Thursday evening will be all about the Oakland A's future, but they made a deal that impacts their present on Thursday afternoon. In the midst of a five-game losing streak, the A's traded struggling utilityman Chris Coghlan back to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for utilityman Arismendy Alcantara. Alcantara, who is on the 40-man roster, will report to Triple-A Nashville. He had been playing at Triple-A Iowa.
Coghlan was acquired by the A's from the Cubs during the first week of spring training for right-hander Aaron Brooks. Coghlan was expected to be an everyday player for the A's while filling a utility role. Although Coghlan has played fairly regularly, he has struggled badly at the plate and it was becoming increasingly difficult for the A's to send him out there everyday. In 172 at-bats, Coghlan was hitting only .146/.215/.272 with five homers. He returns to the National League, where he had spent his entire career before joining the A's. Coghlan hit 16 homers for the Cubs last season. Chicago is currently the best team in baseball, but they recently lost outfielder Jorge Soler to a hamstring injury and Coghlan could fill in for Soler while he is out.
Alcantara was once one of the Cubs' top prospects, but he has struggled in limited big league time. The utilityman is a career .194/.252/.342 hitter with 10 homers in 81 major league games. Alcantara's minor league numbers are significantly better. He is a career .274/.327/.430 hitter with 57 homers and 149 stolen bases in 181 chances. A switch-hitter, Alcantara has above-average speed and he has seen his power numbers increase over the past three seasons, reaching double-digits in homeruns in 2013, 2014 and 2015. He can play second base, shortstop, third base and all three outfield positions. Although he has been in professional baseball since 2009, Alcantara is still just 24. He is currently hitting .264/.315/.437 with 21 stolen bases in 21 chances in Triple-A, although he has struck-out 61 times against just 15 walks. Alcantara is in his third option season.
The A's did not announce who will replace Coghlan on the A's 25-man roster. Earlier in the day, the A's placed Rich Hill on the disabled list, retroactive to May 30. They did not announce a replacement for Hill at that time either. With the A's off on Thursday, both promotions are likely to be announced before Oakland's game with Cincinnati on Friday.