I do trade check-in’s year-round, and very much enjoy that you all enjoy them, so I thought I’d exclusively do them at the current moment of America’s favorite present time.
Next up is a 2016 deadline deal between two California clubs 90 minutes and a league away.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, gearing up for contention, beat the non-waiver buzzer and traded three pitching prospects about 375 miles north to the Oakland A’s for veterans Josh Reddick and Rich Hill.
Has has it worked out? Let’s dive on in.
Reddick, originally a Boston Red Sox youngster who was traded to Oakland in the winter of 2011, belted 32 home runs and won a Gold Glove with the A’s in 2012, becoming a fan favorite for his rock star style amongst the rowdy Coliseum attendees along the way.
Outside of 20 home runs in 2015, he hasn’t come remotely close to 30 homers again, but has remained a consistently viable outfielder.
Before hitting unrestricted free agency for the first time after the 2016 season, he put together a .296/.368/.449 slash line in 68 games for the A’s prior to being dealt to the Dodgers.
He came down to .258 with L.A. and only hit two long balls —and 10 for the entire season, his lowest since 2011— and then signed with the Houston Astros in the off-season.
The 31-year old received a four-year $52 million deal and went on to win a World Series with the Astros —over his former Dodgers team— last season.
Prior to collecting his first ring, he hit a career-high .314 with the juggernaut Astros. His peripheral power numbers and slugging stats fell, but his veteran experience and glove were key for the club.
After a productive ALDS, he was woeful in the ALCS and World Series, much to the delight of his old Dodger fans. He now mans right field everyday for Houston, but the future there is Kyle Tucker, whose recent promotion makes Reddick’s role a lot more interesting, especially with two and a half years remaining on his deal.
Rich Hill still resides in Los Angeles with the Dodgers and is quite the story himself. Like his trade mate Reddick, Hill was also acquired from the Red Sox by the A’s in a trade.
Hill has had one of the more remarkable careers amongst the many pro athletes. Multiple surgeries and a superhero-level comeback from Hill don’t compare to the tragedy he experienced in 2014 when his infant son passed away with health issues from birth.
A Massachusetts native, his return to the majors in 2015 came back with the Red Sox and he dazzled in four stars (36:5 K:BB ratio) at the end of season before heading west to Oakland for $6 million.
He proved to be one of baseball’s best bargains and continued to shine after the trade to Los Angeles. After the year, he signed a three-year $48 million dollar deal to stay with the Dodgers and supplied another fantastic 2017 season, also an integral part of the World Series run.
His age 38 season in 2018 looks like the end of the road. He’s dealt with injuries and has also recently been tried out in the bullpen as the Dodgers deal with a surplus of starters.
Still due $18 million in 2019, it will be interesting to see if the budget-proof Dodgers keep him on the active roster. Still, they’ve gotten their money’s worth on this deal in Hill alone.
Which brings us to the package Oakland got.
Three pitchers —all popular pitching prospects— Jharel Cotton, Frankie Montas and prospect Grant Holmes became members of the A’s organization.
Cotton has shown extreme promise, particularly in his first big league stint in 2016 when he dominated in five starts. The St. Thomas native was a 20th round pick by the Dodgers in 2012.
The exciting start earned him a spot in the A’s 2017 Opening Day rotation. He made 24 starts, but it was an admittedly tough year for him.
Prior to the start of the 2018 season, he fell victim to Tommy John surgery, but is still just 26 years old with some big league success to build on.
Montas, formerly gone by Francellis but now of course Frankie, is another former Red Sox player in the deal. He was traded to the White Sox in 2013 as part of the Tigers-included three-team deal that featured Jose Iglesias, John Lackey and Avisail Garcia.
In 2015, he was a part of another three-teamer and went to the Dodgers in a deadline deal that saw Todd Frazier go from Cincinnati to Chicago and Jose Peraza from the Dodgers to the Reds.
Montas has always seeped with potential, but with injury risk and volatile stock. He broke through with the Chi Sox in 2015 and struck out 20 batters in 15 innings.
2016 was lost to injuries minus a dozen or so appearances and was also a transition campaign with his third trade in four years.
He was rocked at the big league level in 2017 with Oakland but has found something this year for the resurgent A’s.
So far, he’s supplied eight starts (five wins) in 48.1 innings. A minor league strikeout artist, those numbers are actually noticeably down right now, but outs are being made and the 25-year old has perhaps turned a permanent corner.
Grant Holmes was the true prospect of the group, having not yet made his MLB debut. To this day, that still remains an unfortunate reality for the A’s organization.
2014’s 22nd overall pick, Holmes has always been a Top 100 type, but not a can’t-miss arm. That’s obviously okay, but 2017 was a step back for the promising righty.
He succeeded in 2015 Low-A while with the Dodgers and even impressed as a 20-year old at High-A before the trade. After, he was hit hard in his first athletics with the Athletics.
Last season, he was pushed to Double-A Midland and posted a 4.49 ERA and 1.42 WHIP, allowing 149 hits in 148.1 innings. With the benefit of hindsight, he could have used some more time in High-A Stockton with the awesomely-named Ports.
This past March, early in Spring Training, he went under the knife with a rotator cuff injury and will miss all of 2018.
His struggles in High-A and Double-A, along with the year off, put his stock in a peculiar place. It will be interesting to see where Oakland slots him upon his return.