Oakland Athletics trade Jorge Mateo to San Diego Padres for PTBNL

Oakland Athletics (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Oakland Athletics (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Oakland Athletics have traded prospect Jorge Mateo to the San Diego Padres for a player to be named later.

The return of Major League Baseball, at least as scheduled, remains on track. There’s no better sign of that than the first trade since the league unfroze transactions.

As the Oakland Athletics aim to make a deep playoff run in the pandemic shortened season, they’ve begun addressing one impending reality.

Their collection of infield talent has created a backlog that leaves a number of talented players out of options with nowhere to go.

White Cleat Beat’s own David Hill examined how Jorge Mateo probably needed a 29-man roster to stay in Oakland’s organization. Ultimately, his time in Oakland has come to an end.

Mateo was signed as an international free agent by the New York Yankees in 2012 and pretty quickly got on scouts radar when he stole 49 bases in his first full season of action in the Dominican Summer League.

By 2016, Mateo was a consensus top-100 prospect and he’d hold that status for the next few seasons.

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At the peak of his prospect status in the summer of 2017, the Yankees packaged Mateo with Dustin Fowler, and James Kaprielian to acquire Sonny Gray from the A’s.

Mateo finished out a fantastic season with the A’s Double-A affiliate in Nashville and was set to move to the highest level of the minors the following season. That’s where Mateo stalled out.

Jorge Mateo would never reach his full potential with the Oakland Athletics.

In 2018, Mateo hit just .230/.280/.353 with Nashville (the A’s Triple-A affiliate) and was caught on close to 30 percent of his stolen base attempts. Last season, Mateo began tapping into more of his power and cranked out 19 home runs and produced 62 total extra-base hits.

His overall triple-slash line was much more respectable at .289/.330/.504. However, in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, that line was still four percent below league average, according to FanGraphs wRC+ metric.

The red flags are obvious with Mateo. His aggressive approach at the plate has led to higher strikeout rates and lower walk rates as he’s faced harder competition.

Even in his improved production from 2018 to 2019, Mateo still struck out over 25 percent of the time and walked just 5.1 percent of the time.

His calling card is 80-grade speed, which immediately makes him the fastest player in the Padres 60-man player pool. He does have above-average raw power and the ability to play anywhere on the infield. If you’re the Padres your dreaming on that toolset.

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He’ll likely compete with Greg Garcia to be San Diego’s primary backup for Jurickson Profar and Fernando Tatis Jr. While many are skeptical of Mateo’s ability to handle big-league pitching, I’d still give him the upper hand over Garcia.

Last season, with Ian Kinsler, Tatis, and Manny Machado manning the infield, Garcia’s left-handed bat offered a nice platoon option. Now, Profar is the most likely starter to be getting rest. While Profar is a switch-hitter, he’s been a better career hitter against righties than lefties.

Garcia lacks any exceptional tool and Mateo combines his defensive flexibility with game-changing speed. It’s also worth noting that Mateo is still an unfinished product.

He turned 25 just a week ago and with some refinements to his approach could be a marginal everyday player. According to FanGraphs Board, Mateo received a 40-future value grade and ranked among the A’s top-20 prospects prior to the move.

The player to be named later will likely be a lower-level prospect in San Diego’s loaded system. It could be a player in the upper minors with options remaining, but that’s unlikely.

Since the league banned any trades involving players not on team’s 60-player pools expect to see more PTBNLs than usual.

Next. Oakland Athletics: Previewing potential 2020 Opening Day starters. dark

Mateo has enough prospect pedigree that the A’s should get a piece with an intriguing tool or two, but definitely not a player of his caliber.