Ever since Athletics let manager Bob Melvin pack his suitcases and head to San Diego, it has seemed like a long and dark winter awaits ahead of the franchise and its fans. The skipper still had a year left on his contract but was allowed to sign at Padres without compensation as Oakland appeared to be content to save the around $ 4 million he was to earn. Since then, the questions surrounding the franchise have largely revolved around exactly how far they will go with removing the list.
In a recent piece by Ken Rosenthal from The Athletic, he says that it is unlikely that they will bottom out to such an extent that their salaries will fall as low as $ 40 MM, a level that even low-budget Athletics have not seen in 20 more year. While this may sound like good news to A’s fans at first, it does not necessarily mean there will be no sales, as Rosenthal reports that they will still “likely swap almost all players with value on their list”, but could then patch gaps in the club “by signing a number of free agents for one-year contracts.”
In terms of how this would work, Rosenthal points to the 2014-2015 offseason. At that point, Athletics came after a third winning season in a row, but embarked on a massive overview overhaul that included bartering Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss and Jeff Samardzija for prospects. This led to three years in a row with basement housing in AL West, while one got big leagues – such as. Ben Zobrist, Rich Hill, Ryan Madson – which would later be reversed for further prospects. Despite all these sales, the payroll did not drop significantly in the losing seasons. Under Cot’s baseball contracts, it hovered near $ 80 MM from 2014 to 2017.
As for who is expected to move, Rosenthal lists many names that have previously appeared in rumors, such as. Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea, Chris Bassitt and Frankie Montas. The whole group has been speculated to be trading chips due to their arbitration increases and shrinking team control. However, Rosenthal also says that “their available parts include yet another catcher Sean Murphy, which is a year away from arbitration, “adding later that Murphy” will be a hot commodity in a market starved of trappers. “It has certainly been noted, including by MLBTR, that the market for free agents actually is weak this year where the best option is 34-year-old Yan gomes. Murphy, who has just turned 27 and has four remaining years of control, would certainly be more appealing than any option on the list. In 182 career fights so far, he has beaten 28 homeruns and scored .222 / .321 / .431, a wRC + of 109. Combined with his excellent defense, he has produced 5.4 fWAR.
Jason Martinez of Roster Resource is currently setting the club’s 2022 salary at $ 85 million. including arbitration estimates. Shipping all of the aforementioned players would pull around $ 45MM and leave it around the $ 40MM mark. But then, under this theoretical scenario, the club could then redistribute that money to short-term deals for free agents.
Even if the A’s decide to implement this plan, it will not happen soon. As Rosenthal notes, most of their potential trading partners are busy trying to sign free agents before the CBA expires on December 1, which is generally expected to lead to a transaction stop shortly thereafter. Despite all this, he reports that athletics has been “bombarded with trade interest in their players” and “still collects and organizes information.” This means that any sale, regardless of its final size, is likely to be crammed into the window between thawing of the transaction halt and the start of the 2022 season.