MLB Trade Rumors » » Oakland Athletics 2018-01-16T06:00:14Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Marcell Ozuna Thankful Marlins Didn't Trade Him To A's]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112609 2018-01-15T13:45:28Z 2018-01-15T03:35:57Z The Giants aren’t dead set against signing a free agent who rejected a qualifying offer, general manager Bobby Evans said this week (via Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, on Twitter). Ideally, Evans would rather not sign a player attached to draft pick compensation, though he “all but said” that the Giants are “talking to” center fielder and QO recipient Lorenzo Cain, Schulman reports. In adding Cain, who’s likely to ink one of this winter’s biggest contracts, the Giants would lose two 2018 draft picks (their second- and fifth-highest selections) and $1MM of international bonus pool space.

More from the National League…

  • The four-player return the Pirates got from the Astros for right-hander Gerrit Cole is “brutal,” one evaluator told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The evaluator believes that righties Joe Musgrove and Michael Feliz have value as relievers, but he regards third baseman Colin Moran and outfielder Jason Martin as “throw-in types.” Meanwhile, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette spoke to an evaluator who sees Musgrove as a potential No. 4 starter. (Twitter link.) However, the evaluator wonders if the 25-year-old is better suited to come out of the bullpen – something he did with great success in 2017. Musgrove, for his part, expects to start in Pittsburgh. Speaking with Mark Berman of Fox 26 about Saturday’s trade, Musgrove said: “Over the past 12 hours I’ve become more clear-minded about what’s happening here. I think it’s a good move for me. It’s a chance to go to an organization and get back in the rotation and try to help them build something special. Anytime I’m traded for a guy like Gerrit Cole, they’ve got big plans for me, and I plan on filling those big shoes” (Twitter links here).
  • Cardinals president John Mozeliak informed the Associated Press and other media this weekend that they’re continuing to “explore” ways to improve, though he’s confident in their current roster. Mozeliak is “hesitant” to surrender prospects for players who are low on team control, the AP writes. The Cards did make that type of trade last month, though, acquiring outfielder Marcell Ozuna’s two years of control from Miami in exchange for four prospects. Ozuna discussed his reaction to the deal this weekend, telling Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com and other reporters: “The first thing I heard [was] they were going to trade me to the Oakland A’s. I said, ’God, please, leave me over here.’ Then I heard they traded me to the Cardinals, and I said, ’OK, thanks.'”
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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Arbitration Updates: 1/13/18]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112430 2018-01-13T22:22:30Z 2018-01-13T22:22:30Z Here are the arbitration numbers we’ve learned thus far today — all of them coming via the Twitter feed of Jon Heyman of Fan Rag unless otherwise noted:

  • The Giants’ previously known deals with two righty relievers now have dollar values attached. Sam Dyson is slated to earn $4.425MM, while the team will pay righty Cory Gearrin $1.675MM. MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projected a $4.6MM award for Dyson and a $1.6MM salary for Gearrin.
  • Diamondbacks infielder Chris Owings settled out at $3.4MM, just a shade over the $3.3MM the team will pay outfielder David Peralta. Swartz had both Owings and Peralta at $3.8MM.
  • Right-hander Nick Vincent will take down a $2.75MM payday from the Mariners, coming in just north of his $2.7MM projection.
  • Astros righty Lance McCullers Jr. is set to receive $2.45MM (a bit shy of his projected $2.6MM) in his first season of arb eligibility, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.
  • Infielder Hernan Perez receives $1.975MM from the Brewers, falling short of a $2.2MM projection.
  • The Athletics agreed yesterday with righty Liam Hendriks at $1.9MM, matching his projection, and catcher Josh Phegley for $905K. Swartz had Phegley at $1.1MM.
  • White Sox third baseman Yolmer Sanchez has filed at $2.35MM while the team countered at $2.1MM – the same as his projection.
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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics Interested In Tony Watson, Brian Duensing]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112396 2018-01-13T19:31:42Z 2018-01-13T06:19:47Z
  • Meanwhile, the Athletics seem to be targeting a lefty in the bullpen, as John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Per Shea, Oakland has ongoing interest in Tony Watson and has also engaged Brian Duensing in talks. Both veteran free agents are among the best relievers still left on the open market. Indeed, it’s not hard at all to make the case that they are the two most appealing southpaws still looking for new homes.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Unresolved 2018 Arbitration Cases]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112362 2018-01-13T03:05:53Z 2018-01-13T00:02:01Z We’ve covered a whole lot of arbitration deals today, many of them reached before today’s deadline to exchange filing figures. Some other agreements have come together after team and player submitted their numbers. It’s still possible, of course, that these situations will be resolved before an arbitration hearing becomes necessary. (At this point, we seem to lack full clarity on teams’ approaches to negotiations after the filing deadline. And most organizations make exceptions for multi-year deals even if they have a file-and-trial stance.)

