MLBTR 2022-23 Offseason Chat: Oakland Athletics
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Steve Adams
9:37
Greetings Oakland fans! (And, I suppose, to fans of other teams hoping their club acquires Sean Murphy?) We'll get this underway in a couple hours at 2pm CT. Looking forward to it!

Feel free to start asking questions in advance, and be sure to circle back and participate live. In the meantime, you can check out  some details on our free weekday morning newsletter and on our Trade Rumors Front Office subscription, which includes ad-free viewing, regular subscriber-only chats and mailbags, exclusive columns (from Anthony and myself) and fantasy baseball advice (from Brad Johnson) in your email inbox, autograph giveaways, and more.

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A's Fan
1:54
In case you're wondering... I've been waiting WEEKS for this chat! Thanks for swinging back around.
Steve Adams
1:54
Let's get started a few minutes early!
1:55
Thanks for your patience on it. When we started trotting out the annual Outlook pieces, we hadn't yet planned on the accompanying chats. The A's were the first one published, and by the time we started doing chats in conjunction with Outlooks as they were posted, I was neck deep in our Top 50
1:56
Happy to circle back around on it now.
Also apologies to the Royals fan who asked about a chat earlier this week. I conflated them with the Rangers in my brain when I promised a chat would happen in a few days. Mark Polishuk ran a Royals chat a couple weeks back!
https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2022/11/mlbtr-offseason-chat-kansas-cit...
Onto the A's!
Dougald
1:57
After a healthy season, do you think A's will move Puk?
Steve Adams
1:58
I don't think there are too many players the A's just wouldn't listen on, so in that sense, sure I can see it.

That said, Puk isn't yet into arbitration -- he just missed Super Two status -- and has four more years of team control. Trade demand for bullpen help at the trade deadline is often greater than in the offseason... especially early, when there are still dozens of relievers available to sign.

I think this coming summer or next offseason are likelier, but if some team just loves Puk and wants to make a big offer, the A's aren't going to say he's off the table.
rayk1411
1:59
How much longer does Pache get to prove he can't hit major league pitching ?  Is it even good enough to allow him a reserve OF spot based on his excellent defense ?
Steve Adams
2:01
I don't know that the A's have any real choice but to give him a whole season and see if he can do anything with it. The glove is excellent, but there's no getting around a .166/.218/.241 slash. It's one of the worst offensive seasons I can remember seeing from someone with that kind of playing time, and his .248/.298/.389 in AAA wasn't much better.

Still, the A's know they're going to be terrible in 2023 anyway, and they can't send Pache to Las Vegas because he's out of minor league options. They kind of just have to run him out there for a full season and see if he can even just get to the point where he's simply a "below average but not atrocious" hitter.
2:03
If nothing else, he posted ALMOST passable numbers against lefties, so maybe there's a role for him as a fourth OF who can start against LHP, but it's pretty bleak right now. Not great for a prominent piece of the Olson return. They need to get it right with Langeliers
Oakland Trib
2:03
Is Nick Allen a real prospect or just another body filling a space in the roster?
Steve Adams
2:05
He's a bit like Pache at shortstop... the glove was always going to be awesome, it's always just been a matter of if he'll hit. (Well, Pache has some raw power and Allen has like none, so it's not a perfect comp)

Allen can play the hell out of shortstop and can probably settle in as a glove-first utility guy even if the bat never comes around. He's definitely a prospect in the sense that there's a real path to him having a real role on a big league team, but I'm not sure I believe in the bat enough to think he can be a regular.
2:06
Batted-ball metrics were awful in 2022, and he was terrible against pretty much every variety of offspeed/breaking pitch
Will
2:06
Does Laureano realistically have any trade value after last year?
Steve Adams
2:08
Absolutely, but it's "let's buy low on this guy and hope we can get him back to 2018-21 form" value. I don't think the A's should move him this winter, because his 2022 season was just a disaster. Holding onto him runs the risk of him continuing his 2022 performance and/or getting hurt, at which point he really might not have value. However, with two good months that look close to his prior form, people are going to be willing to overlook most of 2022, and then you're marketing two-plus seasons of an above-average corner outfielder who can at least fake it in center for you
David Forst
2:09
tommy pham a name A’s could be in on?
Steve Adams
2:10
I don't see why not. Their outfield is a mess, he's likely to sign a one-year deal and won't break the bank. I think they should target higher-upside players -- or at least younger ones -- as they'll be more in demand come the trade deadline, but Pham to Oakland is a perfectly plausible scenario.
Tim
2:10
money, right? Right?! They are back into revenue sharing and need to spend that on baseball. With less than $40M in commitments, am I crazy for thinking they could do a thing or two in free agency?
Steve Adams
2:12
They'd better do something with it unless they want another MLBPA grievance and want to again lose their access to revenue-sharing funds (which were just reinstated in the last CBA).

