Let’s Make a Deal: A.J. Griffin
The A’s are improbably in the thick of the American League playoff picture at 54-45 and holding a one and a half game lead on the second wild card spot. Do I think they can hold on? I actually have to say I am starting to think they can. They have surprising depth in their lineup that I would not have anticipated at all at the beginning of the season. The platoon of Chris Carter and Brandon Moss looks to be a good one and the outfield is extremely strong. There is one glaring weakness, the left side of the infield. For the A’s to have any hope of contending (also remember they are going to be getting late season additions to their pitching staff too with Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy due back at some point) they need to improve that glaring weakness.
Several names tied to Oakland are off the board as Hanley Ramirez and Marco Scutaro have been scooped up by the Dodgers and Giants respectively. Several rumored names are still on the table however as Stephen Drew, Yunel Escobar and Chase Headley have yet to be moved by their clubs. Despite initial pause at acquiring Drew or Escobar, I have to say I am on board with that now. The chip we should use? A.J. Griffin. Jon Morosi of FoxSports tweeted something I have been saying for a couple weeks,
“Rival exec sees #Athletics RHP A.J. Griffin (3-0, 2.25) as viable trade chip to get shortstop. Value is at all-time high right now.”
Griffin has been good and impressive in his brief time in the majors. Not expected to be a part of the A’s in 2012, he was called up when McCarthy went onto the DL in June to make what many suspected would be just a spot start. Well, five more starts later he owns a 2.25 ERA, 3.57 FIP and has been worth 0.7 WAR for the A’s. While normally I am never an advocate of dealing young pitching (I frankly would in many ways much rather see Oakland trade Bartolo Colon) the A’s just have so much depth to do so and also as they always say you can’t acquire talent without giving up talent. Is Griffin as good as he has pitched? 36 innings, 7.3 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 and 1.0 HR/9 is a good line and I am not sure he is that good despite some strong MiLB numbers. If you can get a guy under control for more than just the balance of 2012 (someone like Escobar or Headley, though Drew could in theory be negotiated into a guarantee of his option year) I say Griffin is worth the price and gives this team a legitimate shot to contend.