The first strong trade rumors involving the Oakland A's surfaced Tuesday, with the team connected strongly with the Miami Marlins' Hanley Ramirez.
Oakland needs a shortstop. Cliff Pennington is on the disabled list due to a sore right shoulder that has shown no recent improvement, and his .197 average is the second lowest in the league. Ramirez, a three-time All-Star shortstop, is playing third base this year, but most scouts believe he's better at his original position.
The A's would be better able than most teams to put together an attractive package of pitchers. Although Jarrod Parker and Tommy Milone would be off limits, Wednesday's starter, A.J. Griffin, is likely to be available, along with Class AAA Sacramento right-hander Dan Straily, who leads all of baseball in strikeouts.
Other pitchers potentially available include Brad Peacock, obtained in the Gio Gonzalez deal; Tyson Ross and Graham Godfrey. The A's also have several relievers they might consider moving, expect for All-Star closer Ryan Cook and lefty Sean Doolittle.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Marlins had two scouts at Oakland's 7-2 win over the Blue Jays at Toronto on Tuesday, including special assistant Mark Wiley.
The Baltimore Sun reported that the Baltimore Orioles also have interest in Ramirez.
Ramirez has not always had the best reputation in the clubhouse, but character issues have not deterred Oakland from acquiring players in the past, and the current A's roster is a fun-loving bunch that has won six in a row. Oakland currently holds the second wild-card spot, and joining a young team in contention might be a good situation for Ramirez.