After pulling off a blockbuster deal that sent All-Star third basemen Josh Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays for Brett Lawrie and three other prospects, the Oakland Athletics have hopped right back into trade rumors, talking with the Atlanta Braves about outfielder Justin Upton and catcher Evan Gattis. The news was first reported by John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group.
— John Hickey (@JHickey3) November 29, 2014
There is no information about how serious the talks have gone so far.
After dealing Yoenis Cespedes to the Red Sox for Jon Lester at the trade deadline, the Athletics have lacked offense and right-handed power. The addition of Upton and Gattis would easily kick-start a questionable offense which is now led by Derek Norris and Brandon Moss.
Upton had a spectacular season for the Braves in 14′. In 566 at bats, the 2014 Silver Slugger award winner hit for a .270 average with 29 homers and 102 RBI. The addition of Upton would add power to a questionable Oakland lineup that lacked it in the second half of the 2014 season.
Evan Gattis is another player who would add power to Oakland’s lineup. In 2014, the second-year catcher hit for a .263 average with 22 homers and 52 RBI in 369 at bats. Gattis could see playing time at catcher, first, left field and DH for Oakland.
In return, Atlanta could receive pitcher Jeff Samardzija. Oakland acquired Samardzija with Jason Hammel from the Chicago Cubs at the trade deadline for prospects Addison Russell, Billy McKinney, Dan Straily. Samardzija, a All-Star in 2014 finished the year with a 7-13 record with a 2.99 ERA.
With the recent dealings of Tommy La Stella and Jason Heyward, the Braves have shown the baseball world that they are indeed in the rebuilding process. That is where this potential deal does not make any sense. Samardzija becomes a free agent in 2016 and looks unlikely to sign a long-term deal right off the bat. If the Braves wanted to continue with their trend of acquiring young, team-controlled pitchers, they should look past Oakland and start targeting teams like the Mariners who have a young star in Taijuan Walker.
The coming days will tell if the Athletics and Braves can work out a deal, if we learned anything from tonight, It’s that Billy Beane will do anything to help his ball club win.