That said, I don't think that means we're going to see them splashing around and jumping the payroll from its current projection of $34MMish (woof) to something like $80MM.

I imagine they'll be in on a lot of one-year guys and maybe be the team that'll provide a soft landing for a higher-profile free agent whose market doesn't materialize. It didn't work the last time they tried it (Trevor Rosenthal), but that signing still shows a willingness to do so.

I don't expect any multi-year deals of real note. 2/12 on a reliever or something? Sure. But 3-4 years at even mid-range AAVs seems unlikely.
David
2:13
What will the A's do with Blackburn as he had a good season also why hasn't he had much interest in him
Steve Adams
2:14
Get him healthy and plug him into the 2023 rotation. It's not like his $1.9MM projected salary is any kind of burden, even for this team, and trading him when he's recovering from surgery isn't going to bring a return of much note.
jared
2:15
A’s gonna move off Murphy?
Steve Adams
2:16
Value is probably at its peak right now, Langeliers is close to MLB-ready, and even if they think he needs a bit more development, they could trade Murphy, sign an Austin Hedges type for a few million bucks, and just go glove-first behind the plate until they want to give Shea a look and move Hedges/[backup du jour] into a reserve role.
2:17
Boiled down more succinctly: Yes, I think they'll trade him this winter.
Jailbird
2:17
The A’s should lock up Murphy not trade him, what’s an extension look like?
Steve Adams
2:19
The A's haven't signed a pre-arbitration player to an extension in almost a decade -- since Sean Doolittle. I suppose Murphy is technically an arbitration player now, but the point stands. They extended Khris Davis, got immediately bitten by it, and otherwise have made no real efforts to extend their core players in the past ten years.

I don't consider a Murphy extension plausible unless it's with a new team.
2:20
That said, we can look at a possible extension under that guise, sure!
I won't call them direct comps, but for the sake of quick-and-dirty comparisons, let's look at JT Realmuto's arb years.
2:21
The two are somewhat comparable, statistically speaking (at least through three years of service). Realmuto got $2.9MM for his Arb1 season and $18.8MM for his three arb years combined.
2:22
Murphy is projected to start at $3.5MM in Arb1. Add in the bigger starting number and some inflation, and you can probably say Murphy has a shot at clearing $20MM in his arb seasons. Let's call it $21MM.
2:25
From there, free-agent valuations for catchers have ranged pretty substantially in recent years. Realmuto set the standard at $23.1MM, but then you've had Grandal in the $18MM range and solid but not necessarily high-end guys (e.g. Travid d'Arnaud)  at $8MM. Granted, TDA is older.

If you put down $21MM for the arb years and, something close to Grandal's 18 per FA season, Murphy comes in somewhere around 5/57 or 6/75.
2:26
That'd be a sizable record for a catcher with his service time, but we haven't seen a three-plus catcher sign an extension in quite some time -- Christian Vazquez did in 2018, but that was before he'd really hit. Same with Barnhart in 2017.
Brent
2:26
Do Sears and Waldichuck both have a shot at making the starting rotation?
Steve Adams
2:28
Yeah they'll both get looks in 2023. Waldichuk, in particular, is intriguing to me, but Sears is the kin of potential fourth/fifth SP whose value plays up in Oakland's cavernous home park. The A's have a habit of acquiring guys like that and doing well with them. Look at Cole Irvin.
Old Timer
2:29
Kevin Smith; yet another A's trade acquisition bust?
Steve Adams
2:30
I wouldn't say so after one year and 150 PAs in the Majors, but you'd certainly liked to have seen more production from him in AAA. It was a pretty pedestrian batting line with an alarming 30% strikeout clip, and he's not super young... 27 next July. I wouldn't write him off entirely or anything, but it was a pretty bad first year with the A's.
A's Fan
2:30
Dominic Smith at 1B?
Steve Adams
2:33
Heck yeah -- do it. I'm more of a Smith believer than some of my MLBTR colleagues. I don't think he's ever going to be the 150 wRC+ guy he was in 2019-20 (when he probably had some help in the power department from the juiced ball), but I also think he's just way better than he's been the past two seasons.

I don't think enough focus is put on him playing through a small tear in his labrum (can't remember which shoulder off hand, but doesn't matter -- ouch) in 2021. And his 2022 season was brutal, but it's a lot to be on a win-now team with like 3-4 alternatives to you at your position, knowing you're fighting for your roster spot every time you're in the box.

Would be curious to see how a healthy Dom fares in a lower-pressure setting where they just say "Hey, you're our first baseman this season."
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