When Gil Patterson left the Oakland A's organization for the New York Yankees, the A's didn't have…
Trade Analysis: A's Make Four-Player Deal
On Friday, the Oakland A's announced their second trade of the young offseason and are shipping off right-hander Tyson Ross and first base prospect A.J. Kirby-Jones to the San Diego Padres. Infielder Andy Parrino and southpaw Andrew Werner are headed to Oakland to help solidify the A's shortstop position and to add left-handed pitching depth to the A's 40-man roster. Parrino joins Eric Sogard and Adam Rosales as the only players on the A's current 40-man roster with significant experience at the shortstop position and - barring another move - will compete to become Oakland's starting shortstop in spring training. The switch-hitter boasts solid numbers during his six minor league seasons, although his recent numbers with Triple-A Tucson could be somewhat inflated given the offense-friendly nature of that ballpark. Over the last two seasons in the Pacific Coast League, Parrino combined to hit an impressive .327/.400/.472 (871 OPS), despite hitting just four home runs. His career .372 on-base clip falls right in line with the type of hitter the A's usually covet. He made his major league debut with the Padres in 2011, collecting eight hits in 24 games. Parrino started 2012 with the Padres, making 24 starts and appearing in 39 games, but struggled with just a 532 OPS. He spent much of the rest of the season in Triple-A before receiving a September call-up. The former 26th-round pick of the 2007 draft returned to the majors to have a good September, putting up a .333/.452/.375 slash line in 31 plate appearances. It didn't take the A's long to find their replacement for Cliff Pennington after moving him to Arizona earlier this offseason in the Chris Young trade. Parrino seems to be a very similar player in Pennington when comparing their minor league numbers, but Parrino has the edge with a 778 career OPS in the minors compared to Pennington's 722. Parrino has the versatility to play anywhere in the infield and has even made six major league appearances in the corner outfield positions. "Andy is really a self-made guy that busted his tail to get every ounce of his ability. I really can't think of anyone that is a harder worker that we have in our organization," Padres' Director of Scouting said in an interview with our sister site Madfriars.com. "Defensively he can play all over the place and play all the positions well. His versatility is a big strength with him and he's really worked very hard in the weight room to improve his power. For a guy his size he is very strong." Smith went on to say that Parrino got into some bad habits at the plate during his major league stint with Padres, which he successfully corrected during his time back in the PCL. Werner comes to the A's resembling a pitcher who found success early in his career with Oakland. The soft-tossing lefty compares very favorably to A's rookie Tommy Milone given Werner's emphasis on command and the use of his changeup. Werner proved to be a quick study since signing with the Padres as an undrafted free agent out of the independent Frontier League in 2010. It took him less than two seasons to jump from the Midwest League to the Majors, where he made eight starts with the Padres as a 25-year-old in 2012. Owning a fastball that averaged just below 88 miles-per-hour, Werner posted a 4.09 FIP in his first major league stint. He struck out 19.8 percent of hitters he faced while walking just 7.9, giving him a 2.50 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which was slightly down from his career 2.95 mark in the minor leagues. But while Milone was much more of a fly ball pitcher in his first full season in the majors (.64 ground ball-to-fly ball ratio), Werner got hitter to hit the ball on the ground at almost double Milone's rate at 1.16. MadFrairs.com named Werner their Padres' 2012 Double-A pitcher of the year and staff writer John Conniff recently named Werner his choice for the Padres' 30th-best prospect heading into 2013. Werner should head into spring training with an opportunity to claim a spot in the A's starting rotation, but there will be plenty of competition with the return of Brett Anderson, Jared Parker, Milone, A.J. Griffin, Dan Straily, Travis Blackley, Bartolo Colon and any other potential free agent acquisitions in the fold. Werner could also factor into the bullpen discussion. By losing Ross, the A's are giving up a very talented arm to the Padres. But what Ross was lacking was a defined role. Although a starter for much of his minor league career, Ross has moved between the rotation and the bullpen in the major leagues. He struggled badly with his command in 2012 in both roles, and there were discussions about moving Ross into a bullpen role permanently at the end of the 2012 season. When healthy and throwing strikes, Ross has a fastball that can reach the upper-90s, an excellent sinker and a wipeout slider. Over the past few seasons, Ross has struggled with his mechanics and with injuries and his stuff has suffered as a result. OaklandClubhouse.com recently spoke with the new A's minor league pitching coordinator and 2012 Sacramento River Cats' pitching coach Scott Emerson about Ross: "With Tyson, he came to the A's with a little unusual mechanics. The problem that you run into sometimes is that Tyson was throwing 95-96 MPH for us in Midland in 2009 and he was throwing strikes," Emerson said. "So when you've got a guy who is throwing strikes, how much do you really want to tinker with him? You change his mechanics and you lengthen out his stride, and the next thing you know, he's throwing 88-89. Now you've got another problem. "There's two reasons why guys don't throw strikes. One is mental. They just get into that mental – we call it "the thing" – and they just lose it mentally. And, two, they are physically hurting. I've seen guys who have gone to have successful careers in the big leagues with terrible mechanics. And I've seen great minor league guys who have great mechanics who never get to the big leagues. "With Tyson, it's just a matter of reminding him how he got to the big leagues. It's not pretty, but he was throwing 95-96 at one time with electric stuff. When Tyson gets his confidence back, it doesn't matter what his delivery looks like because his pitches are that good." With San Diego, Ross is likely to continue down the path of a reliever and projects to be a very good late-inning option should he stay healthy and maintain his imposing fastball and hard-breaking slider. He could join former A's closer Huston Street in the Padres' bullpen. A.J. Kirby-Jones is an intriguing prospect at first base who could be the steal of the trade should he figure out a way to improve his strikeout rate while maintaining his power. With Stockton in 2012, he put up a .248/.382/.461 slash line with 21 homers and 69 RBIs. But he has struck out more than 25 percent of the time in each of his three minor league seasons in the organization. A ninth-round pick of the A's out of Tennessee Tech in 2010, Kirby-Jones was a Northwest League All-Star in 2010 after he posted an 867 OPS and walked 61 times in 75 games. He struggled with injuries and inconsistency in 2011 with Low-A Burlington but rebounded for a big season in 2012 with the Ports. Kirby-Jones has power to all fields. At just 5'10", Kirby-Jones certainly doesn't have the build of a typical first baseman, but he has improved defensively each season as a pro.
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