After the sudden and unexpected departure of manager Bob Melvin for San Diego, it’s extremely clear the Oakland A’s are about to enter a cost-cutting offseason of mammoth proportions. Terrible for Major League Baseball and Oakland fans. A coup for the New York Yankees.
So, who should they go after first? Unfortunately, the answer is Melvin, who escaped to the Padres before fans of the game knew he was even on the market. Something unforeseen like that seismic shift is why you don’t commit to Aaron Boone before you have to. But we digress…
There are plenty of players with rising arbitration costs attached to them in their final few years of team control who you have to suspect will be on the move in the near future. After all, what else could’ve spurred this franchise’s beloved manager to take a new job other than legendary cheapness and a signal of white flag waving from the front office?
Not so ridiculous to speculate about Matt Olson trades for pennies on the dollar anymore, now is it? Pennies in return might be optimistic at this point. It might not even take legal tender to nab some of these AL West stars.
So, who should we turn our attention to? Oakland was an AL Wild Card leader for most of 2021, and clearly assembled a quality roster featuring some stars ripe for the plucking.
They can help provide any contender in need with slugging, infield defense, and high-upside (and high-floor) pitching depth. If only Starling Marte were still under contract for another year too, right?
As the Yankees offseason hits its stride, we plan to focus on these three Athletics above all others — though nothing will be tied down when the transactions begin.
The Yankees should trade for these 3 Oakland stars after the A’s decided to lose.
3. Sean Manaea, LHP
No, Baby Giraffe never developed into an ace on a top-tier team, but he’s certainly a No. 3 who looks like a fringe No. 2 every few weeks. Any rotation can use that — especially a rotation helmed by changeup enthusiast Matt Blake, who now ranks among the best in the game at emphasizing the underused and effective parts of every pitcher’s arsenal.
Entering his final year of team control/arbitration, Sean Manaea should also be at his all-time cheapest, meaning it shouldn’t take more than … a top-20 prospect and a teenage lottery ticket to swing this trade? The A’s will be in full-on Cubs Mode, looking to rebuild from the bottom up. They’ll be looking for upside over certainty.
The Yankees are, uh, on the opposite end of the spectrum, and should be pretty confident in exactly what they’d be getting if Manaea fell into their laps.
The lefty just completed his first fully healthy season since 2018, which won’t exactly work wonders for his trade value, either. He also seemed to finally ratchet up the strikeout numbers to the level we always knew he could reach; 194 in 179.1 innings pitched, following a lowly 108 whiffs in 160.2 back in 2018 (though he did no-hit the eventual World Champion Boston Red Sox that year).
Manaea isn’t quite the electric ace some thought he’d become when he was dealt from the Royals to the A’s midway through Kansas City’s title-winning season of 2015. He is a very valuable arm, though, in terms of both eating innings and occasionally taking over a game. There’s no way Oakland’s keeping him past the deadline, and odds are they have no pretense of competing prior to that, either.