    Some situations could even be dealt with in short order. As things stand, though, these unresolved arbitration cases could turn into significant hearings. (As always, MLBTR’s 2018 arbitration projections can be found here; you will also want to reference MLBTR’s 2018 arbitration tracker.)

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Players Avoiding Arbitration: American League]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112296 2018-01-13T05:52:28Z 2018-01-12T21:00:23Z The deadline for MLB teams to exchange salary arbitration figures with their arbitration-eligible players is today at 1pm ET. As such, there will be a veritable flood of arb agreements piling up in the next few hours — especially in light of a more universal approach to the “file and trial” method for teams. (That is to say, those teams will no longer negotiate one-year deals after arb figures are exchanged and will instead head to a hearing with those players, barring an agreemenr on a multi-year deal.)

    Note that you can keep an eye on all of today’s deals using MLBTR’s 2018 Arbitration Tracker, which can be filtered to show only the results of the team you follow and is also sortable by service time and dollar value of the agreement. All projections that are referenced come from MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz’s annual compilation of projected arbitration salarie

    American League West

    • The Astros and Evan Gattis agreed to a $6.7MM deal for 2018, per FanRag’s Robert Murray (Twitter link). A free agent next season, Gattis lands within $100K of his $6.6MM projection. The club also has deals (for values unknown) with starters Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers Jr., and Brad Peacock, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle tweets.
    • The Rangers agreed to a $1.05MM deal with infielder Jurickson Profar, tweets Murray. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, meanwhile, tweets that lefty Jake Diekman landed a $2.7125MM deal and righty Keone Kela will earn $1.2MM. Profar had been projected at $1.1MM and is controllable another three seasons. Diekman, a free agent next winter, was projected at $2.8MM. And Kela, still controlled for three more years, matched his $1.2MM projection on the dot.
    • The Athletics and closer Blake Treinen agreed to a $2.15MM deal for next year, tweets Murray. The A’s can control Treinen for another three years. He was projected at $2.3MM. Shortstop Marcus Semien has settled for $3.125MM, Heyman tweets; his $3.2MM projection was nearly spot-on. Oakland has announced that it has avoided arbitration with Liam Hendriks and Josh Phegley as well, but their salaries have yet to be reported.
    • The Angels have a one-year, $7.3MM agreement in place with right-hander Garrett Richards, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (Twitter link). Richards, a free agent next offseason, tops his $7MM projection by a margin of $300K. The Halos have also avoided arb with first baseman C.J. Cron ($2.3MM) and left-hander Tyler Skaggs ($1.875MM), tweets USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. Cron’s total falls a ways shy of his $2.8MM projection, while Skaggs comes in just $25K south of his $1.9MM projection. Both are controllable through the 2020 season. Lastly, Murray tweets that Matt Shoemaker agreed to a $4.125MM deal. He’s controlled through 2020 and projected at $4.4MM. Fletcher also tweets that the club has agreed with righty J.C. Ramirez ($1.9MM salary vs. $2.6MM projection) and lefty Jose Alvarez ($1.05MM salary vs. $1.1MM projection). Finally, righty Cam Bedrosian has agreed at $1.1MM, Flecher tweets, which represents a payday close to his projection of $1.2MM.
    • Left-hander James Paxton will earn $4.9MM with the Mariners in 2018, tweets Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. Murray tweets that the Mariners and David Phelps agreed to a $5.55MM deal. Paxton, controlled through 2020, projected to earn $5.6MM, while Phelps was pegged at $5.8MM. He’s a free agent next winter. Righty Erasmo Ramirez took a $4.2MM deal, MLB.com’s Greg Johns reports. That’s half a million shy of what the model suggested. Fellow right-hander Nick Vincent also has an agreement, but the terms aren’t yet known.

