2011 MLB Trade Deadline: Brad Ziegler Reportedly Dealt To Arizona Diamondbacks

The MLB trade deadline is right around the corner, and the Oakland Athletics will likely be sellers as July 31 approaches. We'll follow the A's moves as they attempt to rebuild for the future. For more on the Green and Gold, head over to Athletics Nation, SB Nation's Oakland Athletics blog.

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2011 MLB Trade Deadline: Diamondbacks Acquire Brad Ziegler From A's For Brandon Allen, Jordan Norberto

Mere minutes after noting the Diamondbacks were looking into Oakland Athletics relievers Brad Ziegler and Grant Balfour, a deal appears to be done. Reports indicate the A's will send Brad Ziegler to Arizona in exchange for first baseman Brandon Allen and reliever Jordan Norberto.

Allen has been up with the big league Diamondbacks since July 15. In 11 games, Allen is hitting .172 with 3 home runs and 7 RBIs. In 83 games at Triple-A, Allen had a line of .306/.427/.579 with 18 home runs and 66 RBIs. Allen was originally drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 2004 and was dealt to Arizona in 2009. He spent 243 games at Triple-A before getting the call up.

Norberto has been with the Diamondbacks Triple-A squad the entire season. In 41 games he is 6-2 with a 4.25 ERA and 1.48 WHIP. The A's have yet to announce the deal, so it remains to be seen whether Allen will join the big league squad. The A's have rolled out Conor Jackson at first just about every day lately so barring a Jackson trade, they'll have a decision to make. Allen did play some left field in 2010 for the Diamondbacks, so that does remain an option.

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MLB Trade Rumors 2011: Diamondbacks Kicking The Tires On Brad Ziegler, Grant Balfour

Now that the Red Sox attempts to acquire Rich Harden have fallen through and the Braves have acquired Michael Bourn, the Oakland Athletics appear content to at most deal some of their relief pitchers. Rich Harden likely won't be going anywhere and Josh Willingham will likely ride out the season with the A's. However, Oakland has a host of relief arms worth dealing.

Buster Olney is tweeting that the Arizona Diamondbacks have been looking into possible deals for either Grant Balfour or Brad Ziegler. The two right-handed relief pitchers have been among the best relief arms for the A's. Balfour is 4-1 with 2 saves and more importantly, a 1.93 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. More importantly, he has postseason experience as recently as his time in Tampa Bay.

Brad Ziegler hasn't been quite as dominant as Balfour but he has put together a very impressive season. In 43 appearances for the A's, Ziegler has a 2.39 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. Although he lacks postseason experience, Ziegler has closing experience which could come in handy if J.J. Putz were to falter down the stretch.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Rich Harden-To-Red Sox Deal Falls Through

In not so surprising news, the trade that would have send Rich Harden from the Oakland Athletics to the Red Sox for Lars Anderson and a player to be named later has fallen through due to concerns about Harden's medical records. Harden has dealt with numerous injuries throughout his career so it's fitting that they would hold up a potential trade. Harden has made five straight starts for the A's and is scheduled to make his next start on Tuesday. It would be interesting to know what about the medical records caused a concern, or if the Red Sox simply got cold feet on the deal.

For the A's, that sends them back to square one with Harden and unlikely to deal him. If he is able to finish out the 2011 season healthy it will be interesting to see if he sticks with the A's on an inexpensive deal or is able to secure a decent-sized deal around the league.

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2011 MLB Trade Deadline News: Red Sox Reportedly Close To Acquiring Rich Harden For Lars Anderson, PTBNL

As the 2011 MLB trade deadline approaches, Nick Cafardo and Kevin Goldstein are reporting that the Boston Red Sox are set to acquire Rich Harden from the Oakland Athletics. In return the A's would receive AAA first baseman Lars Anderson and a player to be named later. The deal has not been finalized but appears close to fruition. The Red Sox had sent scouts to recent A's games and appear to be set to bring in Rich Harden as a back of the rotation arm for the stretch run.

Although Rich Harden has been injury prone throughout his career, there is no denying the talent he brings to the table. Harden missed the first three months of the 2011 season but he has made five straight starts since coming off the disabled list July 1. In those starts he is 2-1 with a 4.30 ERA. Aside from a tough start against the Rangers, Harden has been quite solid in limited action.

