Programming note: A’s Insider Joe Stiglich is in San Diego for the MLB Winter Meetings; for the latest news, stay logged in to CSNBayArea.com and tune in to SportsNet Central tonight at 6 p.m., 10:30 and midnight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
The MLB Winter Meetings are on and the A's are making moves.
They traded starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Michael Ynoa to the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday, acquiring right-handed pitcher Chris Bassitt, catcher Josh Phegley and infielders Rangel Ravelo and Marcus Semien.
Ynoa, 23, is no small throw-in for the A’s to include in this deal. He made headlines in 2008 when Oakland signed him out of the Dominican Republic at age 16 for a $4.25 million signing bonus, the largest bonus the team has given to an amateur. But he’s missed the equivalent of two full seasons due to injury, including Tommy John surgery that wiped out his 2011 season. After beginning his career as a starter, the 6-foot-7 prospect went 4-2 with a 5.52 ERA in 31 Single-A relief appearances last season, his first year pitching exclusively in relief. Some scouts believe his stuff will play best out of the bullpen long term.
Samardzija’s name had swirled in trade rumors ever since the offseason began. The prevailing wisdom was that the A’s might wait until one of the high-profile free agent starters, such as Jon Lester, signed before dealing Samardzija just to get a better gauge of the market for him. But general manager Billy Beane said Monday evening that that factor wouldn’t impact the timing of a deal.
Semien, who attended St. Mary’s High-Berkeley and then played at Cal, is the key to the deal for Oakland from the standpoint that the A’s need a starting shortstop. Semien, who’s hit .240 in parts of two seasons with Chicago, has upside because of the power in his bat and he has the versatility to play second and third. But he’s not considered a marquee prospect. Neither is Bassitt, who turns 26 in February and went 1-1 with a 3.94 ERA in six appearances (five starts) last season with the Sox in his first taste of the majors.
The fact the A’s didn’t land a premium prospect for Samardzija indicates teams weren’t willing to give up too much for what may end up being one year of his service. The right-hander is a free agent after 2015 and has indicated he doesn’t plan to sign an extension until he hits the open market.
Bassitt, 25, made his MLB debut last year, going 1-1 with a 3.94 ERA over six games -- five starts -- for the White Sox.
Phegley, 26, spent much of 2014 in Triple-A, but has major league experience in each of the last two seasons, combining for a .207 average, seven home runs and 29 RBI in 76 games.
Ravelo, 22, hit .309 with 37 doubles, four triples, 11 home runs and 66 RBI in 133 Double-A games last season and was rated as the White Sox's No. 10 prospect by Baseball America after the season. He played 108 games at first base, spent 22 as the designated hitter and played third base for two games.