#1 Tony, the San Francisco Giants have decided to have acting CEO Rob Dean as their frontman. In a statement from the team on Tuesday, the Giants have said that upon returning from suspension on July 2nd, Baer will no longer have control of the team, although he will retain his title as CEO and president.
#2 The players have stated that regardless of the off-the-field issues regarding Baer, they are determined to stay focused, and outfielder Steven Duggar says playing between the lines has been a safe haven for the players.
#3 The Giants have been struggling in spring training are are now open their regular season today in San Diego. They do have one of the best defensive infield in the National League coming into the season.
#4 The Oakland A’s, who were left for dead after their starting rotation either went on the DL or underwent surgery, came back later in the season and made it to the Wild Card. You just can’t count a Billy Beane team out.
OAKLAND, Calif. — The A’s appear to be working on their clock, and that’s probably not going to sit well with the Green and Gold fanbase. The A’s minority owner Billy Beane is arguably a baseball problem and not just a marketing mishap.
In the 2016 novel Beantown, author Frederik Backman wrote, “There are two things that are particularly good at reminding us how old we are: children and sports.”
That’s indeed a difficult statement for folks who are 50 years and older to dispute as their children and perhaps grandchildren have already established their own personalities in the workplace. Sports, however, is a bit of a tricky topic–its intriguing statistics and historical events have likely been engraved in our minds in our childhoods.
And, like any other baseball follower, I can recall box scores, no-hitters, and vice versa. That being said, there are some parts of MLB history that shouldn’t be continued for an extended period of time.
Without further ado, here are three people who should leave the A’s right now.
1. Billy Beane
A’s minority owner Billy Beane has made some money-less trades in the past. The Moneyball tactics simply aren’t working. The A’s need to strength their rotation and pen their annual drafts, and Beane hasn’t been on top of things for quite a while. Also, Beane takes sure-fire chances on young guys with limited amounts of baseball experience. In addition, Oakland has had a high turnover rate with players in all positions, which isn’t going to contribute to their success on the field.
2. Bob Melvin
A’s manager Bob Melvin has been named “Manager of the Year” twice–once in 2007 and the other in 2012. But that doesn’t mean that Melvin deserves a spot in the A’s management team.
Melvin has been in Oakland for far too long. Melvin’s decisions on players have often been poor. For example, why call up Franklin Barreto if he wasn’t going to play him? Mark Canha and Dustin Fowler should’ve made the 2018 Opening Day roster instead of Barreto. Both Canha and Fowler are on the A’s roster now, but they had to be called up in order to be in Oakland.
Not only that, Melvin has mismanaged the bullpen this season. Melvin continues to put various pitchers on the mound who have shown us why they shouldn’t be out there to begin with.
3. Marcus Semien
A’s shortstop Marcus Semien is supposed to be the lead-off hitter in Oakland, but he’s not. Semien puts up subpar numbers for a player who’s supposed to leading off. Semien has worsened the A’s defense with his countless amount of errors, so that should paint a mental picture of his incompetent defense.
There you have it. The three people who should leave the A’s right now. Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments section.
AP file photo: Former Oakland A’s third base coach is headed for the Atlanta Braves and their new stadium in Cobb County as he leaves to coach in a location closer to his family
by Charlie O. Mallonee
The Oakland Athletics have lost infield and third base coach Ron Washington to the Atlanta Braves. Washington interviewed for the Braves managerial job which went to interim manager Brian Snitker. Washington did accept an offer to join the Atlanta coaching staff.
“Ron’s background and success as a Major League manager will be an asset to everyone on the club,” Atlanta general manager John Coppolella said. “His tireless work ethic, up-beat attitude and tremendously high baseball IQ will benefit our players and our staff.”
Working in Atlanta will put Washington closer to his family who live in New Orleans and the surrounding area in Louisiana.
“This is a unique professional opportunity for Wash, which allows him to be closer to his family in New Orleans.His professionalism and enthusiasm have left an indelible mark on everyone in our organization. We are all excited for him and wish him the best.” said A’s executive vice president Billy Beane.