Lars Anderson was drafted by the Red Sox in 2006 and has slowly worked his way up the ladder. He briefly stalled with Double-A Portland but kicked it up and earned a promotion to Triple-A in 2010. In 2011, he has a line of .261/.362/.420 with 10 home runs and 57 RBIs. Although his numbers aren't huge, the A's likely are fans of his high on base percentage. Additionally, considering Harden was a low risk investment, any return on him is like playing with house money.

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MLB Trade Rumors 2011: Can Red Sox Prospects Surpass Draft Pick Possibilities For Josh Willingham?

The Oakland Athletics approach the 2011 MLB trade deadline with talent to move, but question marks abound as to how badly they want to move players. Guys like Coco Crisp, Josh Willingham, Rich Harden, and a host of relievers are all available for the right price. The A's, however, don't feel teams are making sufficient offers at this point.

Over at Athletics Nation, Nico put together his best case scenario as the deadline approaches:

This is kind of my "best case scenario" hope right now: To get a decent young pitching prospect from Atlanta for Crisp, to get a desirable young player back from Boston by packaging two players, e.g., Willingham and Harden, and then to still take a shot at re-signing Willingham in the off-season, to a 3-year deal, as a "LF-DH".

The A's and Red Sox have discussed Willingham and Harden, although people are unsure how active those discussions are at this point. Although they're sellers in this trade market, they have to decide how valuable Josh Willingham is between possible prospects in return and draft picks if they let him walk.

The issue is further complicated by the A's own interest in re-signing Willingham. If they re-sign him from wherever he is dealt, they would likely then find themselves giving up a high draft pick due to Willingham's Type A status. If you're the A's, is a prospect worth that in a trade? I suppose it depends on which prospect that is, but it could play into their decision whether or not to deal Willingham.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Braves Post-Carlos Beltran Interest In Josh Willingham Intensifies

The Atlanta Braves were briefly in the mix for Carlos Beltran but now that he is likely off to join the San Francisco Giants, they are looking at some other options. They have been mentioned before in connection with Oakland Athletics outfielder Josh Willingham and now Ken Rosenthal is tweeting that Willingham is back on their post-Beltran radar.

The A's have reportedly been underwhelmed by most offers for Willingham and their other veterans. Willingham could be a Type A free agent, which means solid draft pick compensation if he walks in the offseason. The A's could very well re-sign him, but draft picks could be more valuable than low level talent they might otherwise receive.

Willingham has had a solid July hitting .278/.403/.500 with three home runs and would make a solid right-handed bat for the Braves, or any contender. He has been part of an A's offense that has seen a bit of a resurgence since the All Star break. The A's have been considered sellers, but if they continue their current winning streak into the weekend, maybe they consider standing pat and rolling the dice with what they've got on a late season run.

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MLB Trade Rumors: A's Underwhelmed By Offers For Josh Willingham, David DeJesus, Etc?

As the 2011 MLB trade deadline approaches, the Oakland Athletics appear content to potentially let it pass without much action if Billy Beane and company do not get the types of offers they might otherwise expect. Beane indicated they are taking calls on a variety of players but no deal has jumped out as a must-do:

"We've accepted calls on players, but we made it clear we're not going to give these guys away," Beane said. "We don't have any monetary issues, and we're not looking to dump payroll. If we did anything, it would have to help us significantly moving forward, not some team's prospect No. 37.

"In respect for Bob Melvin, we're not going to strip-mine things for two months for players of no consequence."

Although the A's are struggling below the .500 mark, they would seem content to let their various free agents walk and pick up draft pick compensation instead. As it currently stands, Josh Willingham projects as a potential Type A free agent and David DeJesus as a Type B free agent. If the trade market is not developing this week, it really would make the most sense to roll the dice on the kinds of players one could find with compensatory picks.

