4. Brent Rooker - OF, Oakland Athletics
There's not much pleasantry surrounding Oakland and their current state of affairs. To be quite honest, the Athletics are terrible and their ownership appears to be content with being so as long as it nets the team the ability to relocate. Fans be cursed, the Vegas promised land will surely fix all of their problems.
Blatant tanking aside, Oakland has come across a promising young outfielder in Brent Rooker. Rooker is in year one of his pre-arbitration eligibility, which means that his cost is going to be more prospect driven than anything. Oakland is not a playoff contender and they are unlikely to extend Shane Bieber if they acquired him via trade, so look for Oakland to get back a haul of prospects if they trade him. Again, everyone has a price.
There is precedent to believe the Guardians and Athletics could get a deal done. Cleveland was linked heavily in the off-season to rumors surrounding Sean Murphy, but the deal fizzled as Oakland's alleged asking price was astronomical. Here's some comparison of what the A's asking price was from St. Louis in exchange for Murphy:
Murphy would eventually be traded to the Braves.
As for Rooker, his 2023 is off to a solid start worthy of being talked about. In 48 games, he is batting .261/.364/.509 with eleven home runs and eight doubles. While his OPS tallies at .864, his wRC+ (weighted runs created plus) is 146, meaning he produces offense 46% better than a league average hitter. Keep in mind that wRC+ accounts for ballpark factor, and Oakland has a park factor of 95 -- meaning that the park slightly favors pitchers. This means that Rooker's slugging factor is no joke. His splits are very traditional for a right-handed hitter and are:
For a team in need of some serious smash versus left handed pitching, Rooker would be a nice piece provided that the A's would actually sell him at a price that Cleveland would agree to. His slugging against RHP is by no means terrible and would absolutely be a welcome addition. It's no secret that Cleveland's front office team runs a tight ship in terms of not getting cheated in the trade market, and that was further solidified by the refusal to pay the A's astronomical ask for Sean Murphy.
If the price is right, this trade looks a bit different as it does not use Shane Bieber as leverage. This deal (using previous trades Oakland has made as a reference) will pull from Cleveland's deep farm system. The A's farm system isn't anything to write home about in its current state, which means they should be looking for good, young talent. Cleveland would send Joey Cantillo, Angel Martinez, and Petey Halpin in exchange for Brent Rooker, J.T. Ginn, and Joey Estes. Ginn and Estes are mid 90's fastball throwers with decent command, exactly what Cleveland likes.
It may be wishful thinking to assume the A's would make such a deep prospect heavy deal on both sides - as both teams are taking a large leap of faith in the future outcome of all players involved, but it's not impossible. Cleveland could even potentially include Amed Rosario to increase the return and to clear the way for Brayan Rocchio to take the reins at shortstop in 2024. Rooker has cooled off a bit in the month of May, but his ceiling is high enough that Antonetti should at least make a phone call.