By Jason Wojciechowski on July 3, 2005 at 11:31 AM
In the Contra Costa Times today comes this:
"Obviously at this point I think things are advancing," Kotsay said. "Billy and I had a brief chat today. It went good. I've said from the beginning, I think something will get done." Kotsay has a player option next year, and is seeking a three-year extension, worth in the neighborhood of $7 million per season. The A's are reluctant to give Kotsay a no-trade clause, according to a source familiar with the talks. ... The New York Post reported the Yankees turned down a deal that would have sent Rookie of the Year candidate Robinson Cano, center field prospect Melky Cabrera and 19-year-old pitching prospect Philip Hughes to the A's for Kotsay. Hughes is drawing comparisons to Roger Clemens at his age. The Newark Star-Ledger reported the Yankees were trying to acquire Florida Marlins outfielder Juan Encarnacion, whom they would then try to package in a deal for Kotsay.
Seven million a year is a lot for a guy going into his early thirties who's already struggling in the power department. Sure, he's a marvelous defensive center fielder, but isn't defense being undervalued in the market these days? Can't the A's get a good glove to stick out there that'd put up a .350 slugging percentage for about a tenth the cost? Remember, Alex Sanchez is out-hitting Kotsay right now.
Also, pray, pray hard, that Kotsay's contract does not include a no-trade clause. Oakland, in the event that they do get their center fielder extended, needs to leave itself an out two years down the line when the Red Sox need an outfielder for the stretch and are prepared to take on some salary. Sure, 3/4 of the money will already have been paid out by then, but I don't like the idea of the A's locking themselves in to a situation that could really hurt them. I have faith, though, that Beane doesn't like this idea any more than I do.
I don't know anything about Cabrera and Hughes (I'll look at the prospect books tomorrow), but three young players, all presumably with some "upside potential" for a struggling, late-20's outfielder? Not bad if the A's can get it. I think if they wait around long enough and the Yankees continue to punt game after game, they might get good stuff eventually.
And Juan Encarnacion? Do I really have to express my displeasure? Unless there's some three-way deal afoot, the idea of Encarnacion being involved in any trade with Oakland is just nasty.