Oakland Athletics: Potential Free Agent Targets this Offseason

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Marco Estrada, Starting Pitcher, Toronto Blue Jays

Aug 27, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marco Estrada (25) pitches in the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Marco Estrada is not a name that jumps off the page when it comes to starting pitchers. Yet he could be a steal for the A’s, who can sign him to be the team’s fourth or fifth starter.

Up until this season, Estrada didn’t seem like he had much to offer as a starter in the MLB. His ERA was never lower than 3.64 and he never won more than seven games. Going on 30, it seemed as if Estrada truly had nothing left in the tank and that maybe it was time to hang them up.

But a trade from the Brewers to the Blue Jays involving Adam Lind changed it all.

The change of scenery has allowed Estrada to pitch to an 11-8 record with a 3.19 ERA and 105 strikeouts with only 43 walks. Estrada’s 3.19 ERA currently ranks as the 10th best in the AL. Estrada also carries a 2.6 wins over replacement margin, which puts him at 14th among AL pitchers.

While Estrada has had a great season, he won’t be commanding too much money based on past track record. The A’s can make an under the radar signing by bringing in Estrada in. If he can continue his 2014 ways, he can be a difference maker.

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Looking at the A’s current rotation, Sonny Gray is the only name that really stands out. Following him are Jesse Chavez, Felix Doubront, Chris Bassitt, and Aaron Brooks. None of them, save Chavez, are guaranteed a spot on next year’s pitching rotation. If the team brought in Estrada with this current rotation, he would immediately be the second best pitcher on the staff.

On paper, Oakland’s pitcher rotation isn’t too bad with an ERA of 3.64, good for third best in the AL. The only concern is that most of that was accomplished with Scott Kazmir.

After the All Star Break, the team’s ERA was inflated to 4.27, which is still ninth in the AL. The team will certainly need some help in the offseason.

Like Ramirez, Estrada is not the pretty pick, but could be the difference between a playoff team, or being back at the bottom of the standings.

Next: Joe Nathan