St. Louis Cardinals Should Consider Trade for One of These 3 Oakland A’s Pitchers
Not knowing when the MLB lockout will end and off-season acquisitions can resume, some fans have felt deflated from the excitement surrounding the pre-lockout flurry of activity across Major League Baseball.
Others like myself, are still intrigued on what their favorite teams may do once business starts to pick back up.
While I am no baseball expert, and don’t exactly have John Mozeliak on speed dial to pitch opinions to, it’s still fun for me to jot down ideas on possible free agent interest and trade target partners that I think could benefit the St. Louis Cardinals.
Of course free-agency still has many intriguing players that could be on Mozeliak’s radar, but if the Cardinals President of Baseball Ops and GM Michael Girsch decided to explore the trade market, the Oakland Athletics might just be the team to connect with.
Rumors have swirled that Oakland is in sell mode. They have at least five core pieces likely to bring a haul if they decide to part ways with all of them… or even a few of them. Those players are 3B Matt Chapman, 1B Matt Olson, SP Chris Bassitt, SP Frankie Montas & SP Sean Manaea.
With St. Louis having Gold Glove winners in 3B Nolan Arenado & 1B Paul Goldschmidt, it’s safe to say if they wanted to “kick the tires” on the potential fire sale in Oakland, it would be for one of their three starting pitchers.
First, let’s look at Chris Bassitt.
The soon to be 33-year old is coming off an impressive 2021 where he was named an All-Star for the first time. He had a record of 12-4 with a 3.15 ERA, pitched 157 innings with 159 strikeouts (9.1 K/9).
Bassitt has played the past 6 seasons in Oakland, and 1 season with the White Sox, starting 93 games with a career 31-25 record.
According to baseballsavant.mlb.com, Bassitt relies on six pitches: Sinker: (35.7%), 4-Seam Fastball: (19.2%), Cutter: (18.3%), Changeup: (10.2%), Slider: (10.1%), and Curveball: (6.5%). The site has him comparable to Walker Buehler, Chris Stratton & Adam Wainwright.
Bassitt would come with only one season of club control, as he was arbitration-eligible for the 2022 season and will be a free agent at the end of the year.
This might not require the biggest return for a potential one-year rental, but the Athletics won’t exactly give him away either. Steamer has him pegged as a 2.5 WAR pitcher in 2022 projected at a 4.01 ERA with an expected 186 innings pitched.
With St. Louis having some top-pitching prospects waiting in the wings at Memphis, a move like this to acquire Bassitt could help solidify the rotation (pushing Dakota Hudson to the bullpen to start the season), or as insurance in case Miles Mikolas or any other starter would happen to have setbacks or injury.
The second pitcher to look at would be Frankie Montas.
Like Bassitt, Montas started his MLB career with the White Sox for one season and has pitched for the A’s the past 5 seasons. He has a career 31-23 career record with a 3.86 ERA.
In 2021, Montas logged 187 innings pitched, posted a 3.37 ERA with a 13-8 W/L record with Oakland. His innings pitched, starts (32), and strikeouts (207) were all career highs for Frankie.
Referencing back to baseball savant’s website, Montas has a four-pitch repertoire. Sinker: (29.2%), 4-Seam Fastball: (29%), Split-Finger: (22.4%), Slider (19.4%).
Unlike Bassitt & Manaea, Montas is under club control for 2 more seasons and is the youngest of the three (turning 29 in March). The asking price may be a bit rich of a return in this case, which could be a turn off for the Cardinals front office.
In 2019, Montas was suspended 80 games for PED use, but I don’t see that detouring the Cardinals from being interested, as they took a flier on Jhonny Perata on a 4-year $52M after a steroid suspension back at the end of 2013.
The last of the three Oakland A’s pitchers that I think the St. Louis Cardinals should look at, may be the one I’d like to see them go after the most, Sean Manaea.
Manaea will turn 30 in February, is a lefty and coming off of a 2021 campaign where he posted an 11-10 record, a 3.91 ERA and in 32 starts, accumulated 194 strikeouts through 179.1 innings (9.7 K/9).
He’s spent his entire 6 year career with the A’s with a total W/L record of 50-41 and 3.86 ERA. The southpaw also tied for the MLB lead with two complete game shutouts.
Baseball Savant’s site has Manaea’s 3-pitch arsenal listed as Sinker: (60%), Changeup: (24.4%) and Curveball: (15.6%). Adding another lefty in Manaea, on top of Steven Matz who the Cardinals signed in November, could be a nice pairing.
Albeit he is a free agent at the end of the 2022 season, St. Louis could either acquire him for one year while left-handed prospects Matthew Liberatore and Zack Thompson get more MLB ready, or possibly entertain a trade/extension type of deal for his services.
As it stands now, the Cardinals rotation will consist of Jack Flaherty, Adam Wainwright, Steven Matz, Dakota Hudson and Miles Mikolas.
If St. Louis feels comfortable with that rotation, and the likes of Jake Woodford as a swing-man starter, then I could see them only looking for relief pitchers when the lockout ends.
On the other hand, if there were any truth to the rumors that they were in on Marcus Stroman prior to him signing with the Cubs, that may lead us to think they want insurance in the starting pitching department after an injury-ridden 2021.
What say you on these 3 trade options that could be available from Oakland? Would you be interested? And what pieces would you part with if one of the three could be had? Let us know in the comments and as always thanks for reading. Go Cards!
Thank you to baseballsavant.mlb.com and baseball-reference for the statistics.