    American League Central

    • New lefty Luis Avilan has agreed to a $2.45MM deal with the White Sox, Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune reports via Twitter. The recent trade acquisition came with a projected $2.3MM price tag. Fellow southpaw Carlos Rodon will receive $2.3MM, a bit of a bump over the $2MM he projected to receive. Also, utilityman Leury Garcia gets $1.175MM, which is just $25K short of his projected value.
    • The Royals and righty Nate Karns agreed to a $1.375MM deal for 2018, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports (on Twitter). That lands within $25K of his $1.4MM projection for the coming season. Kansas City controls Karns through 2020. Meanwhile, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports (via Twitter) that Kelvin Herrera will earn $7.9375MM in 2018, landing a bit shy of his $8.3MM projection. Herrera is a free agent next winter.
    • The Indians have a $5MM agreement with righty Danny Salazar, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian tweets. He had projected to earn just $200K more, this falls right in line with expectations. Cleveland also agreed with Lonnie Chisenhall on a $5.5875MM deal, tweets Nightengale. The third baseman-turned-outfielder, who was projected to earn $5.8MM, will be a free agent following the 2018 season.
    • Trevor May has a $650K agreement with the Twins for the 2018 season, according to Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. May, who missed the entire season due to Tommy John surgery (and did some writing for MLBTR during his rehab process), had been projected at $600K. The Twins also agreed to a $1MM deal with infielder Ehire Adrianza, per La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune. Meanwhile, righty Ryan Pressly has agreed to a $1.6MM deal, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. Both deals are identical matches with their projections. Adrianza has three years of team control remaining, while Pressly has two. Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets that outfielder Robbie Grossman settled at $2MM, leaving him $400K shy of his projection. Grossman is controlled for another three seasons.
    • Tigers third baseman/outfielder Nick Castellanos will earn $6.05MM, per Heyman (via Twitter). He had projected at a much heftier $7.6MM in his second-to-last season of arb eligibility. MLB.com’s Jason Beck reports (Twitter links) that the Tigers and right-handed reliever Alex Wilson settled at $1.925MM, while fellow righty Shane Greene will earn $1.95MM. Wilson was projected to earn $2.1MM, while Greene was at $1.7MM. Wilson is controlled through 2019, while Greene is under control through 2020.

    American League East

    • The Yankees have knocked out some of their biggest arb cases, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter links). Shortstop Didi Gregorius receives $8.25MM and righty Sonny Gray checks in at $6.5MM. The former had projected to earn $9.0MM while the algorithm was just $100K high on the latter.Backstop Austin Romine will earn $1.1MM, Heyman also tweets, which is also $100K below the projection. Righty Adam Warren and the Yankees have a $3.315MM deal, per Murray (Twitter link). This is Warren’s final season of eligibility before hitting the open market next winter. He’d been projected at $3.1MM. Meanwhile, fellow right-hander Dellin Betances has agreed to a $5.1MM deal, per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). That’s just $100K more than Betances had sought last year, when he took his case to a hearing that he ultimately lost. But it’s quite a bit more than the $4.4MM he projected to receive after a subpar season in which he played at a $3MM salary.
    • The Red Sox have agreed to pay $8.5MM to southpaw Drew Pomeranz, per Alex Speier of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). That’s short of the $9.1MM that had been projected after Pomeranz turned in a productive 2017 season. Boston and Jackie Bradley Jr. settled at $6.1MM, tweets Murray. That’s a bit north of the $5.9MM at which he’d been projected for the upcoming season. Bradley Jr., a Super Two player, has another three seasons of club control remaining. Nightengale tweets that righty Joe Kelly ($3.6MM projection) agreed to a $3.825MM deal. He’ll be a free agent next winter. Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez ($2.375MM salary vs. $2.7MM projection) and righty Brandon Workman ($835K salary vs. $900K projection) are two other Sox hurlers that have agreed to terms, Speier reports (Twitter links). On the position player side, catcher Sandy Leon falls a bit under his projection $1.95MM (via Speier, on Twitter) while utilityman Brock Holt just beats expectations at $2.225MM (per ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick, on Twitter). The team also agreed with shortstop Xander Bogaerts for $7.05MM, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston tweets, which comes in a bit shy of his $7.6MM projection. Boston also announced agreement with backstop Christian Vazquez, who’ll earn $1.425MM, per MLB.com’s Ian Browne (via Twitter). That’s just under the projection of $1.5MM.
    • The Blue Jays and righty Aaron Sanchez agreed to a $2.7MM deal for 2018, according to Nightengale (Twitter link). That crushes his $1.9MM projection, which was likely suppressed due Sanchez’s lack of innings (just 36) in 2017. He’s under Jays control through 2020. Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith, meanwhile, tweets that second baseman Devon Travis will make $1.45MM next year, falling a bit shy of his $1.7MM forecast. Other Toronto players agreeing to terms include Kevin Pillar ($3.25MM vs. $4.0MM projection) and Dominic Leone ($1.085MM vs. $1.2MM projection), MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm tweets.
    • The Rays and closer Alex Colome settled at $5.3M, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (on Twitter). He’d been projected at $5.5MM and is controllable for three more years. They also settled at $5.95MM with outfielder/DH Corey Dickerson ($6.4MM projection) and $4.5MM with infielder Brad Miller ($4.4MM projection), per Murray (all Twitter links). Steven Souza, according to Murray will earn $3.55MM, placing him right in line with his $3.6MM projection. Dickerson and Miller are controlled through 2019. Souza is controlled through 2020.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[A's Avoid Arbitration With Chris Hatcher]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112191 2018-01-12T05:20:00Z 2018-01-12T05:12:47Z
  • The Athletics have settled with righty Chris Hatcher for $2.15MM, Nightengale tweets, which is just $100K short of his projection. Hatcher will be arbitration-eligible once more next winter before hitting free agency following the 2019 season.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Athletics, Khris Davis Avoid Arbitration]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=112119 2018-01-10T22:50:56Z 2018-01-10T22:50:56Z The A’s announced on Wednesday that they’ve agreed to a one-year deal with outfielder/designated hitter Khris Davis, thus avoiding arbitration. Terms of the contract weren’t announced, but FanRag’s Jon Heyman reports that Davis, an Octagon client, agreed to a $10.5MM salary for the 2018 season (Twitter link). The slugger had a projected arbitration salary of $11.1MM, per MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.