Washington was a coach for the Athletics from 1996 to 2006. He left the A’s to become the manager of the Texas Rangers where he had four 90-win seasons and won two American League pennants. He rejoined the A’s staff in 2015.
Washington was brought back to Oakland to work with shortstop Marcus Semien on his defense. He then replaced Mike Gallego as third base coach.
Two members of the A’s reacted to Washington’s leaving via Twitter. Danny Valencia wrote, “Sad to see Ron Wash go. Wow. Honestly one of hardest working coaches I’ve ever played for.” Ryon Healy added, “Thank you for all you have done for me Wash! You will be missed greatly.”
The Major League non-wavier trade deadline is August 1st at 1:00 PM PDT. The San Francisco Giants are definitely one of the teams that are in the “buyers” category as that deadline approaches. The Giants are said to be on the hunt for a closer to carry them to another championship.
Closers do not come cheap. Even rental players who will be free agents next year can command a king’s ransom. The Yankees 100 mph-plus throwing Aroldis Chapman is the closing pitcher that is receiving the most attention. Chapman is a free agent after this season and the Yankees are not looking like a playoff team. It may be time to get value for your assets.
In today’s baseball business environment, teams want talented prospects that are not too far away from being ready to break into the big leagues. Teams can never have enough depth in their minor league system. The players you do not plan on using in the majors can become valuable trade pieces to bring you talent to fill holes that might open up in your player personnel plan.
Teams have been salivating over the Giants number three rated prospect – right hand pitcher Tyler Beede. Beede is currently pitching at the Double-A level for the Richmond Flying Squirrels. He is 5-5 on the season with a 3.00 ERA in 16 starts. Beede has a two-seam fastball that he throws 90-95 mph that creates ground ball outs. He has an above average changeup to go with a workable curveball. Beede needs to get stronger and develop more stamina but he will be a frontline pitcher. That is why the Giants say he is not available as a trade piece. Unavailable has a tendency to become “a well maybe” at 12:30 on August 1st.
Let’s say Beede really is not available. Then, who else might the Giants be willing to part with in order to get the closer they desire? I must confess that I have spent a great deal of time covering the Oakland Athletics so my thought patterns on going after prospects has been influenced heavily by the thinking and actions of Billy Beane over the years.
If I am the general manger of a team that has a closer that the Giants want, I am looking for pitching in return for my asset. I want a starting pitcher who is at Double-A and is projected to make it to the big leagues by late 2017 or Spring 2018. I want a pitcher who will be a number one to three starter. I also want a left handed pitcher if at possible because you can never have enough “lefties”. I will also try to get a Double-A level player who can hit and an A-ball pitcher who is still developing (a lefty would be nice). Desperate teams make desperate moves.
Do the Giants have a pitcher that meets that criteria? They do and his name is Andrew Suarez.
Suarez is a left hand pitcher who is 6-foot-2, 205-pounds. He was drafted by the Giants in 2015 in the second round out of the University of Miami. Scouts say Suarez has an above average fastball and slider and possesses above average control. He also has a curveball and changeup that he adds into his mix of pitches. Suarez works at 89-93 mph on the radar gun with his fastball topping out at 95.
Suarez started the season at Class-A San Jose where he went 2-1 with a 2.43 ERA. He has struggled a bit since his promotion to Double-A Richmond where he’s posted 3-6 record with a 5.14 ERA but he is getting more comfortable. In his last start on July 18th, Suarez worked 7.0-innings giving up two runs (earned) on four hits. He walked three while striking out 10 opposing hitters. Suarez has worked at least seven innings in his last three starts.
The scouting projections have Suarez ready to pitch in the big leagues in late 2017 or early 2018.
Will Andrew Suarez be a member of the San Francisco Giants organization on Monday? If I have a closing pitcher that Giants want, he wouldn’t be but I am not going to be making that decision. We will have to wait and see what happens.
