Mock Trade #3
To TB: OF Ramon Laureano
To OAK: RHP Luis Patino, IF/OF Vidal Brujan
The Oakland A's don't have many players left to trade from their core that made the postseason 3 years in a row, but Ramon Laureano is one of the few that remains, and he is another potential solution in center field for Tampa Bay. He's under team control until the end of 2024, and his cheap salary of $2.45M automatically makes him an attractive trade candidate for the Rays. He has done pretty well for himself following his return from a PED suspension, with 10 home runs and a 106 OPS+ in 69 games so far this season. As well, he has the highest barrel rate (21%) of all the available bats at the deadline in July up to this point, which is a good indicator that he's perfecting his offensive approach in time for trade season.
An interesting quirk about Laureano is the fact that he doesn't walk a whole lot (8.1% BB rate in 2022), but he is able to maintain a big difference between his average and his OBP by consistently being at or near the top of the hit-by-pitch leaderboard. His 12 HBP led the AL in 2020, and he has already been plunked 7 times this year. It's an adage as old as baseball's statistical revolution itself: it doesn't matter how a player gets on base, as long as he does.
In order to get Laureano, I have the Rays sending just a couple of young players, which may seem like too low of an amount for an outfielder with team control, but both of them would likely get consistent playing time on the big-league roster as early as next season. The first is Luis Patino, who held his own at a young age last season for the Rays but hasn't been able to find a way onto their roster for very long this year. He posted a 4.31 ERA, 4.51 FIP, and 1.27 WHIP in 19 appearances in 2021, with 15 of those being starts.
He was just optioned back to AAA a few days ago, and because the Rays are so desperate for healthy contributors, it's easy to lose patience with Patino and forget the fact that he is just 22 years old. Even with the number of injuries they're dealing with, there isn't much room on the roster for Patino right now. On a rebuilding A's team, he would be sure to get plenty of run and have all the time in the world to tap into his full potential.
The second young player I have going the other way is Vidal Brujan, and at 24, it's too early to fully give up on him, but his big league track record has proven that it's likely he won't reach his initial forecasted ceiling from his minor league days. Brujan has a career OPS of .427 in 58 career games, but he was thought of very highly when he was a full-fledged prospect. The thing is, he's probably too good for AAA at this point, so going to an organization that's more focused on developing their young players as opposed to winning would serve him well.