Oakland A's

Cubs trade Tony Kemp to Oakland for prospect


Cubs trade Tony Kemp to Oakland for prospect

Tony Kemp’s tenure with the Cubs wasn’t very memorable or long. Now, the utility player is on his way to Oakland.

The Cubs acquired Kemp from Houston last trade deadline in a deal for catcher Martin Maldonado (who was acquired two weeks earlier as an emergency catcher). Now, Kemp is on the move again with minor leaguer Alfonso Rivas coming back in return.

Kemp, 28, had 93 plate appearances in 44 games with the Cubs last season. He hit .183 with a .563 OPS. Most of Kemp’s value comes from his versatility. He played all three outfield spots and second base in his time with the Cubs.

Kemp hit much better in his four seasons with the Astros, but is still far from an offensive standout. Kemp is a career .233 hitter with a .314 on-base percentage.

Rivas is 23 and was drafted in the fourth round in 2018 out of the University of Arizona. He is ranked as the No. 26 prospect in the A's organization by MLB Pipeline. Interestingly, his scouting report on Pipeline makes a Mark Grace comparison (sweet-swinging left-handed first baseman with below average power for the position).

He started 2019 with Class A Advanced Stockton in the California League and was named to that league's all-star game. He hit .283/.383/.408 in 509 plate appearances. He played primarily at first base, but did get some time in the outfield as well.

Rivas closed the season with an eight-game stint in Triple-A Las Vegas and hammered the ball. He hit .406/.441/.625 in 34 plate appearances. After the season, Rivas took part in the Arizona Fall League where he hit .306/.417/.449 in 60 plate appearances.

Rivas is far from a big-time prospect, but does have some value. He will be in the high minors in 2020, but isn't going to unseat Anthony Rizzo any time soon at first base.

It's worth noting that Dan Kantrovitz, newly hired as Cubs' scouting director this offseason, was in Oakland's front office when the A's drafted Rivas. He should be familiar with Rivas' skill set and upside.

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Cubs make minor trade, acquire pitcher Jharel Cotton from A’s


Cubs make minor trade, acquire pitcher Jharel Cotton from A’s

The Cubs made a minor trade on Saturday, acquiring right-hander Jharel Cotton from the Oakland A’s for cash. Oakland designated him for assignment on Wednesday.

Cotton is a reclamation project, as he missed all of 2018 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in spring training. He returned this July, making 18 appearances (three starts) between Single-A and Triple-A for the A’s. In 27 2/3 innings, he posted a 7.16 ERA, striking out 33 batters while walking 12.

In his final six outings (one start; all with Triple-A), the 27-year-old posted a 3.24 ERA in 8 1/3 innings, striking out eight compared to four walks 

Cotton has 29 career big league appearances — all starts — 24 of which came in 2017. He relies on five pitches: a low-to-mid-90s four-seamer, an upper-80s slider, an upper-70s changeup, a low-90s sinker and an upper-70s curveball. He throws the former three most often.

The Cubs have made several low-risk, high-reward trades over the past year or so. Last November, they acquired reliever Rowan Wick from the Padres in a move that generated little headlines. But after working with the Cubs “pitch lab,” Wick ascended from an unknown Triple-A pitcher to one of the Cubs’ most-trusted relievers by season’s end.

Wick’s former roommate with the Padres, Brad Wieck, joined the Cubs in a 2019 trade deadline deal that sent Carl Edwards Jr. to San Diego. The focus was all on Edwards initially, but Wieck — like Wick — became a central figure in the Cubs’ bullpen down the stretch. He also worked with the pitch lab.

Acquiring Cotton is another low-risk, high-reward move. Not every player the Cubs obtain in low-key deals will be as successful as the Wi(e)cks. But if the move pans out, Cotton will offer the Cubs rotation depth, or possibly bullpen help, both of which they'll need to address this winter.

The Cubs 40-man roster now stands at 37 players.

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Some crazy stats from the White Sox-Athletics 14-inning game


Some crazy stats from the White Sox-Athletics 14-inning game

Wednesday's White Sox-A's game lasted five hours and 48 minutes. 

It went 14 innings and the White Sox lost by a 12-11 final score in Oakland.

A lot happened, and some of what happened seems like forever ago.

Remember how Carson Fulmer started the game? Or that Yoan Moncada hit a grand slam in the second inning? How about when the White Sox had an early five-run lead?

Like we said, a lot happened.

The South Siders didn't come out on top, but there were some wild stats our NBC Sports Chicago stats guru Chris Kamka compiled.

The good news? The White Sox have a day off on Thursday.