The A’s struck for their second trade in five days Monday, shipping closer Tyler Clippard to the New York Mets for minor league right-hander Casey Meisner.
It was widely expected that utility man Ben Zobrist would be the next veteran to go after Oakland traded left-hander Scott Kazmir to Houston on Thursday. Instead the A’s parted ways with Clippard, the third of the trifecta of A’s veterans believed to be most coveted by contending teams. Zobrist is still expected to be dealt before Friday’s non-waiver trade deadline.
In Meisner, the A’s get a 6-foot-7, 20-year-old starting pitcher who was ranked 20th among Mets prospects in MLB.com’s preseason rankings. A third-round draft pick in 2013, Meisner began the season at Single-A Savannah and went 7-2 with a 2.13 ERA in 12 starts. He was promoted to high Single-A St. Lucie on June 27 where he went 3-2 with a 2.83 ERA in six starts. Meisner has combined for a 10-4 record and a 2.35 ERA in 18 starts overall.
Like the two players obtained for Kazmir – catcher Jacob Nottingham and pitcher Daniel Mengden – Meisner is an acquisition geared toward the future. He would appear to be at least two years away from the majors. Both Nottingham and Mengden are with Single-A Stockton.
The A’s are looking to improve their farm system depth, with starting pitching a particular need throughout their ranks.
It remains to be seen who handles the A’s closer duties after the departure of Clippard, who was filling in for the injured Sean Doolittle. Lefty Drew Pomeranz was showing promise as a setup man and is an option, but that means taking him out of the starting pitching equation. Edward Mujica notched 37 saves in 2013 for St. Louis and might be considered. Lefty Eric O’Flaherty has been pegged for spot closer’s duty in the past and Fernando Rodriguez has the velocity to perhaps be considered.