    The 30-year-old Davis just wrapped up his second consecutive season of 40-plus homers, belting 43 round-trippers and hitting .247/.326/.528 with 91 runs scored and 110 RBIs on the season overall. Those gaudy counting stats should position him nicely for a pay raise in what will be his second trip through the arbitration process. Davis will be arb-eligible once more next offseason before reaching free agency upon completion of the 2019 season.

    Oakland has now avoided arbitration with both Davis and Jake Smolinski, leaving them with six unresolved cases, as can be seen in MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker. Marcus Semien, Kendall Graveman, Chris Hatcher, Liam Hendriks, Josh Phegley and Blake Treinen are all still eligible for arbitration. The deadline to exchange figures looms this Friday evening.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[A’s Sign Simon Castro, Steve Lombardozzi, Slade Heathcott To Minor League Deals]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111981 2018-01-08T21:24:41Z 2018-01-08T21:11:20Z The A’s have announced a series of non-roster invites to Major League Spring Training today (Twitter link via Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle). Among the notable names are right-hander Simon Castro, who logged 37 innings with the A’s last season, as well as veteran utility infielder Steve Lombardozzi, former Cubs lefty Eric Jokisch and former top outfield prospect Slade Heathcott. Castro had previously elected minor league free agency but will return on a new minor league pact.

    The 29-year-old Castro pitched to a 4.38 ERA with 8.5 K/9 against 3.4 BB/9 in his 37 frames with the A’s. Castro averaged nearly 94 mph on his fastball, but as an extreme fly-ball pitcher that saw 14 percent of flies against him turn into homers, he also averaged 1.7 long balls per nine innings pitched. The journeyman righty posted a career-best 14.9 K/9 in 38 Triple-A innings this season but averaged five walks per nine, as well. He’s set to turn 30 in April.

    [Related: Updated Oakland Athletics depth chart]

    Lombardozzi, 29, went hitless in eight plate appearances with the Marlins this past season and hasn’t recorded a hit in the Majors since 2014. But, he’s a career .279/.332/.337 hitter in parts of five Triple-A campaigns and posted numbers that were nearly identical to that career output with Miami’s Triple-A affiliate last season. Lombardozzi has played second base, third base, shortstop and the outfield corners in his career, so he can serve as a versatile depth option capable of stepping into multiple roles for the A’s should injuries arise.

    The 28-year-old Jokisch posted a 1.88 ERA with a 10-to-4 K/BB ratio in 14 1/3 innings for the 2014 Cubs. That’s his only MLB experience to date, though, as he’s spent the 2015-17 seasons bouncing between the Double-A and Triple-A levels. Jokisch has a career 4.01 ERA with 6.6 K/9 against 2.6 BB/9 in 422 innings of Triple-A work — most of which has come as a starter. While he spent the bulk of the 2016 season working in relief, 22 of his 29 appearances this past season were starts. In 140 2/3 innings, he notched a 4.09 ERA.

    Heathcott, now 27, was the 29th overall pick in the 2009 draft and rated as the game’s No. 63 overall prospect (No. 2 in the Yankees’ system) heading into the 2013 season, according to Baseball America. However, while he demonstrated impressive offensive potential in the lower minors, his bat has stalled in Double-A and Triple-A. Heathcott, who can handle all three outfield spots, hit a combined .267/.350/.435 in 478 plate appearances between the Giants’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates in 2017.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[A's Had Interest In Joakim Soria]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111918 2018-01-07T19:08:20Z 2018-01-07T19:08:20Z
  • The Athletics also had interest in Joakim Soria before the Royals dealt him to the White Sox earlier this week.  Soria would’ve given the A’s extra closing depth behind Blake Treinen, and Oakland could also have potentially looked to move Soria at the trade deadline.  The A’s have already made two notable additions (Yusmeiro Petit and Emilio Pagan) to their bullpen mix this winter, and it stands to reason that they could still be looking for more veteran relief help after missing out on Soria.

