Since the 2011 off-season, the Oakland A's and the Washington Nationals have been each other's most frequent trading partner. That relationship continued on Monday when the A's and Nationals completed a deal that sent minor league prospect John Wooten to Washington in exchange for reliever Fernando Abad.
The deal is the fifth between the two clubs since December 2011, when the A's traded left-hander Gio Gonzalez and prospect Robert Gilliam to Washington for Tommy Milone, Derek Norris, A.J. Cole and Brad Peacock. Since then, the A's have traded and re-acquired catcher Kurt Suzuki from Washington, the Nationals re-acquired Cole from the A's and a whole host of other players have gone from one organization to the other.
In the latest deal, the A's have picked up a potential middle reliever for their 2014 bullpen in exchange for a prospect who was likely to make the jump from Low-A to High-A at the start of 2014.
Wooten was the A's 37th-round pick in 2012 out of East Carolina. The outfielder/third baseman hit .286 for the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters in 2012, leading the team in that category. In 2013, he hit 20 homers and posted a 764 OPS for the Low-A Beloit Snappers.
Wooten is a good athlete who can play all over the field. He has primarily played in the corner outfield spots for the A's, but also has experience at third, first and second base. Wooten will turn 23 in January. He joins Dakota Bacus as the second member of the A's 2012 draft class to be traded to Washington.
Abad is a 6'1'' left-hander and a native of the Dominican Republic. He originally signed with the Houston Astros in 2002 and he spent 10 seasons in the Astros' organization before joining the Nationals before the 2013 campaign. He made his major league debut in 2011, posting a 7.32 ERA in 19.2 innings with the Astros. He threw 46 innings for Houston in 2012, posting a 5.09 ERA.
Abad had arguably the best season of his career in 2013 with Washington. He began the year in Triple-A with Syracuse, but he was added to the Nationals' roster after posting a 1.06 ERA in 17 innings for the Chiefs. Abad would appear in 37.2 innings for Washington, and he posted a 3.35 ERA with a 32:10 K:BB. He was designated for assignment by Washington on November 20. Abad will be out of options going into next year, but he is not yet arbitration-eligible.
Abad is a hard-thrower and his fastball can reach the upper-90s. He also features a sinker, a change-up, a breaking ball and a cut-fastball. While with Washington, Abad struggled against left-handers, but he historically has pitched better against lefties than he has against righties. Abad has a long minor league track record of throwing strikes and allowing very few homeruns. He will be 28 on December 15 and he is currently pitching for the Toros del Este of the Dominican Winter League.
This could be the first of several deals the A's make over the next few days. The deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players is December 2nd. Going into the off-season, the A's had 11 players eligible for arbitration. They have released two of those players thus far this off-season (Pat Neshek and Scott Sizemore), but they still have to decide whether to tender offers to Jed Lowrie, Brandon Moss, Josh Reddick, Jerry Blevins, Seth Smith, Daric Barton, Fernando Rodriguez and John Jaso.