By: Chris Williams
The Oakland Athletics have called up their top prospect and consensus top pitching prospect, Sean Manaea, from AAA to start tomorrow’s game. He will pitch his first MLB game against the Houston Astros at home in the pitcher-friendly confines of O.co Coliseum. Manaea earns the promotion after starting the season with a 2-0 record, a 1.50 ERA, and 21 strikeouts in 18 innings of work in AAA. Manaea has the skills and build to become an ace for the A’s, but should at least be a regular starting pitcher. Friday should be a good indication, but not a decisive look, into the future of this bright young pitcher.
Here is the unobvious truth that lingers behind this move. Beyond just replacing the currently inept Eric Surkamp, the A’s are also looking into the prospects of replacing Sonny Gray. There is a lot of talk around Major League Baseball that Sonny Gray is the top pitcher potentially available on the trade market and there is not a close second. If Manaea can prove himself the way Jarrod Parker was able to in 2012 and Gray, himself, was able to in 2013 and 2014, the potential of Billy Beane sending Gray out for a hefty bag of prospects will go up immensely. Beane has never shied away from shipping out players in their prime, even when their salaries are team friendly, such as the Josh Donaldson trade.
Here is where things become a little less predictable; there is a chance that the A’s could could contend in the seemingly weak AL West. There is still a lot of the season left to be played, but as of now, the A’s seem to be in a strong position to only get better as the year goes on. If the team can continue to grow and play well, there is a stronger possibility that Beane will look to trade someone like Reddick for additional long-relief help and maybe even an additional starting pitcher. If you have ever followed the A’s even remotely close, there is really no telling what Beane and company will do.
The A’s will be making moves around the trade deadline and the position of the team in the AL West will be a strong indicator of which way the team goes. Will Sonny be in green and gold come 2017? Where is Josh Reddick going to end up? Is Sean Manaea the heir to the throne? What are your thoughts?