    [SOURCE LINK]
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[AL West Notes: Rangers, A’s Scouting, Pinder, Ohtani]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111808 2018-01-06T16:45:11Z 2018-01-06T16:32:37Z The Rangers and the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of the Japan Pacific League have announced a partnership. Gerry Fraley of SportsDay wrote a full report on the news, noting that the partnership will include exchanging of “ideas and information” about business, ballpark construction, scouting and player development. Notably, the Fighters will also send one of their own instructors both to Rangers spring training camp and to travel with the team during the regular season. The partnership may have evolved from the depth of scouting personnel that Texas deployed to scout players such as Yu Darvish, Yoshinori Tateyama and Shohei Ohtani“We look forward to helping each other in a variety of ways,” Rangers President Jon Daniels said of the new alliance. It’s fair to wonder whether this partnership will allow Texas to get its foot in the door with future Fighters talent interested in making the transition to MLB.

    More items from the American League’s western clubs…

    • The Athletics recently hired 24-year-old Haley Alvarez as their scouting coordinator; she’s the first woman to be hired by the club as a talent evaluator. Alyson Footer of MLB.com wrote a piece on the subject detailing the former intern’s rise to her new position. Alvarez’ journey to scouting began with baseball operations experience she gained during her college days at the University of Virginia, followed by internships with the Commissioner’s Office and the Boston Red Sox organization. Following an internship with the A’s, GM David Forst offered to sponsor her for scout school. Though Alvarez didn’t even know such a thing existed, she was excited about the opportunity, and used it to fuel her career path. She’s now using modern analytics and new advanced technology to help the A’s bring in talent. “You don’t have to have played baseball, which is a common misconception,” says Alvarez, who hopes to inspire other women to pursue career paths in baseball operations.
    • In other Athletics news, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports that sophomore Chad Pinder is preparing to play first base for the club on occasion. Because Ryon Healy was shipped to Seattle this offseason, the club needs a backup first baseman. “I think the last time I played first base was in eighth grade,” said Pinder, though he did take ground balls during practice there last season. The Oakland utilityman started at six different positions for the club last season while hitting .232/.292/.457 across 309 plate appearances with 15 homers and 42 RBI. The righty-hitter struck out in nearly 30% of his plate appearances.
    • Angels GM Billy Eppler is headed to Japan in order to help with Shohei Ohtani’s transition process, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register writes. He’ll be bringing three other Angels personnel with him. “We spent so much time saying what we’re about to Ohtani and putting things forward for him,” said Eppler. “The main purpose of this is now to get his input and feedback on things.” Eppler also added that Ohtani is scheduled to get on a mound in two weeks; there don’t seem to be any concerns about his health at this time.
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    Matt Swartz <![CDATA[Arbitration Breakdown: Khris Davis]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111634 2018-01-07T20:48:39Z 2018-01-06T00:33:29Z Over the next few days, I will be discussing some of the higher profile upcoming arbitration cases. I rely partly on my arbitration model developed exclusively for MLB Trade Rumors, but will also break out some interesting comparables and determine where the model might be wrong. 2018 projections are available right here. We have already covered Manny Machado’s arbitration breakdown and Mookie Betts’s arbitration breakdown. Full 2018 projected arbitration salaries for every player are also available here at MLBTR.

    Khris Davis is projected for a healthy raise of $6.1 million up to an $11.1 million salary due to his impressive 43 home runs this past year. With 110 RBI, but only a .247 average, the main case for Davis getting a big raise is definitely those home runs.

    Home runs are notoriously important for arbitration, and are by far the main driver (along with playing time) of raises according to my model. However, this past season set a league record with 6,105 total home runs—this was 26 percent higher than the average from the last five years. So when I look at players with similar totals over the last five years, it is unclear whether an arbitration panel (or teams and agents that are negotiating in the shadow of what an arbitration panel would say) would treat home runs from Davis as similar to other players with the same number as home runs, or as someone with maybe 26 percent fewer home runs. My model does not adjust for league run environment in this way; in general the data has shown that run environment is not a big consideration in arbitration. Hitters in high scoring years benefit from being compared to hitters in lower scoring years, and pitchers in low scoring years benefit from being compared to pitchers in high scoring years.

    Deflating Davis’ home run total by 26 percent would put him at 34 home runs, so it would still be a solid season. Chances are that a panel would view Davis as closer to a 40-homer guy (as would Davis’ reps and the A’s during negotiations in the shadow of how a panel would treat him), especially because the Oakland Coliseum deflates home runs, somewhat neutralizing the effect of the higher home run environment.

