Monday’s trade points to some new faces likely getting a crack with the A’s over the season’s final two months.
With Josh Reddick and Rich Hill now wearing Dodger uniforms, the A’s have a hole in right field and will be looking to shore up their rotation depth.
General manager David Forst mentioned Danny Valencia, Max Muncy and center fielder Jake Smolinski as players who could slot in and take some of the innings in right field. But look for newly acquired Brett Eibner to get called up sometime soon and get time in center or possibly right. The 27-year-old right-handed hitter was acquired Saturday from Kansas City for Billy Burns. Eibner played center field in his debut with Triple-A Nashville on Monday and had an interesting night at the plate — a homer, two runs scored and four walks.
“We’ve seen Brett be able to play all three positions in the outfield very well and provide power from the right side,” Forst said. “Hopefully we’ll see him in the big leagues this season. Kansas City put a premium on Billy. They came to us looking for a deal.”
Of the three right-handers the A’s received from the Dodgers on Monday, 24-year-old Jharel Cotton could realistically get called up at some point this season. Cotton was the No. 8 prospect in the Dodgers system, as ranked by Baseball America, and was selected for this year’s Futures Game. He was 8-5 with a 4.90 ERA for Triple-A Oklahoma City and features a low 90’s fastball and excellent changeup as his best secondary pitch. He’ll enter Nashville’s rotation.
Grant Holmes, 20, was the Dodgers’ No. 3 prospect and is just two years removed from being a first-round pick out of high school in South Carolina. He’ll join Single-A Stockton. The A’s had been scouting Holmes for a while.
“He’s a guy we focused on at the beginning of any conversation with the Dodgers,” Forst said. “He’s only 20 and has a chance to move quick.”
The A’s will have to wait a while to see Frankie Montas, whose fastball reportedly touches 100 miles per hour. He required rib surgery in spring training, and while coming back from that, suffered a stress fracture of a second rib. Forst said the A’s medical and training staffs examined his records and gave a thumbs-up for his long-term recovery. If all goes according to plan, Montas, 23, will begin a throwing program soon and could pitch in the Arizona Fall League.
“He’s a special enough talent, we were willing to be patient,” Forst said.
Holmes and Montas were both ranked on Baseball America’s midseason top 100 overall prospect rankings.