Possible Jays Trade Targets: Adrian Cardenas

It’s a strange time to be bringing up trade chatter, but there are some moves that will soon have to be made by Alex Anthopoulos, and other GMs, that could shake up the depth of teams across MLB. The A’s recently acquired Scott Sizemore from the Detroit Tigers in return for ex-Jays reliever David Purcey, which got me considering what Oakland’s next move may be. Why? Well, if you look at their depth, they have Mark Ellis playing 2B, Kevin Kouzmanoff playing 3B, and both Adam Rosales and Scott Sizemore soon to join or replace them (one from the D.L., and one who is the heir apparent at 3B). Add Cliff Pennington who has taken hold as the SS the A’s needed, and Grant Green who isn’t far away in AA, and you’ve got a fairly clogged infield for the A’s overall. Aside from 1B, that is.

Their first base situation is dire to say the least. As much as I’ve heard people complain about Edwin Encarnacion in Toronto, the A’s have gotten even less production from their options at 1B and DH.

  • D. Barton: .206/.320/.265, 11 doubles and 0 HR (1B)
  • C. Jackson: .248/.336/.325, 6 doubles and 1 HR (only 8 games at 1B)
  • H. Matsui: .222/.277/.340, 10 doubles and 3 HR (DH)

Meanwhile, the Jays are all of the sudden clogged at 1B. Adam Lind showed that playing 1B was his bag and that it got his bat going in comparison to last season when he was primarily the DH. Juan Rivera recently went through the same scenario. And finally, the Jays also have the Edwin Encarnacion option at 1B, the least desirable of the 3, but still a potent bat with 30+ HR potential when he gets it going.

So, the pieces seem to fit. If the Jays can offer the A’s either Juan Rivera or Edwin Encarnacion, what sort of return could they expect?

With the most recent addition to their infield being Sizemore, both he and Adrian Cardenas popped into my mind. The A’s have brough Cardenas along very slowly, but he has proven that he can hit at the highest levels now and seems poised to take the next step ASAP.

His line in AAA in 2011 is as follows:

.335/.400/.436 with 11 doubles, 2 HR, 19 BB, 19 SO and 2 SB in 188 ABs

He has been particularly effective vs LHP with the following stats against Southpaws:

.436/.475/.600 with 3 of his 11 doubles and 2 HRs in 55 ABs

The strange thing is that the A’s have had Cardenas working at 3B, LF, and DH this season, not the middle of the infield as he used to be. How did he fare at 3B?  He has a .826 fielding % due to 4 errors in 23 chances, so his performance there is just as bad as his 2010 edition at 3B of .864. He is not viable at 3B. I envision him working out well as a bench SS and 2B to start, easing his way into a starting role if he does well, should he land on the right team that is.

What makes the move strange is that he was doing fine at 2B. In 2010, he had a .962 fielding percentage there and seemed poised to take over from Mark Ellis at some point in the future. Could it be that they moved him there knowing full well that Grant Green was most likely going to take over at SS with Cliff Pennington taking over 2B (or vice versa)? That could be, but it’s evident that the trial was for nought and that he’s now stuck in limbo with a bat that doesn’t work very well at any other position due to his lack of power.

The Jays, meanwhile, could be looking for another MI option that also has options remaining. Someone who could be the security behind Aaron Hill in case of injury, or in case they decide to let him walk after the 2011 season. The Jays also may have to replace John McDonald on the bench in 2011, so Cardenas could take that role on and fill SS or 2B positions fairly well.

Adrian Cardenas is a smart player who takes notes on everything he does, which explains his very high OBP and AVG. Every AB against every pitcher is written about and he puts in a ton of time learning the aspects of the game. Will little room for advancement within the Oakland ogranization, and their need for a better option at 1B than what they currently have, why not make the swap?

If the Jays don’t make the swap, they’ll soon have Rivera or Eric Thames manning LF again, with either Thames or Encarnacion as the DH, and Adam Lind back in the 1B role. If the Jays ever want to make room for Travis Snider to come back into the fold, they’ll need to move one of these players. In my mind, the A’s should have at least some interest in nabbing one of Rivera or Encarnacion because their pop could help them a ton as they try to get ahead of their AL West opponents. They are only 4 games back at this point, and so should be hungry to see if they can improve their situation with a bat.

Of the bunch, I believe that Juan Rivera makes the most sense as a trade target for the A’s. He knows the AL West extremely well, I’m sure he’d love a shot to get to play against his old team more often, and he’s been very hot of late for the Jays.

I don’t know if the deal would be Cardenas for Rivera straight up, but something involving the 2 players seems to make a whole lot of sense at this time for both clubs. They have already made 2 moves together of late (Rajai Davis for Trystan Magnuson and Danny Farquhar, and Farquhar for David Purcey), so you know the 2 teams have been chatting quite a bit. The cordial relationship between the GMs and the needs of each franchise seem to be a good match.