Of the bats, Josh Willingham would still seem to be the most likely traded by Sunday, but also the most likely for the A's to potentially try and extend as a building block. He's not a super star slugger, but he's become one of the more consistent offensive weapons for the A's in July. His numbers aren't spectacular, but a July line of .298/.414/.532 is nothing to sneeze at right now. If he keeps it up, maybe the A's roll the dice he can stay healthy.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Jim Bowden's Big Board As Trade Deadline Approaches

As the 2011 MLB trade deadline fast approaches, former GM Jim Bowden has been providing a great deal of analysis for ESPN. Recently he put together a Big Board breaking down the teams that are projected buyers and sellers, and then providing a rundown of the various top players available from the sellers. Given the Oakland Athletics current predicament, they are likely settled in as sellers for the 2011 MLB trade deadline.

Bowden's big board broke down the top players by position and then provided some basic analysis. For the A's, they find themselves with a mix of "top" players available. In left field, Josh Willingham is ranked second and Conor Jackson is ranked fifth. Jackson also gets a boost since he has regularly played first base for the A's and can play third in a pinch. For Willingham, it all comes down to his health concerns.

Bowden listed Coco Crisp as his fifth best center fielder available, right behind BJ Upton and ahead of Melky Cabrera based primarily on his track record. One would imagine his speed could benefit a contender considerably. David DeJesus rounded off the outfield as the fourth-ranked right fielder behind Jeff Fancoeur and ahead of Kosuke Fukudome. His ability to play all three outfield positions provides value to a contender. Bowden also included Hideki Matsui but there has not been a single word said about Matsui on the trading block.

Grant Balfour and Brian Fuentes are listed among the right-handed and left-handed relief pitchers. Balfour is the more valuable pitcher at this point but Fuentes does bring solid postseason experience in spite of his struggles this season. It will be interesting to see whether the A's decide to deal away Balfour given that he has a good deal of upside as a setup man. Of course, if they want to really rebuild this thing, maybe they deal him as well and go with young guys like Fautino De Los Santos.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Yankees, Red Sox Interested In A's Bullpen

One of the Oakland Athletics strengths heading into 2011 was their bullpen. The team had a solid bullpen in 2010 and improved it this season with veteran arms like Grant Balfour and Brian Fuentes. While the offense has not provided the pitching staff with many leads, the bullpen has generally done a solid job this year, minus a few hiccups along the way.

The 2011 MLB trade deadline is less than a week away and the A's are at a point where they'll likely start selling off some of their veteran arms. SI's Jon Heyman indicated the team is looking to unload Fuentes, Craig Breslow and Michael Wuertz, but is less inclined to deal Grant Balfour. A couple days later, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe indicated the Yankees and Red Sox both might be interested in Breslow.

All three pitchers could bring something to the table for a contender like Boston or New York. They have had their struggles this season but would add quality depth. Fuentes is a perfect example of a guy who has seen his value decrease but would still be of value. He has worked as a closer and a setup man and brings essential veteran experience.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Red Sox Reportedly Inquire About A's Rich Harden

The 2011 MLB trade deadline is a week away and the Oakland Athletics find themselves in a position to deal away some veterans. They have been playing decently since the All Star break and have actually climbed out of last place. However, they're still sitting 13 1/2 games out of first place and are 12 games under .500. Barring a huge run this coming week leading up to the trade deadline, they'll likely be selling off spare parts.

Until recently Josh Willingham was the primary player in which teams were interested. Recently though, the Boston Red Sox reportedly inquired about acquiring starting pitcher Rich Harden. The righty missed much of the first half of the season with shoulder issues but has now been back for four starts. His numbers aren't sparkling since returning but he could bring solid depth to many pitching staffs. He's coming off 5 1/3 innings of two run ball against the New York Yankees in which he picked up his second win of the season.

Harden still brings a live arm and would be a big help considering some of the injuries the Red Sox have dealt with in their rotation. Clay Buchholz is working his way back from a back injury and after Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, the Red Sox rotation has a lot of holes. While Harden remains a brittle pitcher he could provide a few key innings down the stretch run.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Athletics, Pirates Talking Josh Willingham, Craig Breslow?

Pittsburgh Pirates beat writer Rob Biertempfel tweeted that the Pirates are considering a deal to acquire Oakland Athletics outfielder Josh Willingham and middle reliever Craig Breslow. The deal would apparently involve OF Garrett Jones. Beyond that I'd imagine the A's would acquire a low level prospect or two and of course salary relief.

