Spring training might be less than a week away, but the hot stove is still sizzling. The Oakland Athletics have announced that they have acquired left fielder Khris Davis from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for catching prospect Jacob Nottingham and minor league right-hander Bubba Derby. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle first reported that the two sides were close to a deal.
For the Brewers, trading Davis is the latest in a series of moves that represents a full rebuild for the club after finishing fourth in the NL Central with an underwhelming record of 68-94. For the A’s, the trade brings back a cost-controlled player who is not even arbitration eligible until next offseason. Davis brings prodigious power to the Bay Area.
The young outfielder slugged a career-high 27 home runs last season to go along with a .247/.323/.505 slash line with an .828 OPS. He immediately becomes one of the Athletics’ biggest home run threats though it will be interesting to see if his power numbers become suppressed by hitting in the pitcher-friendly Oakland Coliseum. Davis is expected to become the starting left fielder for the Athletics and should help to form an overall solid outfield with Billy Burns patrolling center and veteran Josh Reddick manning right field.
In return, the Brewers are receiving one of the top catching prospects in the game. Nottingham was ranked eighth on the top-10 catching prospects list by MLB.com heading into 2016. He was one of the main pieces the Athletics received when they flipped lefty Scott Kazmir to the Houston Astros before the trade deadline. He joins his third club in less than a full year. Nottingham is said to possess great power with his ability to drive balls and has reportedly improved his plate discipline as well.
Defensively, he has the arm strength to stick as a catcher, but still needs to work on his receiving skills. He has also seen time at first base as well so he has a ton of versatility as a prospect. Nottingham reached High-A last year and hit .316/.372/.505 between the Astros and Athletics systems. He automatically becomes the top catching prospect in a rapidly-improving Milwaukee farm system. With the acquisition of Nottingham, the prospect of trading Jonathan Lucroy is becoming greater as the Brewers seem to have found his replacement through this trade.
The Brewers also receive some young pitching in the form Derby. After being selected in the sixth round of the MLB 2015 Draft, the young righty is on the move already. He is seen as being capable of being both a relief pitcher and a starting pitcher. He made his way to Low-A ball last season and pitched a 1.21 ERA across 14 appearances while holding a whopping 11.3 SO/9 ratio. He will most likely continue to be developed as a starting pitcher by the Brewers.