Charlie O. Mallonee reports on the Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants, Sacramento Kings and is the host of a weekly podcast for Sports Radio Service
The last few days at the A’s headquarters in Oakland have been a beehive of activity as “Trader” Billy Beane had decided to break up A’s and rebuild the team once more. The Trades that he made this summer starting with Cespedes for Jon Lester and Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardizija appeared not to have been the recipe for getting the A’s into the World Series. Lester was a two monthe rental and is ,right,now, in line fro a huge payday from either the Cubs, Red Sox, Dodgers or Giants. Jason Hammel
went back to the Cubs and Jeff Samardizija is on his way to the White Sox. The A’s also sent pitcher Muchael Ynoa to the White Sox and got four players with little or no majr league experience. They received Pitcher, Chris Bassitt,cather Josh Phlegley, first baseman Angel Raveda and infielder Marcus Semien.In the Meantime, the A’s lost their number one prospect, shortstop Addison Russell, to the Cubs in the trade for Samardizija and Hammell.
After the one game loss in the playoffs to the Royals, the conventional thinking was that the A’s would strengthen their core by addition rather than subtraction. Beane shocked the baseball world be sending their best player Josh Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays for Brent Lawrie and three prospects. Not only was the baseball world shocked, the A’s fans were in a state of disbelief as the team lost its best player for a third baseman who was ok defensively but not in Donaldson’s league as a hitter.
Then to compound matters, Beane sent Brandon Moss to Cleveland for a double-A second baseman who was about number nine on Cleveland’s list of prospects. Moss, who was really sad to leave Oakland, said that the A’s gave hime a chance to play and he came through big time for them. He played first base, right field and left field for the A’s. Unfortunately, Moss had a hip injury that slowed him down in the second half of 2014 but he had surgery and was looking to rebound in 2015.
The A’s have traded their number 3,4 and 5 hitters and have gotten back some prospects and a lot of question marks.
The starting pitching looks solid with Sonny Gray,Scott Kashmir, Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin returning. The last two , Parker and Griffin, are coming off Tommy John surgery and it remains to be seen how effective they will be. The bullpen lost Luke Regression but still has Dan Rooter, Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle.
The team has holes that may or may not be fixed by these trades. The A’s have three catchers, John Jaso, Derek Norris and Stephen Vogt. That gives them some flexibility as Vogt can DH or play first base. The A’s signed the former Royal Billy Butler as a right handed DH and first baseman,too. They still do not know who will be at shortstop or second base. Eric Sogar is a possibility at second but is he an everyday player? The A’s outfield will have Josh Reddick in right field. Reddick played well his first year but was slowed by injuries the last two years but did come to life late in the season. Coco Crisp is getting up in age and seems to have more injuries every year and left field duties will be split by Sam Fuld and Craig Gentry.
This scenario does not look a team that is going to contend for the western division crown in 2015, The Mariners have gotten better with the addition of Nelson Cruz. The Angels won the division by 10 games behind MVP Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Howie Kendrick. The A’s can’t match the Angels or Mariners firepower now.
So for Cespedes, Donaldson and Moss, I wish you all well in your new baseball homes. It was great fun watching the three of you play here in Oakland. Brandon, I will miss you the most as you let me go home at 20 minutes of two one morning in a nineteen inning game against the Angels when you hit the winning home run. Would love to have all three of you back in the green and gold but because of the way you produced, it looked like the A’s were not willing to let you to have any more green or gold. That would have to come from your new employers.
OAKLAND – Former Oakland Athletic and Cy Young Award winner Bob Welch passed away today at the young age of 57. The cause of death was unavailable. In a press release from the the Athletics, A’s President Michael Crowley said, “We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Bob Welch. He was a legendary pitcher who enjoyed many of his best seasons with the Oakland A’s. He will always be a significant part of our franchise’s history, and we mourn his loss. We send our greatest sympathies to his family and friends.”
General Manager Billy Beane expressed his sentiments on this sad occasion, “This is a sad day for the entire A’s organization. Those of us who knew Bob as a teammate and a friend will miss him greatly. My condolences go out to his family.”
Current A’s closer Sean Doolittle posted on Twitter, “Devastated to learn of Bob Welch’s passing. The A’s organization lost not only one of its best pitchers, but one of its best people.”
