A’s Make First Move of the Summer

A's make

The Oakland Athletics decided to deal Christian Bethancourt to the Tampa Bay Rays for a couple of prospects, outfielder Cal Stevenson and starting pitcher (SP) Christian Fernandez. It’s the first trade the A’s have made this summer. Sitting at the bottom of the MLB with a 29-58 record, it likely won’t be the last trade the A’s make before the trade deadline. SP Frankie Montas is likely to be dealt soon. Ramon Laureano is another guy we hear rumors about. This is the time of year when rosters get shaken up. Bethancourt has been a veteran presence in the A’s clubhouse. He was hitting .249, with 11 doubles and 4 home runs. Bethancourt’s stint with the A’s has been his first big league action since 2017 with the San Diego Padres. His play was good enough for the A’s to use him as deadline bait.

The Return

One of the players the A’s got in return was outfielder Cal Stevenson. After being drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays, Stevenson joining the A’s system will mark the fourth affiliate he’s played for. The 25-year-old outfielder has spent the whole year in AAA Durham. He was batting .265 with 2 home runs through 57 games. Stephenson is far up in the system, so expect the A’s to give him the big league call either this year or the next. Stephenson’s numbers and age don’t jump out as “the next big thing,” but he could surely make an impact at the big-league level.

The other player the A’s acquired in this trade was Christian Fernandez. Fernandez, unlike Stevenson, has spent his whole professional career with the Rays. Fernandez now 22, was signed as a youngster, making his professional debut with the Rays in 2016. The right-hander has gone through the minor leagues slowly to this point. However, he’s having the most promising season of his career in A ball this year. He’s compiled a 5-2 record, to go with a 2.79 ERA. He started the year in the pen before moving to the rotation. Fernandez is set to report to High-A ball with the A’s, moving a step ahead of where he was at with Tampa.

What to Expect

This move was made so that the Rays could get someone to help them win now, while the A’s could try their luck with a couple of young prospects. You never know what prospects will turn into. This is why these moves are appealing to struggling teams around the time of the deadline. Neither of the guys the A’s acquired is expected to make a significant impact at the big league level, but you never know. We do know that there was no point in holding on to a guy like Bethancourt. The 30-year-old never seemed to be a part of the A’s long terms plans. Luckily for the A’s, he was putting up a solid season. Because of this, he held more value, allowing the A’s to make this trade.

Stephenson is much closer than Fernandez, in terms of reaching the majors. A big draw with Stevenson was his ability to get on base. Through his 4 year career in the minors, he held a .407 OBP. It remains to be seen when his time will come in Oakland, but he is definitely a guy that will have to be considered for the big league roster at some point.

The big draw with Fernandez was his effectiveness. The righty has done a great job in the pen and in the rotation this season. The A’s decided to option him to High-A, so Fernandez will be set to face his next challenge. The minor leagues are a grueling process. When guys take that step to the next level it can fall apart quickly. We will see how Fernandez does in his new uniform in Lansing.

Main Photo:

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Players Mentioned:

Christian Bethancourt, Cal Stevenson, Christian Fernandez, Frankie Montas, Ramon Laureano