    Only three guys entering their second years of arbitration have hit 40 home runs in the last five years: Two years ago, Josh Donaldson entered arbitration with a .297 average, along with 41 home runs and 123 RBI. His case seems superior to Davis’, mainly because of the fifty point batting average advantage. Thus, Donaldson’s $7.35 million raise seems like a likely ceiling for Khris Davis. Going back four years, we see homonym comparable Chris Davis getting a $7.05 million raise with 53 home runs and a .286 average, along with 138 RBIs; he seems like a ceiling as well. Nolan Arenado hit 41 home runs going into arbitration last year, but he also had a very high average (.294), so his $6.75 million raise seems like a ceiling too. So it is likely that the model is right to place Davis closer to $6 million than $7 million.

    It is tough to find floors, but a couple potentials are Lucas Duda and Brandon Moss. Both hit in the .250s but with only 30 home runs, and got raises around $2.5 million. They are clearly well below where Davis should end up.

    There is a large range of possibilities there. I think the model is probably as good a guess as any on this case, and I would look for Davis to land around $11 million. But I would probably think $10 million is more likely than $12 million based on the precedent from players like Arenado, Donaldson, and Chris Davis.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Trial Date Set For Bruce Maxwell]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=111320 2017-12-29T00:12:31Z 2017-12-29T00:12:31Z
  • Bruce Maxwell’s trial date (on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and disorderly conduct) has been scheduled for April 10, NBCSports.com Bay Area’s Joe Stiglich reports.  This means that Maxwell would miss part of the Athletics’ season, though “there remains a strong possibility” that a trial is avoided by a plea deal, according to Stiglich.  Discussion of a settlement conference took place today during Maxwell’s first pretrial conference today, as per a court spokesperson.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[A’s Sign Cuban Outfielder Dairon Blanco]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110738 2017-12-20T05:52:15Z 2017-12-20T05:49:37Z The A’s announced yesterday that they’ve inked free-agent outfielder Dairon Blanco. The 24-year-old left his native Cuba back in the spring of 2016 and was declared a free agent by MLB last November. Terms of the deal weren’t reported, but the A’s are in the metaphorical “penalty box” after blowing past last year’s international pool, so the deal can’t guarantee Blanco more than $300K.

    Blanco is a lifetime .303/.369/.409 hitter in parts of four pro seasons in Cuba (916 plate appearances). At the time of his departure from Cuba and MLB’s declaration of free agency for the right-handed hitter, Blanco was said by Baseball America’s Ben Badler and Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen to possess 80-grade speed on the 20-80 scale but a lesser set of other tools. Longenhagen put a 40 on his arm last November, and Badler questioned his natural hitting abilities.

    By the time Spring Training gets underway, it will have been more than two years since Blanco has suited up for a pro game. He’ll assuredly require some minor league time in 2018 and possibly beyond the coming season before he emerges as a viable option for the A’s. But, Oakland has no clear option in center field and could very well need a left fielder during or after the 2018 campaign, depending on the status of Matt Joyce, who’s entering the second season of a two-year deal.

    Certainly, the team hopes that Dustin Fowler will be able to hold down a regular spot in their outfield (ideally, in center) for years to come, though his ability to contribute is tied directly to his ability to recover from a significant knee injury suffered in his MLB debut with the Yankees last year. Expecting Blanco to emerge as a candidate to log significant big league time this coming season seems optimistic, though his apparently blistering speed and a Gold Glove award in Cuba could make him an intriguing fourth outfield option at the very least, if he can prove competent with the bat.

    Oakland’s assistant GM Dan Feinstein spoke highly of Blanco to Melissa Lockard of OaklandClubhouse.com, telling her that the A’s have been scouting Blanco for more than a year during his workouts in the Dominican Republic. “[Blanco] has a track record of success in the Cuba, and possesses tools that are hard to come by,” said Feinstein. “He’s very athletic, and a true 80 runner with the ability to play all three outfield spots. Profiles as leadoff hitter who will occasionally put one in the seats.”

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Athletics Acquire Jonah Heim From Rays]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110713 2017-12-19T21:45:38Z 2017-12-19T21:45:38Z The A’s have acquired minor league catcher Jonah Heim from the Rays as the player to be named later in last week’s Joey Wendle trade, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter).