In 17 seasons in the majors, Welch earned a 211-146 record and 3.47 ERA. Bay Area fans might remember him being a key member of the A’s from 1988-90 when he and Dave Stewart were the aces of the staff and lead them to the World Series in 1989 when they swept the San Francisco Giants. In 1990 when Welch won the Cy Young he compiled an unbelievable record of 27-6 with an era of 2.95. In 24 years, no one has come close to winning at least 25 games.
After his playing days, Welch was the pitching coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks when they won the 2001 World Series and he shared time with current A’s coach Bob Melvin. His son Riley was selected by the A’s in the 34th round of the 2008 MLB First-Year Players Draft.
When the Oakland Athletics broke camp in March, they did so leaving behind third-string catcher Stephen Vogt. The omission of Vogt came as no surprise. It was a difficult decision, and Vogt may well have been the last player left off the roster, but he feel victim to the numbers crunch. In the offseason, General manager Billy Beane acquired left-handed hitting John Jaso to compliment righty Derek Norris. Jaso, a prototypical Athletic if ever there was one, gets on base, works well inserted in and out of the line-up and provides some sock of the bench. His arrival rendered Vogt, a lefty himself, superfluous despite any goodwill the unlikely hero earned by hitting a walk-off single in game two of the ALDS against Detroit last season. No, not even Vogt’s strong Spring campaign capped by a .364 batting average and three long balls could earn a spot over a player like Daric Barton or Sam Fuld when March turned to April and the dozens of players in big league camp were whittled down to 25 Athletics.
Fast forward to June 1st and you’ll see the name of a baseball battler penciled into the sixth spot on Bob Melvin’s line-up card in what would be a 6-3 Oakland win. Vogt, a veteran of eight minor league seasons, went 0-for-4 for the green but despite a rocky 2014 debut, the 29-year-old backstop returns to the A’s with confidence.
Certainly, Vogt’s promotion from Triple A came out of necessity. AL West-leading Oakland opens a three-game set at Yankee Stadium with question marks surrounding the health of starting right fielder Josh Reddick (hyperextended right knee) and clean-up hitter Brandon Moss (strained right calf). Vogt’s presence allows Jaso to split time at designated hitter in Moss’ stead while not surrendering the platoon advantage against right-handers (of which Oakland will see in two-of-three games in the Bronx). Vogt, a veteran with over 50 games of experience at first, catcher and left field, also provides some depth in the outfield and first base while granting Derek Norris some relief behind the dish.
The call-up, as brief or as long as it can be, also serves as the carrot on a string, the reward for Vogt’s impressive start with the River Cats. At the time of his promotion, Vogt had an impressive .364/.412/.602 line (including a .413 average against right-handers) with Sacramento, building on his 2013 Pacific Coast League All-star campaign in which he hit .324 with 13 home runs. For a baseball lifer, a nomad who has toiled away in baseball outposts like Durham, Hudson Valley and Charlotte, a taste of the Show every now and then is enough to labor away on the long bus rides for months on end.
The A’s are expected to activate reliever Ryan Cook from the disabled list, possibly as early as Tuesday, meaning a corresponding roster move must be made. Depending on the long-term outlook for Reddick, Vogt could be optioned back down to Sacramento to make room for the reliever. If he’s a casualty once again of the numbers game, he’ll at least take with him a peace of mind that his performance won’t go unnoticed. If Vogt continues to hit Pacific League pitching, the Oakland brass will almost undoubtedly beckon him back to the bright lights of the Bigs before season’s end.
When the Oakland Athletics dealt power-hitting prospect Michael Choice to the Texas Rangers for Josh Lindblom and outfielder Craig Gentry, the idea was that Gentry would serve as the team’s fourth outfielder. Gentry brought all the requisite skills; the ability to play all three positions, a proven track record performing in the role and faith in management that the role was his to lose. Now, with Gentry ready to return from the disabled list potentially as soon as Saturday fresh, the A’s have a tough decision on their hands. What do they do with their bench when everyone is healthy?
