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?

– MG

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