A’s ship Chavez to Jays for young reliever

The A’s had a good Friday afternoon, addressing the team’s largest area of need while giving little to do so.

Oakland traded starter Jesse Chavez to the Toronto Blue Jays in return for reliever Liam Hendriks, who is under club control for four more seasons and posted ridiculous numbers for Toronto last season.

Hendriks’ 2.92 ERA, 2.14 FIP and 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings come to the coliseum, and the A’s don’t lose much in Chavez, who has had two very good first halves with Oakland only to implode in both second halves.

The writing was on the wall for Chavez after the club signed journeyman starter Rich Hill earlier this week, though with Oakland drawing big interest in Chazez’s services, there was some questions about who the A’s might land.

Hendriks hasn’t had a stellar career, but is only 26 currently and was 5-0 in 58 relief appearances with Toronto last year, striking out 71 hitters in just over 64 innings while walking 11.

Hendriks has been a command pitcher for most of his career, but changed his mechanics some and added substantial velocity last year. His fastball velocity in 2014 was an okay 94 miles per hour, but blossomed to as high as 98 in his final season with the Jays.

If the change holds true, which is more likely than not after Hendriks threw more innings in 2015 than he ever had before, the A’s could have a dominant young reliever to pair with closer Sean Doolittle.

Both teams come out ahead on this one, Toronto is in win-now mode and though Chavez comes with limitations, he might get them where they need to be.

The A’s are still in building mode, though if Hendriks plays as well as Oakland wants, they’re a much improved team.

Other areas to improve

The A’s have a massive hole at third base to fill, and some capital to fill it with. Danny Valencia outplayed Brett Lawrie by a lot defensively last season, but also at the plate.

Lawrie’s over-aggressive and boneheaded mistakes cost the A’s a few wins, at least, and he led the league in errors by a third baseman as well.

Valencia, though, has been a platoon hitter for the bulk of his career, albeit a premium platoon asset. Oakland could shoot for a guy like Juan Uribe, who is nowhere near his prime but absolutely serviceable on both sides of the game.

The A’s could also shoot for David Freese.

Potentially on the trade block are Lawrie, Valencia, outfielder Josh Reddick and catcher Stephen Vogt.

While third base is the A’s biggest area of need, another premium starter would be nice to add, along with a two-way outfielder and another high upside bullpen arm.


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