The Pirates maintain a 1/2 game lead in the NL Central and find themselves in the thick of a playoff race for the first time in nearly two decades. Team president Frank Coonelly has said the team will be moderate buyers at the deadline and are able to take on some salary in part due to the improved attendance during their recent run. Willingham would provide the team with some pop in the outfield while Breslow is a solid left handed arm for the sixth and seventh innings.

The A's are sitting deep in the AL West cellar and likely are going to go into a bit of a firesale mode in the coming days. They've go a variety of modestly salaried veterans that have not done much and will be hitting free agency in the offseason. It will be interesting to see how much of anything the A's are able to bring back in trades over the next week and a half.

A guy like Garrett Jones has some modest upside but has been struggling in 2011, hitting .237 with nine home runs and 34 RBIs. He peaked in 2009 when he hit .291 with 21 home runs and 44 RBIs in 82 games and boosted his RBI total to 86 in 2010 when he was given a full time role. However, he has struggled in his second season as a more or less full time outfielder.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Cincinnati Reds Interested In Coco Crisp

As the 2011 MLB trade deadline approaches in eleven days, sources are indicating to CBS Sports that the Cincinnati Reds have expressed some interest in Oakland Athletics centerfielder Coco Crisp. As the A's continue to struggle in 2011, they are likely going to be big sellers at the deadline. They have a variety of veteran players that are not super stars, but could fetch some moderate prospects in return.

Crisp is one such veteran who could provide a team like the Reds with a needed spark. The Reds outfield consists primarily of Jay Bruce, Drew Stubbs, and Jonny Gomes. While Gomes does provide some pop with 11 home runs, his .213 batting average can be a drag on the lineup. Additionally, outside of Drew Stubbs, the Reds do not have much in the way of speed. Adding Crisp would add a better batting average and significantly more speed. He could be inserted in the eight spot or in the one or two spot and give the lineup some excellent hit and run opportunities.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Pittsburgh Pirates Inquire About Josh Willingham

ESPN's Buster Olney is reporting that the Pittsburgh Pirates have contacted the Oakland Athletics and expressed interest in outfielder Josh Willingham. The Pirates have stunned many people by sticking around the NL Central division race, which means they could be buyers at the 2011 MLB trade deadline for the first time in a long time. Offensively, the Pirates outfield could use some additional depth and they think Willingham could be the answer.

The Pirates outfield has been led by All Star Andrew McCutchen who is hitting .282/.382/.493 with 14 home runs and 15 stolen bases. He has been joined by the recent emergence of rookie Alex Presley who has a line of .328/.389/.500 in 16 games since being called up late last month. Jose Tabata had been the primary left fielder but he's been on the disabled list for the last two weeks.

Willingham hasn't put together a spectacular season but he's been the biggest slugger for the A's, leading the team with 12 home runs. He would provide the Pirates with some additional pop as he already has more home runs than all but McCutchen on the Pirates roster. It remains to be seen what the A's would get in return, but given Willingham's contract status (free agent after this season) and his lack of big numbers, I'd imagine it would be a fairly low level prospect.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Is Coco Crisp On The Block With Grant Green Move To Centerfield?

As the 2011 MLB trade deadline approaches, the most prominent name mentioned among the Oakland Athletics current veterans is Josh Willingham. He's been the A's biggest right handed bat and while that isn't saying a whole lot, a playoff contender could likely find some use out of him during the stretch run.

While Willingham has been the name heard most frequently, Coco Crisp may soon join him in the trade rumors. Coco has been a leader for the A's but as a 31-year old veteran in the final year of his contract, the A's are likely to try and find a new home for him before July 31. The likelihood of this might have increased following news that the A's have moved minor league shortstop Grant Green to center field. Green was fairly abysmal defensively with 21 errors in 79 games at Double-A Midland. This follows a 37-error season at Single-A Stockton.

The A's decision to move Green to center field could speed up his chances of making the big league team. He's not hitting with quite the same home run power as he did at Single-A, but the doubles are still there. If he can carry some doubles power to the big leagues he could find a spot for himself.

