A's Acquire Two Pitchers For Scutaro

Over the weekend, the Oakland A's made their first trade of the off-season, dealing infielder Marco Scutaro to the Toronto Blue Jays for two minor league pitchers. Inside, we take a look at the trade and the newest members of the Oakland A's organization.

The Trade: Oakland sends infielder Marco Scutaro to Toronto for RHPs Graham Godfrey and Kristian Bell.


The Impact On The Oakland A's

Scutaro was a fan favorite for his late-game heroics.
With infielders Bobby Crosby and Eric Chavez missing significant parts of the 2007 season, the Oakland A's had an opportunity to play a number of younger players in the infield during the season. Donnie Murphy and Jack Hannahan, in particular, were in the line-up a lot over the final few months of the season and both showed promise. Hannahan posted a 793 OPS in 144 at-bats and Murphy had a .441 SLG and six homers in 118 at-bats for the A's in 2007. In addition, Kevin Melillo and Gregorio Petit performed well in the middle infield at the Triple-A level last season.

That middle infield depth allowed the A's to trade Marco Scutaro, who had been the team's valuable back-up infielder since 2004. Scutaro was arbitration eligible this off-season and was likely to earn upwards of $2 million in 2008. The Venezuelan native posted a 693 OPS in 338 at-bats for the A's in 2007. His best season with Oakland came in 2006 when he had a 747 OPS in 365 at-bats and starred in the post-season. Thanks to injuries to Crosby, Chavez and Mark Ellis over the past four seasons, Scutaro appeared in more than 104 games in each year since 2004 for Oakland. He was best known for his knack for collecting walk-off hits, including a dramatic walk-off, three-run homerun off of the Yankees Mariano Rivera in April of 2007.

Scutaro's departure means that the A's are likely to carry two of the following four players next season: Hannahan, Murphy, Melillo or Petit. Hannahan and Murphy are likely to enter spring training as the favorites to make the A's 25-man roster, but both Melillo and Petit should to get long looks and could win spots with strong showings in spring training.


What The A's Got In Return

In exchange for Scutaro, the A's received two young right-handed pitchers from the Toronto organization: Graham Godfrey and Kristian Bell. Godfrey spent the 2007 season at the Low-A level with Lansing, while Bell was with High-A Dunedin. Below are brief profiles of each pitcher:

Graham Godfrey
Age: 23
H/W: 6'3''/ 205 LB
Godfrey will turn 24 in August 2008.
2007 Stats: 6-7, 3.98 ERA, 74 K, 36 BB in 110.2 IP in the Midwest League (Low-A)

Godfrey was selected in the 34th round in 2006 out of the College of Charleston. A draft-eligible sophomore, Godfrey was considered a tough sign and fell from being a 5th through 10th round pick to a lower round pick because most teams thought he would go back to Charleston for another year of college. Godfrey signed with Toronto for $200,000 late during the signing period and didn't play minor league baseball during the 2006 season.

He was held back at extended spring training at the start of this season to work on his change-up and he joined the Low-A Lansing rotation in May. Godfrey got stronger as the season went on, posting a 4.71 ERA in seven starts before the All-Star break and a 3.63 ERA in 14 starts after the break. He struck out only 74 batters in 110.2 innings, but he did a good job of keeping the ball on the ground, inducing nearly two groundball outs for every flyball out.

Godfrey has a good fastball that sits in the 91-94 MPH range and a hard curveball that could be an out-pitch. He also throws a slider and a change-up. Both his slider and change-up are works-in-progress. He has good size for a starting pitcher and the fastball to succeed at the higher levels. The A's will likely emphasize improving his change-up when he joins the team this spring.

OaklandClubhouse.com's Toronto sister site, InsideTheDome.com spoke with Godfrey mid-season. To read the interview, click here.

Kristian Bell
Age: 23 (will be 24 in January)
H/W: 6'1''/ 195 LB
2007 Stats: 3-7, 5.33 ERA, 46 K, 28 BB in 77.2 IP in the Florida State League (High-A)

Bell has a good fastball but needs to improve his mechanics.
Bell was taken in the 11th round of the 2004 draft out of Blinn Junior College. The Texas native was a reliever in 2004 and 2005, but he was moved into the starting rotation in 2006. He served as a swingman for the Dunedin Blue Jays in 2007, starting 11 games and relieving in 11 more.

Bell has always had a very good fastball, which sits in the low-to-mid-90s and has sink. However, he has struggled with his command and with repeating his throwing motion throughout his minor league career. Bell throws a 12-to-6 curveball, a slider and a change-up. His change-up is his best secondary pitch. He has an unorthodox throwing motion that has been a source of concern throughout his career.

The Blue Jays tried Bell as a starter, but he is probably best suited for the bullpen given his control problems and his high-effort delivery. With a plus-fastball and a good change-up, Bell could be a solid reliever if he is able to throw strikes more consistently. He will likely move more quickly through the A's organization as a reliever.

InsideTheDome.com published a scouting report on Bell before the 2007 season. To read the report, click here.

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