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With the St. Louis Cardinals signing Willson Contreras and effectively taking themselves out of the Sean Murphy sweepstakes after the A's asked for an absolute haul, the market is pretty open to where the Oakland backstop could land. The Arizona Diamondbacks have young, controllable, big league-ready outfielders that could entice the A's, but what about the rest of the package? 

Let's take a look! 

Arizona has said that top prospect Corbin Carroll is off the table, and for this exercise we're going to respect their wishes. That likely leaves either Jake McCarthy or Alek Thomas as the centerpiece of this deal. 

McCarthy is 25 years old, and was used primarily in left and right field, and is roughly league average defensively in all three outfield spots. He hit .283 with a .342 on-base last season in 354 plate appearances, adding eight home runs and 23 stolen bases. He struck out 21.5%, which is in line with what the A's have been targeting, but he also walked just 6.5% of the time, and other than sprint speed, which ranks in the 98th percentile, McCarthy's Baseball Savant page has a lot of blue on it. The next-highest rating he had in 2022 was in expected batting average, which ranked in the 53rd percentile. 

The other 13 categories see him mostly in the 20-30% range. Not exactly the upside you want in a centerpiece. That all said, he did finish with a 118 OPS+, or 18% better with the bat than league average, and finished fourth in NL Rookie of the Year voting, right behind Brendan Donovan, another player the A's have asked for in exchange for Murphy. 

McCarthy will be arbitration eligible after the 2024 season and won't hit free agency until after the 2028 season. 

The other guy the A's could target here would be Alek Thomas, who played in 113 games with the Diamondbacks in 2022, all in center field. He didn't enjoy the same level of success as McCarthy at the dish, batting .231 with a .275 OBP, but he also hit eight home runs and struck out 18% of the time as a 22-year-old. 

Fastballs and changeups gave him a tough time in 2022, which seems like a pitch recognition issue, but that's fixable. 

Like McCarthy, Thomas ranked highly in sprint speed, in the 95th percentile, but he was also a plus defender in center, securing seven Outs Above Average (OAA), and ranking in the 92nd percentile in OAA. Thomas has some blue on his Savant page too, but his max exit velocity (111.3 mph) and K% ranked in the 75th and 71st percentiles. 

Both outfielders would be works in progress, but with Thomas' defense, he would likely be the preferred choice. 

From there, it's a little difficult to see a path forward for this trade, honestly. The Diamondbacks have some intriguing prospects, but they're likely Double-A bound, and the A's are looking for guys that can help them in 2023. 

With that in mind, the A's could target young starters Ryne Nelson or Drey Jameson, Arizona's #8 and #9 prospects that made their big-league debuts in 2022.

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Nelson is a 24-year-old right-hander that averages 95 on his fastball and gets great extension off the mound, ranking in the 78th percentile. He went 1-1 in three September starts, finishing with a 1.47 ERA and a 0.82 WHIP. He threw his heater 69.6% of the time, so we know he has a good one, but Pipeline says that the Diamondbacks think it will be his slider that ends up being his best pitch. 

Hitters went 2-for-6 against the slider in a small sample, but it also resulted in a 45.5% whiff rate, the highest of any of his pitches. 

The other option would be Drey Jameson, a 25-year-old righty that also averages 95 on his fastball, but is at the other end of the spectrum in extension, ranking in the 6th percentile. He went 3-0 in his four late-season starts, turning in a 1.48 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. There are some concerns that he'll end up in the bullpen, however. 

Between the two, Nelson seems like the more likely target because of his extension. The A's love little things that lead to success like that. 

The third piece being a lower minors guy back would provide the most upside, and the D-Backs have a few to choose from. 

First off, there's Deyvison De Los Santos, a 19-year-old out of the Dominican Republic that has huge raw power and struck out 26.2% of the time across three levels in 2022. He is currently a third baseman, but played the majority of his games at first base in the Arizona Fall League. At the end of a long season, he batted just .219 with a 286 OBP and struck out 30% of the time in the Fall League. He'd also already played 126 games, more than double what he played in 2021. 

Across A Ball, High-A, and a ten-game stint in Double-A, De Los Santos hit a combined .306 with a .348 OBP, 22 homers and 29 doubles at 19. There are concerns that he'll outgrow third base and need to move across the diamond to first, which may be the only reason the A's wouldn't be all-in on him. He is Arizona's #6 prospect on MLB Pipeline. 

Blaze Alexander would be another potential fit as the prospect in this package, though he's already on the 40-man roster. Alexander, a 23-year-old right-handed stick, has played primarily at short, and has a 70-grade arm. Since the A's already have a shortstop they like in Nick Allen, moving him to a corner outfield spot wouldn't be off the table for Oakland. 

In 2022 Alexander spent most of the year in Double-A, batting .306 with a .388 OBP, 17 homers and 10 steals in 88 games. He is the Diamondbacks' #14 prospect. 

The third potential prospect would be another outfielder, and it's unclear how willing Arizona would be to move two outfielders, but Dominic Fletcher can play all three outfield positions, spending most of his time in center in Triple-A. 

Fletcher swings it from the left side and in 101 games in Reno, he hit .301 with a .368 OBP. He hit five homers and stole five bases, but he uses the entire field when he swings, and he struck out just 19.5% of the time, which is what the A's are looking for. 

Would this be enough to get a deal done? Not if the A's stick to the asking price they had for St. Louis. There's also a little less certainty with the guys involved in this deal. These are all players that the A's could target in trades, but maybe not a trade for Sean Murphy, where they have to make sure they hit in order to push the rebuild forward.