Assessing the Andrew Bailey Trade Rumors

Exactly one month ago, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported that, as they wait for updates regarding a new ballpark in San Jose, the Oakland A’s would listen to trade offers for any player on their roster except Jemile Weeks.

With the A’s having one of the top young closers in the game in Andrew Bailey, it’s no surprise that he’s been constantly mentioned in recent trades. In addition to the Blue Jays, various other teams have apparently shown interest in the right-hander, whose market value could very well be at its highest, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Acquiring Bailey, who is under club control through the 2014 season, would effectively put an end to the Jays’ closer carousel, but at what price? It’s one that, in his case, seems far too high.

When the Rangers were looking to acquire him prior to the trade deadline in July, they balked at Oakland’s three-player asking price that consisted of Martin Perez, Chris Davis, and “one more good minor league pitcher”. Davis, a strikeout-prone, power-hitting first baseman, tore up the minor leagues but has seen his numbers with the Rangers plummet following his rookie season in 2008. Far from the centerpiece in the Rangers’ package, Davis still likely appealed to the A’s since they were (and still are) looking to upgrade their offense in some capacity.

The package centerpiece was in fact Perez, a left-handed starter with three plus pitches who, after making it to Double-A as an 18-year-old, pitched in Triple-A this past season at the tender age of 20 years old. Though his results were inconsistent, he’s widely considered the top prospect in the Rangers’ organization, touted as a five-star prospect by Baseball Prospectus and the 24th-best in baseball heading into the season according to Baseball America.

It’s unclear as to whether or not Oakland’s asking price for Bailey remains as high as it was in July, but Blue Jays beat reporter Gregor Chisholm hinted at just that in a mailbag back on November 16.

“It will take a lot more than one good offensive prospect for a team to pry Bailey away from the A’s. Oakland reportedly has been listening to offers for its closer, but the 27-year-old right-hander is under club control for the next three seasons and the A’s are under no pressure to pull the trigger on a trade,” he wrote.

So, assuming Bailey’s asking price remains at three players and includes at least a top prospect, what kind of package could the Jays offer?

The centerpiece of any Jays package would be a top pitching prospect, likely one of Noah Syndergaard, Drew Hutchison, or Deck McGuire, with Kyle Drabek being another name despite not being considered a prospect anymore.

Outside of David Cooper, the Jays don’t have a prospect at first base that’s close to the Majors or even any power hitting prospects that could represent Oakland’s desired offensive upgrade element. The A’s have, however, been looking to add outfield depth as a way of bolstering their offense, and Eric Thames comes to mind in that regard. If the A’s were looking at a prospect farther away from the Majors, Moises Sierra or Michael Crouse could be possibilities as well.

As for the third component of a package, another “good minor league pitcher”, there’s quite an assortment of names that the Jays could include. This pitcher would likely play for a lower affiliate and be farther away from the Majors, someone like Mitchell Taylor or Griffin Murphy, or one of the arms from the Jays’ 2011 draft haul.

Regardless, a three-player package, especially if it included someone like Syndergaard or Hutchison, is too much to pay for Bailey, who would likely pitch 50-60 innings per year at most and hasn’t topped 49 since his Rookie of the Year 2009 campaign.

– JM

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