Could the Cubs and A’s swap players again this summer before the trade deadline?
The Cubs have already been connected to LHP Scott Kazmir and according to Jim Bowden, the Cubs are one of several teams interested in acquiring INF/OF Ben Zobrist and RHP Tyler Clippard.
Once Billy Beane decides to start trading players he figures to be rather busy leading up to and possibly after the deadline. There are several players on the A’s roster that teams could be interested in. Of the moves he could make, three players are almost guaranteed to be moved before July 31 … LHP Scott Kazmir, RHP Tyler Clippard and INF/OF Ben Zobrist.
Oakland lost again Friday night and owns the worst record in the majors (14-30). With the A’s off to the second worst start in franchise history, Beane could start lining up deals soon.
The rumors are starting to pick-up and only figure to increase in the coming days leading up to the draft on June 8. Once the draft is in the rearview mirror, front offices across the league will focus solely on adding players to the big league roster or talent to their organizations.
It should not come as a surprise that the Cubs would be interested in Ben Zobrist. The Cubs went to the wire with Tampa on Zobrist before Billy Beane acquired him and Yunel Escobar for Boog Powell, Daniel Robertson, John Jaso and cash.
Ben Zobrist is a favorite of Joe Maddon and would give the Cubs a much-needed veteran bat that can play all over the field.
Zobrist is expected back in early June from knee surgery. A deal for Zobrist would not happen right away because teams will need to make sure he is fully recovered.
In the 14 games prior to landing on the disabled list, Zobrist was 12-for-50 with five doubles and a home run (.240/.304/.400/.704). Zobrist had five walks and three strikeouts in 56 plate appearances.
Jim Bowden thinks Zobrist, who is a free agent at the end of the year, gets traded to the Tigers. The Angels, Giants, Mets, Nationals, Tigers and Cubs are the teams Bowden said are currently interested in Ben Zobrist.
Once he shows he is healthy, there is not a team playing for a spot in the post-season that would not benefit from adding him to its roster.
As Jim Bowden mentioned in his report, teams will likely lineup to trade for Tyler Clippard. According to Bowden, the Cubs are one of four teams (Dodgers, Mets and Tigers) that are interested in him. Clippard could net a rather big return due to the lack of dependable eighth inning relievers on the market.
Tyler Clippard was considered one of, if not the top setup man in baseball during his time in Washington. Clippard was 7-4 in 75 games with a 2.18 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP and a 2.75 FIP last season with the Nationals. Clippard struck out 82 batters with 23 walks in 70 1/3 innings. Over seven seasons with the Nationals, Clippard was 34-24 in 414 games with a 2.68 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP and a 3.46 FIP.
Many were caught off guard when Mike Rizzo traded Clippard to Oakland in the off-season. Clippard was considered a main clog in the Nationals bullpen.
The A’s sent Yunel Escobar to the Nationals for Tyler Clippard and his $8.3 million contract for the 2015 season.
Tyler Clippard has been solid for the A’s in 16 appearances this season. Clippard is 0-2 with a 2.50 ERA, a 1.06 WHIP and 4.24 FIP. Clippard has given up 11 hits with eight walks and 15 strikeouts in 18 innings.
Tyler Clippard is a free agent at the end of the year. And it could be the team that is willing to send a top prospect to Oakland that ends up with Clippard. The Orioles had to overpay last July for LHP Andrew Miller when Dan Duquette sent LHP Eduardo Rodriquez to Boston for the lefty setup man.