The Oakland Athletics are at a crossroads in terms of their trade deadline plans, but they should consider trading these five players.
Entering Sunday, the Oakland Athletics are 41-37 and just one game back of the second Wild Card in the American League. Even with the Houston Astros reeling, as losers of seven in a row, they are 6.5 games clear of the Texas Ranger and seven games clear of the A’s. So if Oakland is going to make the playoffs, the Wild Card is likely it.
Frankie Montas has been an ace for Oakland this year, with a 9-2 record and the fifth-best ERA in the American League (2.70). But after another strong outing Thursday night, he was suspended for 80 games on Friday due to a positive test for a performance-enhancing substance. That means he’s out until there’s six games remaining in the regular season, and Montas won’t be able to pitch in the postseason if the A’s make it there.
With a lack of resources compared to most other teams, the A’s have to find and extract value wherever and however they can. That means making trade deadline decisions one direction or another, be it going all-in (see 2014 and trades to bring in Jon Lester and Jeff Samardzija) or shifting into selling mode.
The results of the next couple weeks stand to chart their course, but the A’s have to consider trading these five players.
5. RP Joakim Soria
Joakim Soria has a 5.05 ERA over 34 appearances so far this season (entering Sunday), but that number is deceiving. His FIP is 3.14, with K/9 (9.6) and BB/9 (2.5) rates which are solid. Over a run of six outings from May 28-June 10, including one appearance as an opener, he posted a 12.00 ERA as he allowed eight of the 20 earned runs, 10 of the 30 hits and all three of the home runs he has allowed this season over that span.
At 35 years old, Soria is a risk for physical breakdown, and he’s under contract for $8.5 million in 2020. But even as he has moved off closing games over the last handful of years, he has been plenty effective and available (70, 59 and 66 appearances over the last three full seasons). Regardless of the direction the A’s move in over the coming weeks, it seems likely more than a few teams will call about Soria.