Trade Speculation a ‘distraction' for Some A's Players, Empty Talk for Others

OAKLAND - A weekend in limbo begins for the A's three biggest trade candidates.

As Oakland continues a three-game series with Minnesota, no one can be certain whether starter Sonny Gray, first baseman Yonder Alonso and second baseman Jed Lowrie will be wearing green and gold past Monday's 1 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline.

Asked about the subject before Friday night's 6-3 loss to the Twins, Alonso and Lowrie represented two different ends of the spectrum.

"I don't really see it like maybe a lot of you guys do," Alonso said. "My concern is the next three games here versus Minnesota. I try not to concern myself too much with it."

Lowrie, who plays a position the A's seemingly will want to open up for top prospect Franklin Barreto at some point during the second half, said the speculation is tough to ignore.

"Honestly, it's a distraction," Lowrie said. "You try to be a pro and just go out there and do your job, but there are a lot of unknowns. There's a lot of talk of rebuilding. You can't help but wonder. It's not going to change the way I play the game or how hard I play the game. Just keep everything in perspective and compartmentalize."

Gray arguably has been the most talked-about trade target in the majors over the past couple weeks, with the Dodgers, Yankees, Astros, Cubs, Brewers, Braves and (surprisingly) the Padres all among the teams showing interest. Should he remain with the A's to make his scheduled start Sunday, what theatre it will be as he takes the Coliseum mound just 24 hours before the deadline.

The status of Alonso and Lowrie is much murkier.

After a strong start to his season, Lowrie is hitting .179 for July, which has dropped his overall average to .264. His defense at second continues to be very good.

There has been little reported interest in Lowrie beyond speculation that the Boston Red Sox could want him as a third baseman. But the logic remains that the A's certainly would unload the veteran if they can, with Barreto waiting in the wings.

Lowrie, who comes with a $6 million club option for next year that includes a $1 million buyout, has been dealt three times in his career but said: "I've been traded a few times but never during the season. It's different."

The Yankees have been connected to Alonso for several weeks as they consider an attempt to upgrade at first base. He hits free agency after the season, and though Alonso turned himself into an All-Star this year, his bat has gone cold as he's hitting .197 over his past 40 games.

Alonso said Friday that there have been no extension talks between his camp and the A's. If a long-term deal isn't in the cards, it makes sense the A's would try to unload Alonso to clear first base for Ryon Healy or Matt Olson, or some combo of the two, which would keep in line with their youth movement.

Alonso says his friends stay up to date on trade rumors but he prefers they don't relay their findings to him.

"There are guys that can't help but look, you know, but I don't really care" about the speculation, he said.

All three players will get some clarity on their situation by Monday afternoon, if not sooner.

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