The last time the Oakland Athletics made the playoffs was when the team won the American League West back in 2006.
Things are looking awfully familiar to that memorable season as the A’s have been scolding hot in the month of July, posting an 18-3 record. The hot streak has catapulted the A’s into the top wild card spot and within 3.5 games of the division leading Texas Rangers. In a season that was anticipated to be a rebuilding year, general manager Billy Beane is looking to add pieces to help this team make a deep playoff run.
The areas where the A’s have received little to no offense are at shortstop, third base, catcher and first base. The A’s just completed a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers for George Kottaras to fix their lack of production at catcher. First baseman Chris Carter has been red hot with six home runs and 14 RBIs in 16 July games and is a key reason for the team’s success. The A’s will probably elect to see what they have in Carter rather than look to acquire a first baseman.
With the July 31st trade deadline approaching, here are some potential trade targets the A’s could consider:
Yunel Escobar, SS, Toronto Blue Jays
Avg .255 / HR 7 / RBI 35 / Runs 49 / SB 3
Shortstop is the biggest need for the A’s since Cliff Pennington went down. Neither of his replacements are hitting above .200 and are a major reason the A’s are 3rd to last in team batting average.
Escobar is 29 years old and has a team option for the next two seasons, so he could be a solution for at least three years and not just a three-month rental for the A’s. He’s an above average hitter and fielder who would come in and be a big upgrade at a position that needs improvement.
Chase Headley, 3B, San Diego Padres
Avg .265 / HR 12 / RBI 51 / Runs 51 / SB 10
Chase Headley has produced 12 home runs, which may not sound like much until you consider he is hitting in arguably the most pitcher-friendly park in baseball, Petco Park. Headley, like Escobar, is an above average hitter and fielder that would further strengthen the Athletics’ lineup while improving their defense.
Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Milwaukee Brewers
Avg .286 / HR 12 / RBI 61 / Runs 57 / SB 4
Aramis Ramirez is on the wrong side of 30 and may be struggling this year, but he is still an excellent hitter who strikes fear into opposing pitchers. He hit .306 with 26 home runs and 93 RBIs last year.
All he may need to get hot is a change of scenery. The other solutions on this list would provide extra punch to the bottom 3rd of the lineup, while the addition of Ramirez would provide a middle-of-the-order bat that could drive in runs. However, due to his age, he is more of a short-term fix than Headley and Escobar.
It’s a nice change to see excitement in Oakland again. Their fans deserve it. If the A’s can acquire one or two of these guys, there is no reason why that excitement can’t last into October.
Nick Domanico has contributed to Yahoo! Sports and is an editor at Sports Out West. For more insight, follow him on Twitter.