A’s Only Make One Move at Deadline

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All signs pointed towards the Oakland Athletics having a fire sale at the trade deadline. Instead, the team only decided to make one major move. Frankie Montas is heading to the New York Yankees, where he’ll now be a key rotation piece on a team looking to do damage in October. It didn’t seem as though the A’s got quite as much as they could have in this deal.

Aside from Montas, Sean Murphy and Ramon Laureano were names that consistently came up as the deadline neared. The A’s were in talks with the Cleveland Guardians regarding Murphy, but nothing came of it. On top of this, Laureano was also somebody that the A’s could have gotten a lot of value from. The trade deadline is always important. Frequently a team’s fate hinges on what kind of moves they’re making this time of year. The A’s, just as every other team in the league, had big decisions to make.

Montas Deal

The big move this A’s team was able to make at the deadline was the one that sent Frankie Montas along with Lou Trivino to New York. In return, the A’s received Ken Waldichuk, Luis Medina, and a couple of other prospects. Waldichuk, 24, was the prize of this deal for the A’s. According to MLB.com’s prospect rankings, Waldichuk comes in at number 70. The left-handed starting pitcher was drafted in 2019 out of Saint Mary’s College and has spent his entire career in the Yankees organization. In AAA this year Waldichuk is 2-3, with a 3.59 ERA. Don’t be surprised if the 24-year-old gets a call to the big leagues this season to be a part of the A’s rotation.

Right-handed pitcher Luis Medina is another guy the A’s got in this trade. Medina, 23, was having a stellar year in AA prior to the deal. Medina throws heat. He was signed as a 16-year-old after throwing 100 MPH. In the minors, Medina has consistently put up great strikeout numbers. The problem is his walk totals. In 72 innings this year, Medina has 40 walks. The righty still has a high upside, but he may be forced into the bullpen if he is unable to fix his control issues.

Many around the A’s were hoping to acquire shortstop prospect, Oswald Peraza, from the Yankees. The shortstop is currently ranked number 36 in MLB.com’s prospect rankings. After the trade of Luis Castillo, many believed the A’s were going to get a lot in return for Montas. Peraza would have been the A’s long-term plan at shortstop. With Oakland having a difficult season, the goal becomes to acquire as many top prospects as possible. The A’s missed a major opportunity by failing to acquire Peraza in this deal.

Murphy Staying Put

The A’s second most valuable trade piece coming into the deadline was catcher Sean Murphy. Murphy is known for his bat along with his defensive talents behind the plate. He is hitting .242, with 25 doubles, and 12 home runs this year. The catcher had also begun to heat up as the deadline approached, making his trade value soar. Perhaps the biggest draw to Murphy as a trade prospect was his team control. Including this season, Murphy has four years of team control remaining. He would have been a huge asset for a team looking for a catcher over the next few seasons.

What makes this another missed opportunity for the A’s is that they already have someone to fill Murphy’s position. Shea Langeliers has had an outstanding season at AAA, and it’s time for him to get the call-up. Langeliers, 24, was acquired by the A’s via trade over the off-season. Also, Oakland has the talented catching prospect Tyler Soderstrom slowly making his way up the system. To make things even odder, the A’s drafted a catcher in the first round a couple of weeks ago. If the name of the game was to create a catcher monopoly, we might have a World Series parade in Oakland this year.

It seemed as though the timing was right to trade Murphy. Get prospects at positions other than catcher and give Langeliers some experience in the majors. That didn’t happen. On the bright side, the A’s will have team control of Murphy for the time coming.

No Deal for Laureano

The A’s reportedly had talks with the Milwaukee Brewers regarding a Ramon Laureano trade. Laureano, like Murphy, is under team control through the 2025 season. The outfielder has struggled this year after returning from his PED suspension. Laureano is hitting .224, with 15 doubles, and 11 homers so far, which is a significant offensive drop. It’s unknown exactly what the Brewers were willing to give up, or what the A’s were asking for in return. Does this mean the A’s see Laureano as part of their long-term plan? We don’t know, but we do know that Laureano will be roaming the outfield in Oakland for the remainder of the year.

What to Look For Now

The A’s won’t be competing for anything serious. It’s worth noting that the team got hot following the All-Star break, winning seven of eight at one point. The team has shown improvement, but it’s still a rebuilding year in Oakland. If Murphy had been dealt, Langelier’s may have been called up immediately. Instead, he’s going to have to wait a month for September call-ups. Waldichuk is also likely to see time on the big league roster this season. He’s going to start in Las Vegas, but he should be getting the call up around the time Langeliers does. Whenever the time comes for these two, it will be the arrival of a new era in Oakland.

Cristian Pache could also get the call up in September. Pache struggled mightily in the big leagues this year, which might lead to him staying put in AAA. In 21 games since being sent down, Pache is hitting .244 with two home runs.

The A’s may end up moving Murphy and Laureano in the offseason when there is much less pressure to get a deal done. They will still be young with plenty of team control. The A’s are in a position where they need to accumulate young talent. It would be smart for the team to deal their biggest assets now with the hope of creating a brighter future.

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Players Mentioned:

Frankie Montas, Sean Murphy, Ramon Laureano, Lou Trivino, Ken Waldichuk, Luis Medina, Oswald Peraza, Luis Castillo, Shea Langeliers, Tyler Soderstrom, Cristian Pache