The Athletics finally addressed their weakness at shortstop late tonight, acquiring Stephen Drew from the Diamondbacks for minor league infielder Sean Jamieson.
John Gambadoro of 620 KTAR in Phoenix reports that the trade was made after Oakland claimed Drew off waivers from Arizona two days ago. The Diamondbacks will save a little over $3 million in the deal.
Drew was mentioned as a possible target for the A’s leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline last month and represents a potential upgrade over Cliff Pennington. Oakland has a major-league worst .187 batting average and .545 OPS out of the shortstop position this season.
To be fair, Drew is hitting just .193/.290/.311 with two home runs, 12 RBI and a .601 OPS in 40 games since returning from ankle surgery in late June, but his track record provides reason for optimism. Drew’s contract includes a $10 million mutual option for 2013 or a $1.35 million buyout.
Jamieson, 23, owns a lowly .234/.345/.354 batting line and a .699 OPS over his first two pro seasons. He’s known as a solid defender and has some speed, but it appears that the Diamondbacks were mostly motivated to save some cash here.
The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.
Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.
Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.