    Heim, 22, spent the entire 2016 season in Class-A Advanced but struggled greatly, prompting the Rays to drop him back to Class-A to open the 2017 campaign. Heim spent most of the year in that Class-A Midwest League before moving back up to High-A for the final 16 games, hitting a combined .260/.317/.402 with nine homers across the two levels. He caught 45 percent of would-be base thieves in 2017 and is at an excellent mark of 38 percent throughout his minor league career to date. Heim did not rank among Tampa Bay’s top prospects, but he’ll give the A’s some depth at the position and could seemingly find himself in Double-A at some point in the 2018 campaign.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics Acquire Jake Bray From Orioles]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110709 2017-12-19T21:19:31Z 2017-12-19T21:11:38Z The Athletics have acquired righty Jake Bray from the Orioles, per a club announcement. He represents the player to be named later in the deal that sent outfielder Jaycob Brugman to Baltimore earlier in the offseason.

    Bray, 25, has not yet played above the Class A level. In 2017, he pitched to a 3.88 ERA in 51 Sally League frames. That said, he has shown some interesting peripherals at time, never more so than in his just-completed season, when he racked up 82 strikeouts against just 14 walks.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Dustin Fowler Sues White Sox Over Injury]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110416 2017-12-16T06:34:02Z 2017-12-16T06:11:12Z Athletics outfielder Dustin Fowler has brought a lawsuit against the White Sox and the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority relating to the serious knee injury he suffered in June, as Tom Schuba of the Chicago Sun Times reports.

    Fowler was injured when he collided with an electrical box along the right field wall at Chicago’s Guaranteed Rate Field while chasing a foul pop-up. At the time, he was playing for the Yankees in his first major league baseball game. He suffered a ruptured patella tendon that required surgery and cost him the entire remainder of the season.

    Now a member of the Athletics after being included in the Sonny Gray swap at the 2017 trade deadline, Fowler is working his way back in preparation for Spring Training. The hope is that he will regain his health and former trajectory as a player, though certainly it is not yet clear whether he’ll face ongoing physical limitations.

    Fowler, who’ll soon turn 23, had increasingly been seen as an intriguing young player during the course of the 2017 season. He hit 13 home runs and posted a .293/.329/.542 batting line in 313 plate appearances at Triple-A, earning his first call-up.

    According to the suit, the White Sox and/or Authority failed to adequately protect players from the unpadded electrical box, leaving players exposed to the sort of harm that Fowler ultimately suffered. He is seeking damages for “severe and permanent” injuries, pain and suffering, and certain medical costs.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mets Unlikely To Pursue Jed Lowrie]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110248 2017-12-15T02:48:41Z 2017-12-15T02:48:41Z
  • In a full story from Carig, he reports that the Mets are more willing to take on salary than give up significant prospects in trades.  This could lead them to Jason Kipnis, who both Carig and Puma cite as potentially the Mets’ top second base target.  The Indians owe Kipnis $28MM over the next two season, plus a $16.5MM club option for 2020 that carries a $2.5MM buyout.  Also from Carig, he reports that the Mets don’t seem to have much interest in another second baseman, the AthleticsJed Lowrie.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Athletics Acquire Stephen Piscotty]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=110042 2017-12-14T17:17:59Z 2017-12-14T15:58:17Z The Athletics have officially acquired outfielder Stephen Piscotty from the Cardinals. Minor league infielders Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock will head back to St. Louis in the swap.

    Sep 7, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Stephen Piscotty (55) singles during the second inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

    Piscotty, who seemed like a shoo-in to leave the Cardinals via trade entering the offseason, became especially superfluous to the Redbirds when they swung a blockbuster to acquire fellow outfielder Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins on Wednesday. That deal left the Cardinals with three highly qualified starting outfielders in Ozuna, Dexter Fowler and Tommy Pham, thus leading to the end of Piscotty’s tenure with the club.

    [RELATED: Updated Athletics Depth Chart]

    Now 26, Piscotty joined the St. Louis organization as a first-round pick in 2012 and flashed moments of brilliance during his short major league stint there. Between his debut in 2015 and the end of the ’16 campign, the right-handed hitter slashed a terrific .282/.348/.467 with 29 home runs and a 3.9 fWAR in 905 plate appearances. The auspicious start to Piscotty’s career was enough to convince the Cardinals to award him a six-year extension worth a guaranteed $33.5MM prior to last season.

    Unfortunately for St. Louis, early returns on the newly extended Piscotty weren’t positive in 2017. While Piscotty managed to significantly increase his walk rate to 13 percent (up from around 8 percent from 2015-16), his offensive production took an overall dive as he batted a disappointing .235/.342/.367 with nine homers and a subpar .132 ISO (down 53 points from the previous two seasons).

    The Athletics will now hope for a bounce-back from Piscotty, a Northern California native and Stanford alumnus. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Wednesday that the Cards hoped a Piscotty trade would give him a chance to be closer to his mother, who’s battling ALS, and they were able to make good on that.

