CHICAGO — Though the A’s were buyers at last year’s Trade Deadline, they plan to approach this year’s as sellers.
Laureano’s home run and double in Sunday afternoon’s 4-1 loss against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field showed the offensive boost that he can offer to a playoff team.
“There’s never a right time to trade anybody, because there’s always going to be fallout,” manager Mark Kotsay said on the trade rumors. “There’s always going to be [an] impact when someone’s removed from a group that they’ve been with for a period of time.”
According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Brewers have been in talks with the A’s for a deal involving Laureano. Sunday’s 2-for-3 day with a home run, a double, an RBI and a walk showed clubs a glimpse of what the 28-year-old can do at the plate.
Laureano’s home run off Dylan Cease in the second inning, on an inside fastball, traveled a Statcast-projected 415 feet with an exit velocity of 108 mph, his second-hardest-hit homer of the season. He then turned on another inside fastball off White Sox closer Liam Hendriks in the ninth for a 105.4-mph double.
Laureano has been working hard to make more contact with inside fastballs. Coming into the series finale, he was hitting just .188 with no home runs this season on fastballs thrown near the inside edge of the zone.
But he connected on both of those pitches on Sunday, resulting in his efficient day at the plate.
“The first pitch that he hit out was a ball in,” Kotsay said. “It was a great swing. He’s been working hard to hit that ball that’s in well, and he put a great swing on it there again in the ninth off Liam. Some good quality at-bats from Ramón today.”
Laureano has shown that same power over his five-year career, like when he hit a career-high 24 long balls in 2019. But it’s his all-around game that’s drawing interest from other teams.
Excluding the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Laureano has put together three consecutive campaigns with at least 10 home runs and 10 stolen bases. This year, he’s slashing .226/.310/.408 with 11 home runs, 23 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.
Since Laureano is under contract through 2025, the A’s might be able to get a little more value in return. But the outfielder isn’t focused on the Trade Deadline rumors.
“I’m here,” Laureano said. “I’ve got to play ball, got to make adjustments at the plate, and that’s what I’m focused on.”
Along with Oakland’s outfielder, Montas is a player that teams have their eyes on.
The A’s righty has garnered a ton of interest ahead of the Trade Deadline from teams like the Blue Jays, Yankees and Cardinals.
After finishing sixth in American League Cy Young voting last year, Montas has followed that up with a 3.18 ERA in 19 starts this season. He also has given up just five earned runs (1.96 ERA) over his last five starts.
But like Laureano, Montas hasn’t focused on the outside chatter.
“I think Frankie has done a great job with handling it,” Kotsay said. “It hasn’t been a distraction for him. Obviously, he is aware from what he reads and what he’s being told. From the outside, there’s a high probability of him being traded. That being said, Frankie comes prepared every day. Him and I talked about his mindset in terms of just his preparation, [and] his focus. Whether he starts for us on Tuesday or he starts for someone else, it’s about him being ready for that start and doing the things that he needs to do to prepare himself, just as he’s done all season.”
With the Trade Deadline less than 48 hours away, Laureano and Montas appear to be the two A’s players most likely to get moved. If they are traded, it will give more opportunities to rookies like Adam Oller, who gave up four runs across 6 1/3 innings with a career-high six strikeouts on Sunday in his seventh career start.
“Oller did a great job today,” Kotsay said. “That’s the best he’s thrown the ball.”