A’s grab Merkin, add mullet-man Schlichting and diminutive Dominican Republican Castro

Travis Schlichting shows off his Hall of Fame mullet (photo courtesy of Big League Stew)

The A’s have signed three minor league free agent pitchers, former Giants right-hander Merkin Valdez, former Dodgers right-hander Travis Schlichting, and former Phillies left-hander Fabio Castro, who measures in at an impressive 5’7”.

The diminutive Dominican Republican has a career ERA of 3.30 in 43 2/3 major league innings. Schlichting, best known for his Hall of Fame mullet, has a career ERA of 3.55 in 25 1/3 major league innings. And Merkin Valdez, best known for his unusual name, has a career ERA of 5.57 in 72 2/3 major league innings.

All three are expected to spend most of the 2012 season hanging out in the Sacramento bullpen, keeping one eye on the Rivercats’ starting pitchers and another eye on the latest additions to the A’s disabled list. The trio will likely be joined there by three other A’s minor league free agent signees, left-hander Erick Threets and right-handers Jim Miller and Edgar Gonzalez – all of whom are over 5’7” and none of whom are named “Merkin.”

Chico Escuela: The original diminutive Dominican Republican

A’s Outfield Shuffle: Crisp In, Miller Out, Taylor Likely Back In Sac

Coco Crisp: The A's had to throw in an extra million for hair-care products (AP Photo)

The A’s are reportedly on the verge of re-signing free agent outfielder Coco Crisp to a 2-year contract worth $13 million, with a one-year club option that could pay Crisp an additional $7.5 million or net him a $1 million buyout. The A’s also dealt outfielder Jai Miller, who spent most of the 2011 season at Triple-A Sacramento, to the Orioles for cash.

The A’s presumably wanted to have an experienced center fielder who can provide a solid line of defense in the outfield for a very young and inexperienced pitching staff, and didn’t feel comfortable putting their confidence in new A’s outfielders Collin Cowgill or Josh Reddick in center. Additionally, former A’s pitcher and CSN analyst Greg Cadaret tweeted that he thought the A’s needed to have a few veterans to provide a professional example for the younger players, noting that, “Peers have more effect than coaching staff.”

Crisp is expected to bat second behind Jemile Weeks in the A’s lineup, with the #3 and #4 holes still big question marks. With Crisp back in the fold, expect new A’s acquisitions Josh Reddick and Collin Cowgill to end up flanking Crisp in the outfield, with Reddick in right and Cowgill in left. A’s brass has told Reddick to be ready to play every day. And A’s GM Billy Beane has had his eye on Cowgill for a long time, and has said that he’d like to see A’s outfield prospect Michael Taylor show a little more consistency at the Triple-A level. So with Cowgill and Reddick seemingly favorites for starting roles, that could put Taylor in line for the fourth outfielder spot on the A’s bench.

Given Beane’s recent quotes and that, the way things are currently shaping up, the A’s could potentially end up with an all right-handed hitting bench, they’d be likely to want to give the fourth outfielder spot to one of the left-handed hitting non-roster invitees who’ll be competing for a major league spot this spring – most likely Jeff Fiorentino or Brandon Moss. That would leave the A’s with a Triple-A outfield comprised of Taylor, Cedric Hunter and Jason Pridie, along with either Moss or Fiorentino, battling for playing time at Sacramento in 2012.

 

Click players’ names below for their minor league stats:

Brandon Moss

Jeff Fiorentino

Michael Taylor

Brandon Moss

Jeff Fiorentino

Michael Taylor

A’s Deal Bailey And Sweeney To Boston For Three Prospects

Josh Reddick keeping tabs on the latest trade rumors

In their continuing efforts to rebuild the team for a potential move into a new stadium in San Jose in the next few years, the A’s have dealt closer Andrew Bailey and outfielder Ryan Sweeney to Boston for three Red Sox prospects.

The A’s will receive versatile 24-year-old outfielder Josh Reddick, who was slated to be Boston’s starting right fielder this season, along with 20-year-old corner infielder Miles Head and 19-year-old starting pitcher Raul Alcantara.

Reddick hit .280 in 87 games for the Red Sox last season while playing all three outfield positions, and slugged 14 homers in just 191 at bats at Triple-A Pawtucket before his call up. Head hit .299 with 22 homers in Class-A last year. And Alcantara has posted a 2.72 ERA in just 26 minor league starts thus far in his career.

Reddick or Collin Cowgill, recently acquired from the Diamondbacks in the Trevor Cahill deal, will start in center field for the A’s this season, with the other likely to end up starting in a corner outfield spot.

Check out all the important coverage of the trade:

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser says Reddick will play every day

MLB.com’s Jane Lee reports that the A’s tried to get Alcantara before

MLBTradeRumors.com sums up the trade

Josh Reddick demonstrates his major league skills

Baseball-Reference.com offers up the players’ stats:

Josh Reddick – Majors

Josh Reddick – Minors

Miles Head

Raul Alcantara

A’s Deal Gonzalez To Washington For Four Prospects

The A’s have traded starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez and minor league pitcher Robert Gilliam to Washington for four of the Nationals’ top prospects. With the deal, the A’s will add three talented pitchers along with a power-hitting catcher to their system.

Left-hander Tom Milone had an ERA of 3.32 and struck out 155 in 148 1/3 innings last year at Triple-A Syracuse. Right-hander Brad Peacock had an ERA of 2.39 and struck out 177 in 146 2/3 innings while splitting the season between Triple-A Syracuse and Double-A Harrisburg. 19-year-old hurler A.J. Cole had an ERA of 4.04 and struck out 108 in 89 innings last year at Single-A Hagerstown. And catcher Derek Norris hit 20 homers in his first season at Double-A Harrisburg.

Milone and Peacock will compete for spots in the A’s starting rotation this season.

Check out all the important coverage of the trade:

Baseball Nation analyzes the developments that led to the trade

John Sickels profiles the prospects in the trade

MLBTradeRumors.com sums up the trade

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser thinks the A’s got a major haul in the deal

MLB.com’s Jane Lee says that three of the new players are better than most of the A’s current prospects

19-year-old hurler A.J. Cole

Baseball-Reference.com offers up the 4 players’ minor league stats: 

Tom Milone

Brad Peacock

A.J. Cole

Derek Norris

A’s Deal Cahill To Arizona For Three Prospects

The A’s have dealt starter Trevor Cahill and reliever Craig Breslow to Arizona for three Diamondbacks’ prospects, pitcher Jarrod Parker, outfielder Colin Cowgill and reliever Ryan Cook.

Parker is a former first-round pick who had 112 strikeouts in 130 2/3 innings last year at Double-A Mobile. Cowgill hit .354 with 30 stolen bases last year at Triple-A Reno. And Cook had a 2.21 ERA with 19 saves last year between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno.

Parker will compete for a spot in the A’s rotation, Cook will compete for a spot in the bullpen, and Cowgill will be the leading contender for the A’s opening in center field.

Check out all the important coverage of the trade:

Baseball-Reference.com offers up the 3 players’ minor league stats:

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