Did the 2018 Oakland A’s come out of nowhere as last year’s second Wild Card winner? You bet they did. Is that same magical team in contention this year? Definitely, and they currently stand just a couple games behind that same second wild card spot.
They also continue to defy their payroll limitations as they are currently ahead of both the Mariners and high-market Angels in the West. For years, I’m sure all you readers have heard them jokingly defined as a Minor League team or a boosting pad before star players depart elsewhere.
But as one who thinks these 2019 A’s should build off last season and buy this summer, maybe they could use Dee Gordon. They know they can already reach the playoffs with this core so why not go for it? Since Billy Beane and company know what they are doing, this trade would need to not hurt the A’s in the long run. The A’s should trade for Gordon because they need more speed. Looking at today’s starting lineup, Jurickson Profar was the fastest of the nine. On the other side, Jurickson is flirting with just a .220 batting average with a WAR in the negatives.
Dee’s WAR may be at just 0.1 himself but the A’s average starting lineup badly needs someone who can wreak havoc on the bases. Needless to say, the A’s are already stacked with clutch power-hitting but most of them are built like first basemen and catchers. Where Dee is Superman around the bases, players like Matt Chapman and Mark Canha probably need oxygen after going first to third. And slugger Khris Davis isn’t exactly Rickey Henderson either. Just like how Jeurys Familia was last year’s missing bullpen piece for the A’s, Dee would satisfy that role from a speed and contact kind of guy.
So in terms of who our Mariners would receive for the former All Star second baseman, we need to be realistic about how A’s management would not approach this. It’s hard to foresee them eating into their talented farm system just like that for an aging second baseman with a year-and-half left on his Marlins contract. Maybe the Mariners swap a Major Leaguer for a Major Leaguer in this deal.
What about utility man Chad Pinder? With how well the A’s are at grooming their homegrown youth, Pinder is definitely expendable. And the issue with being a utility man is that you’re a trade risk if all regular positions are set and healthy. To make the A’s feel better, Pinder’s batting average could be higher. However, his WAR is higher than both Profar’s and Gordon’s. And even if Pinder is a valued utility man for the A’s, he doesn’t fit their current need for speed. In 2019, Dee currently has just over twice the amount of stolen bases over Profar and Pinder.
Even though Profar is the A’s incumbent second baseman, this is baseball and they need to favor current performance. Currently, Dee’s average is roughly 50 points higher then Jurickson’s. He also happens to be faster than Jurickson.
On the Mariners’ side of things, I have officially changed my mind. Even though Shed Long didn’t hit for a high average when called up, the potential he has shown is clearly there. Dee is a great presence but he fits in more among veteran star players and isn’t the kind of player a club builds around. Which is exactly why he fit in more among the core of bigger names on last year’s club.
Sorry Mariners fans, Dee shouldn’t be exempt from a trade no matter how entertaining he is. Pinder wouldn’t necessarily stay a Mariner long-term but the point of him platooning second would be to take pressure off Shed from our end. As Mariner fans should know, we need to start small and not just throw Shed into an everyday job if Dee were to leave. Every future process has baby steps.