The platoon in place at catcher means both backstops are safe, not that John Jaso or Derek Norris would have been a victim of a crowded bench in the first place thanks to their offensive profiles. Nick Punto brings the intangibles, representing the type of glue guy franchises need in the club house if they hope to survive the 162-game grind with morale intact. Alberto Callaspo, who made his debut at first base in Tuesday’s afternoon half of the doubleheader, now boasts experience at every position on the diamond except catcher, pitcher and center field. The switch hitter stands firmly entrenched as the right-handed bat in a right-left platoon with Daric Barton at first. That leaves fourth outfielder Sam Fuld as the odd man out.
Fuld came to Spring Training a minor league free-agent competing for a position on the Major League roster that he was far from first in line for. The A’s gave prospect Billy Burns, possessor of plus-speed and the eye at the plate Billy Beane adores, an extensive look with 72 spring at-bats over 26 games. The speedster did not disappoint, pilfering 10 bases to pace the green and gold in Arizona while producing a .370 on-base percentage. Gentry, of course, was acquired to be the man off the bench to patrol the grass at O.Co Coliseum and every sign still points at him filling the role. His spot on the roster were only slightly derailed by a lower back strain. There was also always the option that Beane and co. would stick with no true fourth outfielder, electing to have Callaspo or first baseman/designated hitter Brandon Moss, who broke into the majors as an outfielder with the Boston Red Sox, spelling Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes when one of the triumvirate needs a breather.
Instead, the A’s saw something in Fuld, who hit a respectable .271 (abeit, less impressive than Burns .306 mark) with a .348 OBP in 59 preseason at-bats. The veteran outfielder, a product of Stanford University, led Oakland with four triples in the valley of the Sun. His March performance landed the 32-year -old a roster spot on Opening Day for just the third time in his seven seasons at the Major League level, not counting the 2008 season when he didn’t play above the AAA level. He’s certainly the one slated to head to the Sacramento Rivercats, if not elsewhere in the bigs, but he’s done nothing but excite in his time in Alameda County. If he hasn’t won a permanent spot in Oakland, he’s certainly shown value to the 29 other general managers in the league.
The compact left-hander, in hitting and throwing alike, has sparked the A’s offense in the leadoff spot when the coaching staff grants Coco Crisp a day of rest, something they plan on doing often this season for late-season preservation. Fuld currently sits behind only Callaspo, buoyed by the lone A’s home run of the season, in slugging percentage and OPS. Fuld is tied for second on the team in RBI’s with two, though five other Athletics have a pair as well. Fuld was denied another Thursday night when attempting to stretch an RBI triple into an inside-the-park homer proved ill-advised.
The 5-foot-10 journeyman with a career .235 batting average and only two seasons of 100-plus games-played may not be in the plans full-time for Oakland, but as long as he can produce like he is Fuld deserves a roster spot.
Every time number 29 steps to the plate or has a ball hit his way elicits an excitement that something electric is happening. He’s the one-man rally, the highlight reel grab, the game-changer in every sense of the word. It’s no wonder that he’s gained a cult-level status in his stops in Chicago and Tampa Bay. Rays fans watched the phenomena that was Fuld, dubbing the outfielder’s blossoming the so-called “Legend of Sam Fuld”. He soon saw his status elevated to tall-tale heights, with Chuck Norris jokes being altered to feature Fuld as the larger-than-life protagonist in Norris’ stead.
The Oakland A’s are now 2-0 when Bob Melvin pencils Fuld into the starting line-up. Perhaps it’s coincidence. Perhaps a season of Fuld can lift the Athletics over the playoff hump and bring the East Bay its first World Series title since 1989. Fuld’s future in the clubhouse at 7000 Coliseum way remains uncertain, but one thing is. A’s supporters would gladly watch Fuld’s legacy expand over this season over the likes of Punto or Gentry if it involves bringing the A’s more wins and some hardware in October.
OAKLAND – Leaking ceilings, huge puddles and long lines couldn’t keep away 20,000 plus fans today from the Oakland Athletics annual Fanfest held at the Oakland Coliseum. The Oakland faithful stood outside the for as long as two hours before the gates opened until they were finally allowed in to welcome back their A-Team and kickoff the 2014 A’s season.
