Trade Deadline Primer: Oakland Athletics

The Oakland (soon to be Sacramento) Athletics are one of the most clear-cut sellers for this upcoming deadline. That makes them ripe for the picking for contenders, as the A’s are likely to be open to parting with any and everyone not named Zack Gelof. There are a select few pieces from the A’s that contenders may find particularly interesting (one, J.D. Davis, has already been traded to the Yankees).


All surplus-value numbers below are in $ millions.


The Big Question Mark

Mason Miller

Surplus Value: 56.5

Miller, who is widely acknowledged as the best closer in the game, is under team control through 2029. His numbers are off the charts -- he's already put up 1.5 fWAR, which, as a reliever, would already be great if it was in a full season, but we're not even halfway. His ERA- is 45% above average. His Statcast page screams red, which means almost all of his peripherals back up his surface numbers. From the A's perspective, there's no need to trade him now -- unless they want to sell high and get an amazing prospect package in return. Given that there's some history of injuries here, that could be what moves the needle for them to deal him now. But it's far from a clear case.


High-Value Pieces

Brent Rooker 

Surplus Value: 18.0

Rooker is a complicated sell from Oakland’s perspective. He doesn’t reach free agency until 2028 and has an option remaining. However, he is 29 years old, limited defensively, and the most productive offensive player for the A’s – meaning he could fetch a sizable return. Last season, Rooker managed a 127 wRC+ and 2.2 WAR across 526 plate appearances. It was the first time he was given an opportunity over a full season, as he had never received more than 213 plate appearances in a season before 2023. Through his first 64 games of 2024, he had a 142  wRC+, as he somehow managed the tricky game of re-adjusting to pitchers who had adjusted to him. With that, there is a case to be made that Rooker is a late bloomer who is flourishing after being given an everyday role. A contender or a team looking to compete beyond this year will likely be interested in bringing in a cost-controlled masher, even with his defensive limitations. 


Abraham Toro

Surplus Value: 11.3

Similar to Rooker, Toro has been allowed to play every day for the first time in his career and he is running with it. Toro had played more than 100 games only once in his career and had never managed a wRC+ higher than 100 outside of a nine-game sample in 2023 with Milwaukee. This year, he’s on pace to eclipse his highest games-played mark with Oakland and is bringing a 100 wRC+ along with him. Toro isn’t much of a defender, but is capable of playing 1B, 2B, 3B, and LF. He’s also a much easier sell from Oakland’s perspective. Toro is a free agent in 2027 and has no options remaining, making him easier to part with than Rooker.


Miguel Andujar 

Surplus Value: 6.2

Andujar has played somewhat sparingly for the A’s, but has a 117 wRC+ in his appearances. Most will remember Andujar for his incredible 2018 season, where he managed a 129 wRC+ across 606 plate appearances with the Yankees. Since that time he’s struggled to find a home, not playing in more than 45 games in any season since then and failing to replicate his 2018 surge. But in Oakland, he may be the next Brent Rooker. There is likely a contender out there keeping a close eye on Andujar’s production over the next month-plus.


Lucas Erceg 

Surplus Value: 5.5

The only reason Erceg would be available is due to his age. The 29-year-old (who is a converted third baseman) doesn’t reach free agency until 2030 and has two options remaining. However, relievers are extremely volatile, and it would behoove the A’s to consider moving Erceg while he’s at the height of his powers. His ERA is right around league average, but his Baseball Savant page is full of red, which means most of his peripherals are outstanding.

Lower-Value Players Who Could Fill Needs

Paul Blackburn 

Surplus Value: 2.0

Blackburn is a rare breed, a veteran player who has spent the entirety of his career, to this point, with the Oakland Athletics. The former All-Star isn’t exactly known for blowing people away, but he has become a reliable source of competent innings, as long as he’s healthy. He’s a soft-tossing, pitch-to-contact arm who gets average results, which should be enough to interest a contender who needs a depth arm for the stretch run. He’s under control through next year as well.


Austin Adams

Surplus Value: 2.2

Adams is a piece the Athletics are all but guaranteed to move at the deadline. He’s a 33-year-old reliever who’s having the best season of his career by far. Adams has bounced around a lot, and has only topped 20 IP three times, including 2024. His main strength this year is keeping balls in the park – he’s in the 99th percentile when it comes to limiting hard-hit balls and high exit velocities. Adams should fetch a nice A-ball prospect from a contender that needs bullpen help for the remainder of the season.


TJ McFarland

Surplus Value: 1.2

McFarland is a cromulent lefty who’s been around the block a few times. The 34-year-old isn’t in the long-term plans for the A’s and is all but certain to be moved at the trade deadline. He’s yet another Statcast darling, with lots of red on his Baseball Savant page – most notably in the 99th percentile of expected ERA. He also has a 1.00 WHIP against lefty hitters, and every contending team needs a guy like that. He’s also tasted the postseason, and may have one last rev of the engine. 




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