Detroit Tigers: 4 Moves That Will Help Team Now and Later
Trade Austin Kubitza, Kade Scivicque, Tyler Collins and Mark Lowe to Oakland for Jesse Hahn and Coco Crisp
At 38-51, the Oakland Athletics are going nowhere fast. The team enters the All-Star break 15.5 games out of first place, and have a number of trade chips to potentially deal at the deadline.
Outfielder Josh Reddick and Rich Hill are the most obvious candidates, but Detroit should go after Jesse Hahn and Coco Crisp’s contract.
Hahn is currently at Triple-A, as Hill, Sonny Gray, Kendall Graveman, Sean Manea and Daniel Mengden comprise the big league rotation. Even if Hill is dealt, the A’s have a quartet of starters on the disabled list in Chris Bassitt, Jarrod Parker, Felix Doubront and Henderson Alvarez who could fill rotation spots in the future. In other words, Hahn could be expendable.
In seven starts this year with Oakland, the former Padre has pitched to a 6.49 ERA in 34.2 innings pitched. While that isn’t anything to write home about, the pitcher has been victimized by an extremely high .336 BABIP. Hahn also has proven in Triple-A, and in past seasons that he can pitch effectively.
In 10 starts for Nashville, the Athletics’ Triple-A affiliate, Hahn has posted a 3.60 ERA. From 2014 to 2015 with the Padres and A’s, the 26-year-old accumulated a 3.23 ERA, a 3.46 FIP and a 2.1 WAR in 170 innings pitched. What’s more, given his service time, Hahn won’t be arbitration eligible until 2018, and won’t hit free agency until 2021.
In addition to picking up a potential rotation mainstay in Hahn, the Tigers would also have to take on Coco Crisp’s contract. The outfielder’s deal potentially expires after the season, but he does have a vesting option. Per MLBTradeRumors.com, the outfielder has a $13 million option that “vests at 550 plate appearances or 130 games played in 2016.”
So far, Crisp has logged 275 at-bats and played in 73 games.
By taking the veteran back in the deal, Detroit would allow the Athletics to play out their season without worrying about the impending vesting option—which may prove too rich for Oakland’s blood. Additionally, the Tigers would give the A’s a cheaper outfield option in Collins to try out for the future. The current Mud Hen seems to be turning things around, with three home runs and 11 RBI in his last seven Triple-A games.
Crisp is only hitting .244 this season, but the veteran outfielder could provide a boost to the Tigers down the stretch. The outfielder is hitting .268 away from Oakland, and has been exceptional with runners in scoring positon. In 56 plate-appearances with runners in scoring position, Crisp is hitting .400 with 29 RBI.
With some combination of Justin Upton, Cameron Maybin, J.D. Martinez and Steven Moya manning the outfield, Crisp won’t be counted on to start too much. Instead, he can provide value off the bench, and the Tigers can watch his contract expire in the offseason.
What’s more, the potential deal would remove Lowe’s contract from the books. The former Seattle reliever has struggled mightily in Detroit, and could thrive in Oakland’s spacious ballpark.
In Kubitza, Oakland gets a pitcher who has experience starting and coming out of the bullpen. Once one of the Tigers’ best prospects, Kubitza has fallen down the rankings thanks to the arrival of pitchers with higher ceilings, such as Beau Burrows, Spencer Turnbull and Tyler Alexander—not to mention recent draftees Matt Manning and Kyle Funkhouser.
Per MLB.com’s prospect rankings, the A’s don’t have a catcher ranked among the team’s 25 best prospects, so one of Detroit’s catching prospects makes sense in this potential scenario. Scivicque looks like a future big leaguer, but with James McCann entrenched behind the plate, Detroit can deal from a position of depth here.