When the A's sent their ace Sonny Gray to the Yankees before the MLB trade deadline on July 31, two of the three prospects they acquired are out for the season.
"It was a little unique. I don't think in the case of a couple of these guys, had they not been injured, that we would have been able to discuss them," A's VP of baseball operations Billy Beane said Sunday on MLB Network Radio. "We view it as a risk certainly, but we also view it as an opportunity."
In the A's trade with the Yankees, New York sent over INF/CF Jorge Mateo, RHP James Kaprielian and OF Dustin Fowler. Kaprielian underwent Tommy John surgery in April. Fowler, in his MLB debut on June 29, ruptured his patellar tendon while sliding into the right-field wall on his attempt to catch a foul ball.
"Certainly in Tommy John, there is a good track record of guys coming back successfully," Beane said of Kaprielian. "And James' case, we expect probably the normal 13 months, which would take him to May of next year."
As far as Fowler's injury went, getting news on the 22-year-old outfielder was much different.
"The unique thing about Fowler's injury is it wasn't one you commonly see in baseball so we had to do a lot of consulting with NFL orthopedicts," Beane explained. "With the patellar tendon, it's more of an NFL injury. The success on the return has been very positive."
Despite the ugly injury in what should have been a day Fowler always remembered for all the right reasons, Beane is optimistic he will be ready to go next year.
"Our expectation is that Dustin will be ready for spring training. Obviously we're still early in the process, but that's our expectation."
Fowler is ranked as the No. 76 prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline and No. 89 in Baseball America's rankings.
Beane recognizes the risk in taking Fowler and Kaprielian, but clearly believes the reward is much higher down the road, saying, "We saw it as an opportunity to get two players we though were very talented."