A’s Strike Quickly: Trade For DeJesus

Steve O Speak

The Deal: The Oakland Athletics trade RHP Vin Mazzaro and LHP Justin Marks (A+) to the Kansas City Royals for OF David DeJesus

Why This Makes Sense For the Athletics: The Athletics just won the bidding for top Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma earlier this week (though they still need to sign him) so they are trading from a position of strength and are adding a quality outfielder. Oakland desperately needed to add offense this offseason, if they hoped to compete with the Rangers and the Angels next year. DeJesus is a good pickup for them as they look to strengthen their lineup. He isn’t the power bat(s) that the Athletics need, but he will offer a boost to their offensive production. In addition DeJesus is an exceptional defensive outfielder, who is capable at handling all three positions. His defense projects best in left field, but he can handle right as a full-time starter as well. Given their pitching and prospect depth the A’s had no problem sending Mazzaro and Marks to the Royals in this deal. Oakland still has plenty of talent to make another move if need be. DeJesus is coming off an injury so there is a bit of a risk here for Oakland, but they feel confident he is healthy. DeJesus is only signed for one year and could be dealt at the trade deadline if Oakland starts to fall out of the race.

Why This Makes Sense For The Royals: In many ways this deal doesn’t make sense for Kansas City. They do save $6 million next year, on a player who is coming back from a major injury, but they are selling low here. Mazzaro is at best a 4th or 5th starter whose value is tied more into his youth and price than actual performance. Marks is still probably two years away from the majors and he will likely need to be a lefty specialist to earn a major league role. That is not a good return for one of the Royals better players. While they needed to move DeJesus at some point this season, and maybe didn’t want to risk him being injured (or ineffective) and get nothing, this was a bad move. If they waited until later in the offseason I’m guessing a few more suitors would have come calling.

Analysis: The A’s won here by taking a small chance with the injury concerns, but not giving up anything significant for a quality player. DeJesus might not make them sure-fire contenders, but he is a positive step in that direction. If he rebounds and they look to move him at the deadline I’d expect them to get a better return than what they gave up for him. This could be the first of many deals the Royals make this offseason as they look to reshape their roster to reflect when they really believe they can contend. Unfortunately this deal won’t likely ever impact their rebuilding, and offers just stopgap fixes for next year.

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