That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Baseball–The Cellar is only good for wine

Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin, left, talks with catcher Stephen Vogt during spring baseball practice in Mesa, Ariz., Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

BASEBALL: The Cellar is only good for wine.

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

OAKLAND–As Spring Training got under way last week for the Oakland Athletics in Mesa one of the first quotes was given by A’s manager Bob Melvin, when he basically said he doesn’t mind people calling his team underdogs. And he is absolutely correct.

The Athletics last season finished with a 69-93 record in the cellar of the American League West. This was the second consecutive year they have finished last. According to the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook the Oakland Athletics are 100-1 odds to win the 2017 World Series. Not a bad idea to put $20 on the A’s and if Melvin can perform the miracle you will receive a very nice dividend. For the record the rest of the teams in the division:     LA Angels also 100-1, Seattle 25-1, Texas 16-1 and Houston 12-1. While the Chicago Cubs remain on top of the baseball world, they are picked 7-2 to repeat as World Champions. This same sportsbook picked the Cubs last season to win it all.

For the Oakland Athletics this season is much more than winning, as a matter of fact the biggest win for the A’s would be if they can ink the deal to build a new ballpark in Oakland. For that mission, new team President David Kaval came on board and has told us that we will know this year, which is already of itself good news, because years and years are gone-by and nothing, nada has happened.

A new ballpark is the most important thing for this franchise at this time and point in their history. It would re-energize the fan base, create an aura of positivism, potentially new revenue which could result on bringing new star players and most importantly “keeping them here for more than a couple of years”. That is what the fans want, of course winning a World Series this year would be the only bigger story than building a new home for the team. Mr Kaval has also promissed to make the Oakland Coliseum more friendly so that A’s fans would have a better experience.

Some familiar faces of the past are back with the A’s: Rajai Davis, Adam Rosales and Santiago Casilla. This trio could contribute greatly in the hopes that the Athletics could improve to maybe a .500 ballclub. But in my opinion the key for a successful 2017 will be their young and talented pitching staff, it all begins with pitching and the young A’s are no exception. Sonny Gray has to re-establish himself as what he is, a Numero Uno in the rotation, he had a negative record last year, Gray was hurt and never really got-it-going. Young but inexperienced arms like Sean Manaea, Kendall Graveman, Jahrel Cotton, plus Andrew Triggs and Frankie Mantos are an intriguing rotation, with a solid and much experienced bullpen. John Axford, Sean Doolittle, Liam Hendriks,Madson and Santiago Casilla, most capable of closing and others make the bullpen a deeper one than last season.

Santiago Casilla returns to his first team in the major leagues. Most maligned last year because of his lack of success closing for the Giants in the second half, he still saved 31 games and from 2010 to last season a total of 123 games for the Giants. Casilla also brings three World Series rings to the east bay. He became the ‘punching bag’for Giants fans and many in the media. Truth-be-said, the Giants were the best team in baseball in the first half and the worse in the second half. The superstar of that team, Buster Posey hit just three home runs in the second half, but few even mention him for the ills of that team, it was Santiago Casilla that paid for the broken dishes.

Rajai Davis is a popular player who also brings a ring this season as he played in the World Series with the Cleveland Indians, his ring is for a League Championship. Both teams that make it to the World Series are assured of rings, the difference one ring would say World Champion the other one AL/NL Champion. Rajai Davis was #1 in the American League in stolen bases last season with 43. He is now a veteran on his 12th season and he is 36 years old, but he seems to keep himself always in very good physical shape and should help the Athletics.

Adam Rosales is one of the hardest working guys in the big leagues, a type of player that all teams need during the long season, a journeyman that can play many positions. He is always one of the first players to arrive at the park for a game, wherever he has played he has always played with passion, dedication and hard work. When he previously played with the A’s I went with him to an Athletics Boosters Club luncheon and he loved mixing with the fans and talking baseball, always with a smile. Here is a player which great attitude is a great asset to him and one of the reasons he still playing in the major leagues.

Although these are not three high paid superstars acquisitions, Rajai Davis, Santiago Casilla and Adam Rosales. They are committed players who will bring their brand of baseball to Rickey Henderson Field in 2017.

Soon I will be talking to some of these and other players at their Spring Training home in Arizona and will have more news from the Oakland Athletics.

Please join our host Amaury Pi Gonzalez this season for the A’s Spanish radio broadcasts, the Angels Spanish TV telecasts and News and Commentary at




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