The A's are within striking range in the American League with the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline just 12 days away.It's forcing the front office to consider the market, as an offensive improvement at shortstop would round out the A's lineup and set them up for meaningful baseball down the stretch.It's been reported that the last-place Phillies would seriously entertain trade offers for Oakland native Jimmy Rollins. Rollins, a three-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner, signed a whopper of a contract before the season that will pay him 11 million a year through 2014, with a vesting option for 2015 based on plate appearances. It's a contract that will make most teams pass.That contract, boy oh boy... one MLB general manager was quoted. Though Rollins is a bit of a longshot, the A's are in a unique position to absorb a large contract. Oakland possess the fourth-richest ownership group in the majors to go along with the second lowest 2012 payroll. The money is there, it's just not being utilized.RELATED: Are A's buyers or sellers? One hurdle to clear is figuring out if Rollins would accept a trade to Oakland. As a 10-5 player (10-plus years of MLB service, the last five with the same franchise), Rollins has the power to veto any trade.What would the A's have to give up for Rollins? It wouldn't be a salary dump for the Phils, who surely expect to compete in future seasons despite the road bump they hit in 2012.Cliff Pennington would make a superb untility infielder in Oakland, but he would likely be a part of the hypothetical deal.The A's have a number of right-handed pitching prospects that might interest the Phillies, led by A.J. Cole, the 20-year-old hurler acquired from Washington in the Gio Gonzalez trade who is tearing up Single-A. Brad Peacock came over in the same trade. Raul Alcantara came over from the Red Sox in the Andrew Bailey trade. And there's last year's first-round draft pick Sonny Gray.Rollins would bring the A's an established bat in the lineup, one manager Bob Melvin could use at the top of the lineup or at the bottom. He would provide critical experience with 46 postseason games, an MVP and a World Series title to his name. And he would instantly become the A's most respected shortstop since Miguel Tejada skipped town after 2003.After earning the respect of the Texas Rangers with a two-game series split, the A's face a pivotal four-game set against the MLB-best New York Yankees. Steal a couple games there, and it will be hard to justify selling at the deadline.
Would Rollins to the A's work?
July 20, 2012, 12:48 am