendle valuable time in spring training last season and extended into the regular season. It didn’t help his cause that Chad Pinder emerged as a second base option and valuable utility man, and that Franklin Barreto — the A’s top-rated prospect — also arrived on the big league scene for stretches.

In addition, the A’s think highly of another up-and-coming second base prospect, Max Schrock. Acquired from Washington for reliever Marc Rzepczynski in August 2016, the 23-year-old Schrock opened the eyes of Melvin’s staff last spring and hit .321 for Double-A Midland in 2017.

Jed Lowrie, of course, is the A’s veteran incumbent at second base but is a logical trade candidate at any point given Barreto’s inevitable full-time arrival in the majors.

A's sign free-agent outfielder Robbie Grossman to one-year contract

A's sign free-agent outfielder Robbie Grossman to one-year contract

Spring training is here and the A's are adding to their depth in the outfield. 

The A's have officially signed outfielder Robbie Grossman, the team announced on Friday. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic was first to report the news on Wednesday.

Grossman, 29, hit .273 with a .751 OPS last season for the Twins. He was also worth 1.5 bWAR. 

[RELATED: Brett Anderson re-signs with A's on one-year contract]

The switch-hitter also brings versatility on defense. Grossman has experience at all three outfield positions. In 2018, he played 52 games in right field, 34 in left field and served as the DH 36 times. 

A's should target a pair of pitchers as Marlins' fire sale continues

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USATSI

A's should target a pair of pitchers as Marlins' fire sale continues

At the rate they're going, the Marlins might not be able to field a team on Opening Day.

Last week, Miami traded talented young catcher J.T. Realmuto to the Phillies, continuing their seemingly never-ending fire sale. As ESPN's Sam Miller pointed out, the Marlins have now traded 23 of their top 25 players in franchise history, based on WAR.

With Miami clearly tanking this year, there might be an opportunity for the A's to add some talent before the season starts. CBS Sports' R.J. Anderson listed nine players who could soon be shipped off by the Marlins. We've selected two the A's should target:

José Ureña - SP

José Ureña would have a chance to be the A's number one or two starter. The 27-year-old right-hander is coming off a solid 2018 season with the Marlins, going 9-12 with a 3.98 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 174 innings.

Ureña was even better in 2017, finishing 14-7 with a 3.82 ERA. He has always had great stuff but has struggled a bit with his command. Getting out of Miami would probably serve him well, and what better place to pitch than the Oakland Coliseum?

Ureña will earn just $3.2 million this season and is under team arbitration control through 2021, making him even more attractive to a team like the A's. With Oakland's wealth of outfielders and prospects, a trade for Ureña wouldn't be unrealistic.

[RELATED: A's manager Melvin praises Luzardo's wicked breaking ball]

Dan Straily - SP

Dan Straily is another starter who could help solidify the A's rotation. The veteran right-hander began his career in Oakland, spending three seasons with the A's from 2012-14.

Last year, Straily went 5-6 with a 4.12 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 122 1/3 innings. The 30-year-old has a career ERA of 4.23 in seven Major League seasons.

Straily is scheduled to make $5 million this season and has one more year of arbitration control. He could potentially slot in as the A's number three or four starter and likely wouldn't cost a whole lot to acquire.