For now the question is how long before he moves up to Triple-A Sacramento. If the A's do start to unload some veterans, current Rivercats centerfielder Jai Miller could get an audition in Oakland, opening up centerfield in AAA for Green. Miller is viewed by many as a 4A player, meaning he's finding success at AAA but can't quite make the leap to the big leagues.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Braves Reportedly Not Interested In Josh Willingham

The 2011 MLB trade deadline is two weeks away and as the Oakland A's have scuffled along, the vultures around the league have been circling the team. The A's are a relatively young team but they have a handful of veterans that could prove to be of some value. Among those is outfielder Josh Willingham. He struggled with an Achilles injury earlier this season but even with a couple missed weeks in June and July he still leads the team with 12 home runs.

The Atlanta Braves have been one team linked to Willingham. The Braves have indicated Willingham isn't "high on their list" but that does not mean a deal won't happen. Rather, that could be a mix of gamesmanship by the Braves front office and basically just waiting to see how their various options play out. When healthy (always a big if), Willingham can be a solid right-handed masher. He's in the midst of a modest seven game hit streak in which he's hitting .393 (11-for-28) with two home runs and five RBIs. It's not a lot, but given how the A's offense has performed it's not too bad. If he can keep it up over the next 14 days his value will only improve.

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2011 MLB Trade Rumors: Andrew Bailey Drawing Interest Around League

As the Oakland Athletics approach the 2011 MLB trade deadline, their current AL West deficit would indicate they are going to be sellers come July 31. They have a host of veterans they can move for some minor league prospects in hopes of rebuilding to a more competitive level. The first rumor though surrounds a youthful member of the team.

Ken Rosenthal shot out a tweet Friday afternoon in which he indicated teams around MLB have been calling the A's to inquire about closer Andrew Bailey. Naturally the A's current position is that they would need to be overwhelmed by an offer for their young closer. After missing the first two months of the season with a forearm injury, Bailey has been rock solid as the team's closer with eight saves and a 2.40 ERA. He blew a save before the All Star break but otherwise has continued his strong work as the team's closer.

When a team is in last place and 14 games under .500 it's hard to say anybody is "untouchable" on your roster. However, given the A's financial constraints, Bailey is a guy that would require a Herschel Walker type of offer that the A's simply cannot say no to. He is making close to the league minimum this season and will be arbitration eligible from 2012-2014. His salary will be rising in the coming seasons, but for now he is a guy the A's can build around. It will be interesting though to see what kind of offers leak out to the media over the next couple weeks.

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2011 MLB Trade Deadline News, Rumors: Oakland Athletics Likely Sellers This Year

Now that the 2011 MLB All Star Game is officially in the books, the next significant deadline in baseball is the July 31 MLB trade deadline. Of the four major sports, MLB's trade deadline generally has the biggest flurry of activity and this year should be no different. The league has seen its first major trade in which the New York Mets shipped closer Francisco Rodriguez to the Milwaukee Brewers. The Mets claim it's not the start of a firesale. Sure fellas.

While teams like the Brewers and the cross-Bay San Francisco Giant will likely be buyers this month, the Oakland Athletics are looking to be sellers this year. There are still two weeks until the trade deadline so that could change, but given the A's 12-game deficit, it's hard to see them climbing back into the AL West race. The offense has been abysmal and they've lost a variety of players to injury, including Brett Anderson's Tommy John surgery Thursday morning.

All in all it's been a rough 2011 season for the A's and they will likely be looking to unload veterans that are not particularly necessary moving forward. The A's added several veterans during the offseason and while none will command a lot of minor league talent, each could help add some minor league depth for the A's.

Among others, the A's could decide to deal Brian Fuentes, Josh Willingham, Coco Crisp, Hideki Matsui, David DeJesus, and Brandon McCarthy. That's not to say they'll deal all, some, or even any of these players. These are simply some of the names that could end up in trade rumors as the deadline approaches. Of that list, I'd imagine Fuentes, Willingham, and Crisp would be the most likely to depart over the next two weeks.

If the A's do in fact become the sellers many expect, we'll be here with all the latest rumors, news updates and trades as they happen. Oakland find itself in a tough position as a once-promising season has crumbled. Hopefully the trade deadline will bring hope for the future.

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