While he isn’t drawing as many headlines as some of his teammates, Athletics outfielder Ramon Laureano is among the team’s more popular trade targets, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Interest in Laureano is only natural, given Oakland’s willingness to listen on virtually any player and the dearth of center-field options remaining in free agency. That said, Laureano’s trade candidacy is a bit muddier than that of teammates like Matt Chapman, Frankie Montas, Sean Manaea and Lou Trivino.
The 27-year-old Laureano is currently in the midst of an 80-game PED ban that still has 27 games left to serve. Prior to the suspension, Laureano was on pace to reach free agency following the 2024 season, but the service time he’ll miss due to this suspension now makes it appear likely that his path to free agency will be pushed back until after the 2025 campaign. With a potential four seasons of control over Laureano as opposed to three, the A’s may be less inclined to part ways with him — or at least to ask a higher price in return.
Since coming over from the Astros as a generally unheralded prospect in the 2017-18 offseason, Laureano has given the A’s 313 games and 1257 plate appearances of .263/.335/.465 production while playing strong defense around the outfield. He’s swatted 49 home runs and swiped 34 bases in that time as well.
Some more notes on the outfield market as a whole…
- In the hours after Derek Jeter left the Marlins, reports indicated that part of the rift that had grown between Jeter and principal owner Bruce Sherman stemmed from a shift in Sherman’s payroll expectations. Nick Castellanos, in particular, was a rumored target of Jeter, with MLB Network’s Jon Heyman suggesting that Jeter had been willing to green-light a five-year offer for the front office to put forward. While Sherman himself pushed back on those reports just this week and emphasized that the Marlins plan to spend money post-lockout, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets that the Marlins’ pursuit of Castellanos has indeed cooled off considerably. Ownership, according to Jackson, is no longer comfortable making that type of commitment to Castellanos. That said, Jackson emphasizes that the Castellanos shift is “not the main reason Jeter is gone” but rather one of many issues that contributed to the divide between Jeter and Sherman. Jackson writes that they’ve checked in with the reps for free agent corner outfielder Jorge Soler, who turned things around upon a midseason trade from the Royals to the Braves last season.
- The Guardians are among the teams with interest in free-agent outfielder Joc Pederson, tweets MLB.com’s Jon Morosi. Beyond center fielder Myles Straw, there’s little to no certainty in the Cleveland outfield. Highly-regarded prospect Steven Kwan appears ready for a look after a huge showing between Double-A and Triple-A last year, but he’s yet to actually make his MLB debut. Meanwhile, Bradley Zimmer and Oscar Mercado both turned in below-average performances at the plate. The Guardians seem all but certain to bring in some outfield help, and Pederson would make sense as a potential platoon pairing with Mercado, who batted .294/.381/.435 against lefties even in a down year overall.
- Thomas Harding of MLB.com tweets that the Rockies have also shown some interest in Joc Pederson. Colorado has been linked to bigger-ticket outfielders in their search for offensive help, although it seems Pederson’s at least on the radar as a possible fallback option. The past two seasons have been fairly disappointing for Pederson, who looked like a middle-of-the-order caliber bat (at least against right-handed pitching) during his early days with the Dodgers. Since the start of 2020, he’s a .227/.304/.416 hitter over 619 plate appearances.