|There’s no question that the Athletics made a trade for Chris Denorfia on Friday with an eye to the future. The outfielder is expected to miss the entire 2007 season after having Tommy John surgery on April 3. To get Denorfia from the Reds, Oakland parted with two players to be named and cash considerations. Cincinnati acquired Triple-A righthander Marcus McBeth from the A’s on Saturday as part of the payment. On June 12, the Reds received righty Ben Jukich as the second player to be named.|
|The Big Leaguers|
|Denorfia, 26, had a hard time cracking the Reds’ crowded outfield the last two years. A former 19th-round pick made good (out of NCAA Division III Wheaton, Mass., College no less), he batted .278/.358/.382 with two homers and nine RBIs in 144 at-bats over 67 games. Over the same time span, he hit .329/.398/.510 with 27 homers and 132 RBIs in 220 games in the upper minors. Denorfia has solid if not spectacular tools, having shown the ability to hit for average with gap power along with average speed and defensive ability in center field.|
|McBeth, 26, originally signed as an outfielder in 2001, drafted in the fourth round out of South Carolina. A former kick returner for the Gamecocks’ football program, McBeth always stood out most for his arm strength. When he hit the wall offensively in high Class A in 2004, the A’s moved him to the mound the following season. His primary weapon is a mid-90s fastball, and he also has a mid-80s slider that grades as a plus pitch at times. He’s still working on his command and a changeup to keep lefthanders in check, but he’s close to big league-ready. McBeth has a 1-0, 1.80 record and five saves in eight appearances at Triple-A Sacramento. In 10 innings, he has a 6-3 K-BB ratio, .200 opponent average and two homers allowed. He ranked fifth in the minors with 32 saves in 2006.|
Jukich, 24, signed as a 13th-round pick out of Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) in 2006, when he led the NAIA in strikeouts (144) and strikeouts per nine innings (13.7). He was the first player ever drafted from Dakota Wesleyan. His best pitch is a curveball he throws from a low arm angle, and he also has an upper-80s fastball. In 12 starts at high Class A Stockton this year, Jukich has gone 3-4, 5.40 with a 46-15 K-BB ratio, .261 opponent average and eight homers allowed in 58 innings. He projects as a reliever down the line.
|The Reds didn’t have much use for Denorfia, especially with him sidelined for the season, so getting bullpen help makes a lot of sense. Once he’s healthy, Denorfia could challenge for a starting job in Oakland, especially with Milton Bradley, Bobby Kielty and Shannon Stewart all headed for free agency this fall.|