The budget-conscious Oakland Athletics are discussing trades involving former All-Star reliever Blake Treinen, utility player Jurickson Profar, and catcher Josh Phegley, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
All three players are entering their final years of arbitration eligibility. If the A's fail to find trade partners in their bid to reduce payroll, it's possible that they could each be non-tendered ahead of Monday's deadline, Rosenthal adds.
|Player||Proj. 2020 salary|
(Arbitration projections source: MLB Trade Rumors)
Oakland's payroll currently sits at slightly above $99 million, according to Spotrac, but that figure will rise due to the team's 11 arbitration-eligible players. Sources told Rosenthal that Oakland wants to open 2020 with a payroll closer to last year's $90 million - the A's opened 2019 at approximately $92.1 million, per Cot's Contracts.
The Athletics will have to find room for the salary of AL MVP finalist Marcus Semien, who's projected to earn $13.5 million in his final year of arbitration. There is apparently mutual interest in getting an extension done, but even if that doesn't happen, the A's don't intend to trade Semien in a cost-cutting move, Rosenthal reports.
Treinen might be the most intriguing piece of the three as a potential game-changer, if healthy. In 2018, he posted a sparkling 0.78 ERA - tops among big-league relievers - and 0.83 WHIP with 100 strikeouts and 38 saves.
But 2019 was not as kind to the 31-year-old. He ultimately lost his ninth-inning job while posting a 4.91 ERA, 5.14 FIP, and 1.62 WHIP in 57 appearances. Treinen also missed time due to a shoulder injury that might have affected his performance.
Phegley was Oakland's primary catcher in 2019, slashing .239/.282/.411 with 12 homers and 62 RBIs while appearing in a career-high 106 games. He struggled defensively to the tune of minus-14 defensive runs saved and an American League-high 15 passed balls. The 31-year-old did throw out 24 would-be base-stealers, which led all Junior Circuit backstops.
Profar just completed his first season with the A's, who acquired the onetime Texas Rangers top prospect last winter. The 26-year-old slashed .218/.301/.410 with 20 homers, 67 RBIs, and nine steals over 518 plate appearances last year.
Though primarily deployed at second base, Profar did see a bit of time in left field, where he rated as a slightly better defender (2 DRS). The Rangers utilized Profar as a full-scale utility player in 2018, and it's possible that he could return to that role on another roster.