Well, at least, that’s my humble opinion for what that’s worth!

What do you think?

Do you see the Jays and A's making a move involving Adrian Cardenas or Scott Sizemore coming to the Jays?

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- MG

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Tags: Adrian Cardenas Edwin Encarnacion Juan Rivera

  • Mylegacy

    Mat – good on you. This topic is very timely. The time has come to start thinking of what moves the Jays might make before/at the trading deadline.

    Personally, I don’t see a move involving Sizemore or Cardenas. I suspect that Hech and Escobar will battle each other for SS – the loser getting 2nd. That battle could start as early as September this year.

    You mention EE and Rivera – I think consider Cooper as trade bait – sell high! We’ve Lind for now and McDade (who is quietly becoming a monster) for later – You might be able to get something for Cooper/EE and Rivera (that would give some team a 1st, 3rd and DH all in one fell swoop).

    Any blockbuster we might make would include at least one of D’Arnaud, Jimenez, Perez (all three of those guys as SO GOOD – they’ve all thought of changing their last names to Molina).

    As to what we need – right now with no Halladay, Marcum, Cecil and Drabek not getting it together we need starting pitching (in the short term) and I just don’t see AA doing much – if anything – to address a short term need. Not unless the short term solution can be part of the long term solution.

    As they have stamped on the front of American money, “In AA we trust.”

    • Mat Germain

      I agree that anything AA does will be for the long-term, not just the short term, which is why I think Cardenas makes sense (as well as Chris Nelson who I put out there as a possibility in early 2011). Both can be much more effective bench players than what the Jays have on hand today and provide more offensive flair than the Jays have had on the bench in a long time.

      I absolutely believe a deal or two – whether blockbusters or not – involving the Jays are about to take place, most likely post-draft. As with any AA move, we’ll probably only hear about “the rumor” once it actually happens, in true silent assassin fashion!

  • Matt

    I’ve also been worrying about Aaron Hill’s future and whether he’s ever going to return to even near-2009 production levels.

    In my search a couple of prospects looked interesting, Adrian Cardenas was 2nd on my list behind Jason Kipnis of Cleveland. I don’t think that either could be had for spare parts, Kipnis would take a low end SP (think Litsch) and a prospect who is a long way from contributing (think Moises Sierra).

    If Cardenas comes over for one or both of Rivera and E5 I would be shocked but Wells moving stunned me so I shouldn’t dismiss the possibility.

    Getting one of these guys would be part of my plan for the remainder of this season and the off-season if I was in AA’s shoes

  • John

    “I don’t think that either could be had for spare parts”

    That’s why I think Rivera or EE would not be part of any trade for Cardenas. Salary combined with contract and lackluster performance on the part of Rivera and pretty awful performance on the part of EE just don’t make them very attractive. I agree with the idea of a Litsch + Sierra or someone like him. That kinda deal probably would be a better base case

  • Jays Fan

    Mat, you can’t honestly think that the A’s (or any team for that matter) would deal a legitimate, viable prospect for Juan Rivera. You’ve lost credibility in my eyes.

    • Mat Germain

      Like I said, Jays fan, it isn’t likely to be a 1 for 1 deal, but I do know that the A’s need a much better lineup to make a playoff run. This is the team that gave Ben Sheets $10 million and were so badly needing a DH that they signed Hideki Matsui! They need a ton of offensive help, and I don’t believe that they have a spot to give Cardenas the shot he deserves. So whether I “lost credibility” in your eyes or not, I believe there’s a deal to be done. Whether it’s David Cooper and Juan Rivera for Adrian Cardenas and another piece from Oakland or not is debatable until anything – if anything happens. I’m only putting this out there, that a deal seems to make sense on both sides. That’s all!

  • George

    Matt, I agree that sooner or later, they will have to make room for Lawrie, and Lind, and Snider, and that likely means that at least two of EE, Rivera, or Nix will have to go. I lean towards Rivera and Nix, because EE adds depth at both first and third.
    I don’t see him trading for major league infielders at this point, however. AA is more likely to go for high ceiling, low cost players that he can stuff in at the low A level and see what grows.
    After all, they don’t need a Cardenas that badly right now, but in a couple of years, they are going to have to dig into the farm system to trade for a Carter and Alomar to put them over the top, so it pays to have a little bit put by.

  • NoScoutHere

    Travis Snyder is an over hyped utility player

    Riveria is too old and expensive to be traded unless Jays pay half of his wages in a salary dump.

    EE is one bad week away from being demoted to AA

    Nix is playing like the 70 K in cash the jays paid for him

    What is a possibility is Villanueva claiming the 5th pitching spot leaving AA the option to deal Litsch, Reyes, and cecil or as part of a package for positional player.

    Aaron Hill is in his last year as a Jay.