The FanFest contained all the usual things you would expect – autographs, photo opps and clubhouse tours. However the A’s front office and staff outdid themselves this year by adding the opportunity to take photos with all four of the A’s World Series trophies, a baseball 101 and kids batting clinic for the public and an exclusive opportunity for the fans to interview the bench coaches. Also the A’s brought home the champions by inviting A’s legends Vida Blue, Ray Fosse, Gene Tenace, Dave Henderson and Tony Phillips.
Prior to opening up the gates to the public, the players and coaches gathered in Oracle Arena’s courtside club and gave the media a quick media session where coaches and players addressed questions from the press.
Manager Bob Melvin was the first to be swarmed by reporters where he addressed the A’s improved bullpen, Coco Crisp’s leadership as well as the complicated decision of who should be designated hitter for each game.
“You pinch yourself with his bullpen depth,” said Melvin when asked about the additions to his bullpen. “I’m very happy with what we’ve been able to do.” This off-season the A’s added LHP Fernando Abad, RHP Jim Johnson, RHP Josh Lindbolm, RHP Luke Gregerson, LHP Scott Kazmir, LHP Drew Pomeranz and LHP Eric O’Flaherty to their bullpen to give what some have called the best bullpen in the league.
The A’s also agreed to terms with fan darling Coco Crisp a few days ago to a two-year, $22.75 million deal through 2016 and it includes a vesting option for 2017. “Coco has been a leader each year since I got here” said Melvin.
“I don’t really look at myself that way. If the guys have questions I would love to answer them. I consider myself a peer to these guys. They (the organization) do a good job of grooming the personalities and a lot of these guys came from the organization so it’s a fairly easy gig to have that veteran label but there are a few things that I try to chime in here and there,” said Crisp on his leadership role.
As for the designated hitter role Melvin said that the A’s are likely to rotate the DH spot with days off between Cespedes, Crisp and catcher John Jaso. General Manager Billy Beane said that the A’s will not add any big bats before spring training even though there are still some big names out there. He also said that the 25-man roster will likely come from the group of guys invited to spring training and that if there are any other additions to the team that they would be there purely for depth.
The AL West is stacked this year. The Mariners signed the dangerous Robinson Cano , reliable first baseman Corey Hart and second baseman Willie Bloomquist. The Rangers signed outfielders Shin-Soo Choo and Alex Castellanos and the Angels signed Raul Ibanez and Angel Molina but also traded RF Mark Trumbo to the Diamondbacks for left handed pitchers Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs.
On the moves, Crisp said, “It’s going to make our division harder. Seattle has done a great job of enhancing their chances of winning this year. They already had a good team in place so it’s going to make it a little more fun for us to go out there. Competition is always good and I think our team enjoys that. We feed off that.”
Ryan Cook continued, “It’s nothing new for us. The Rangers made big moves. Anaheim made big moves in the past. We’ll see. We’re going to go out there and play the way that Bob wants us to play and the way that we know how.”
Eric Sogard echoed Cook’s sentiments, “We’re not going to change what we’re doing. We’re going to go out there everyday and focus on what we’re doing. Obviously the AL West is going to be the top division in baseball and I think that will be exciting for the fans. Playing them (Seattle) a majority of the year is going to allow us to play our best baseball and get ready for the post-season.”
During a question-and-answer session at the arena Sean Doolittle addressed the idea that the A’s are still considered underdogs and address the AL West situation as well.
“If we were really under the radar, would these other teams in our division be spending that kind of money or be making those blockbuster trades to try to shake things up? This time last year, we were answering these same questions about what other teams did. So we’ve been through this before.”
The A’s have a daunting task in front of them. They are trying to be the first back-to-back-to-back AL West Champions since the 1988-89-90 team did it over 20 years ago. Out of that team the A’s were able to grab two World Series appearances and a World title. With the team on hand today, the A’s appear to be destined to be back in the playoffs.