Could Cliff Pennington’s Days Be Numbered?
The A’s could be looking to replace the struggling Cliff Pennington. While Pennington never will be confused for someone who will light the world on fire, his current campaign: .203/.266/.290 is by far his career worst as he sports a .252 wOBA and 56 wRC+ and just 0.4 WAR, well off the pace of his career average .250/.314/.357 slash line, .301 wOBA and 87 wRC+. I have always liked Pennington for (skewer me now) the intangibles. It feels like no matter what he is playing the hardest out there day in/day out and while the results clearly haven’t been there this year, I feel like he is a guy who is a good guy to have around on a young ballclub. That said, this is Major League Baseball and you need to put up the numbers or you will be replaced.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports that may be exactly what Billy Beane is looking to do. Rosenthal names Yunel Escobar of Toronto and Stephen Drew of Arizona as potential targets for the A’s. Toronto has a prospect who I got to see (and was very impressed by) in Las Vegas in the name of Adeiny Hechavarria who could readily displace Escobar, who is hitting .244/.292/.335 for the Blue Jays in 377 plate appearances with six home runs, but his .276 wOBA and 69 wRC+ don’t seem like a significant enough improvement over Pennington, and he earns $5M a year through next season meaning that his acquisition would likely spell the end for Pennington and his tenure with the A’s.
Drew, meanwhile has barely played this year missing time with a broken ankle and in limited time has just 47 plate appearances with Arizona for a .233/.277/.302 slash line, a .255 wOBA and 50 wRC+. Of course Drew has been far better than this, he had a 5.1 WAR campaign as recently as 2010. Drew is being paid $7.75M this season and has a $10M mutual option with a $1.35M buyout for 2013. If Oakland got him, one has to wonder whether a strong finish and a bad place to play like Oakland could turn it into a few month rental. While Arizona doesn’t seem to cleanly line up as a trade partner, Toronto could benefit from the A’s surplus of starting pitching.