Athletics Roll The Dice On Brent Honeywell

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The Athletics find themselves on the precipice of a full-scale teardown and extended rebuilding effort, yet they were able to take advantage of the Rays’ 40-man roster crunch on Friday evening, acquiring former top pitching prospect Brent Honeywell for cash considerations. It wasn’t too far in the rear-view mirror that the hard-throwing 26-year-old right-hander was one of the Rays’ top pitching prospects, and one of the most intriguing arms in the entire game, thanks to a plus changeup and signature screwball headlining an extensive five-pitch repertoire. Yet, an avalanche of persistent elbow injuries wound up requiring four surgical procedures and kept him sidelined for nearly four years in the process.

Honeywell finally made his major-league debut this past season, allowing four runs on five hits with a 4/3 K/BB ratio across 4 1/3 innings (three appearances, two starts). Given the Rays’ extensive pitching depth, he wound up spending the vast majority of the 2021 campaign at Triple-A Durham where he posted a solid 3.97 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 67/24 K/BB ratio across 81 2/3 innings.

There are obviously extreme concerns regarding his durability after so much missed time due to persistent elbow injuries, but Honeywell appears to be a worthwhile gamble for the Athletics entering the 2022 season. He projects as a potential mid-rotation starter if his fastball velocity ticks back up slightly into the mid-90’s, and manages to regain command and control of his extensive arsenal. From a fantasy perspective, Honeywell represents an intriguing late-round target in drafts next spring now that he will get an extended look in the majors with the Athletics next season. It will be easy to lose track of him in the flurry of transactions yet to come this offseason, but Honeywell has landed in a spot where the combination of stuff and opportunity could make him a relevant fantasy contributor next season.

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MLB Quick Hits: Cubs prospect outfielder Nelson Velazquez was named the MVP of the Arizona Fall League … Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reported Saturday that the Red Sox have expressed interest in free agent left-hander Robbie Ray … Spier also added that free agent left-hander Steven Matz hopes to make a decision on where he'll sign before Thanksgiving … Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported Saturday that the Tigers have expressed interest in free agent middle infielders Marcus Semien and Javier Baez … Heyman also reported that the Yankees offered free agent right-hander Justin Verlander a one-year, $25 million deal before he elected to re-sign with the Astros earlier this week … Cubs general manager Carter Hawkins told the Chicago Sun-Times on Saturday that he envisions Adbert Alzolay, Justin Steele, Keegan Thompson, Alec Mills and Brailyn Marquez pitching in versatile roles next season … Twins and OF Jake Cave avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $800,000 contract … Nationals re-signed INF Adrian Sanchez to a minor-league contract … Rays re-signed RHP David Hess to a minor-league contract.