    As Piscotty deals with a tragic situation off the field, he may be in line for a revival on it; his age, 2015-16 output and batted-ball misfortune are all encouraging signs. Piscotty finished 2017 with a .319 wOBA, but the number should have been closer to a solid .340, according to Statcast.

    If Piscotty does return to something resembling his best form in Oakland, he’ll be an effective, affordable and young piece for the low-payroll club. The A’s saw other position player building blocks in first baseman Matt Olson and third baseman Matt Chapman come to the fore in 2017, and, barring trades, have established hitters on hand in DH Khris Davis, corner outfielder Matt Joyce, second baseman Jed Lowrie and shortstop Marcus Semien. Piscotty, who’s likely to play opposite Joyce in one of the corners next year, is now in line to join a growing group of talent on a rebuilding club.

    Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, who has long reported upon the A’s interest in Piscotty, reported yesterday that the deal was nearing completion and today that a framework was in place (Twitter link). Jon Heyman of FanRag tweeted the deal was in place, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported it was moving forward this morning, and MLB.com’s Jane Lee tweeted the swap was official.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics, Cardinals In Serious Talks On Stephen Piscotty Swap]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109886 2017-12-13T20:29:53Z 2017-12-13T20:28:59Z 2:28pm: Slusser has added a few more conceivable players in conversations in an updated version of her story. It seems that the sides could be contemplating some of the A’s relief arms.

    1:38pm: The dominoes from the Cardinals’ reported acquisition of Marcell Ozuna are beginning to fall, it seems. Per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Athletics’ long-standing interest in Cards outfielder Stephen Piscotty could conceivably come to fruition with a deal before the Winter Meetings end.

    Oakland is not willing to part with its best young assets, according to the report, but Slusser says the discussions have revolved around some of the A’s available 40-man assets. One name under consideration, she notes, is infielder Yairo Munoz, a 23-year-old who reached the top level of the minors in 2017.

    Piscotty, who’ll soon turn 27, thrived in his first two seasons in the majors, posting a cumulative .282/.348/.467 slash and hitting 29 home runs in his first 905 MLB plate appearances. He ended up striking a six-year, $33.5MM extension at the start of the 2017 campaign.

    Things haven’t progressed as hoped since that time, however. Piscotty missed some time due to injury and ended the year with 401 plate appearances of .235/.342/.367 output through 401 trips to the plate. On the positive side, Piscotty did neary double his walk rate to 13.0% even as his power dipped.

    Piscotty continues to grade as a solid defender but subpar baserunner. If he can regain his form at the dish, there’s good reason to think he could be a quality regular in the corner — which is just what the A’s are in search of.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pitching Rumblings: Twins, Darvish, Cishek, Cole, Mariners, Liriano, Watson]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109820 2017-12-13T22:14:17Z 2017-12-13T19:21:28Z While the market for starters is still fairly slow to develop, relievers have been flying off the board at the Winter Meetings. Here’s the latest chatter on some hurlers from around the game:

    • The Twins are sending signals that they’re serious about their pursuit of free agent righty Yu Darvish. As LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star-Tribune writes, skipper Paul Molitor says the organization has “targeted [Darvish] as somebody we have tremendous interest in.” That follows prior public indications of interest from GM Thad Levine, who, as Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press examines, has a longstanding relationship with Darvish. That piece is well worth a full read, if only for Berardino’s enjoyable chat with catcher Chris Gimenez, who worked closely with Darvish with the Rangers and has played most recently with the Twins.
    • Meanwhile, the Twins are also among the teams looking into righty Steve Cishek, according to Berardino (via Twitter). The sidearmer has been left as one of the top remaining free-agent setup men after a spate of signings at the Winter Meetings. He finished the 2017 season on a strong run with the Rays.
    • The Orioles have at least checked in on Pirates ace Gerrit Cole, according to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Certainly, Baltimore isn’t the only organization that would love to add Cole, whose name has arisen in chatter a few times in recent days. Whether the Bucs are really ready to deal him isn’t entirely clear; neither is it certain just what the club would seek in return. Yesterday, though, Buster Olney of ESPN.com gave perhaps the clearest indication yet that Pittsburgh may be prepared to strike an agreement, tweeting that there’s a belief from some around the game that Pittsburgh would pull the trigger if the right deal came across its desk.
    • Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto says his team is in the “red zone” on a deal, likely for a reliever, in an appearance on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (Twitter link). Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio tweets that Juan Nicasio is a “strongly rumored possibility,” though clearly that’s not a firm connection at this point. And it’s certainly worth noting that the M’s have, in fact, struck agreement on a trade since Dipoto went on the air — though it’s not clear whether the minor acquisition was the one he was referring to. Perhaps Dipoto was giving a nod to that swap, but it’s also possible there’s a more significant move still in store. Regardless, the M’s are clearly focused on pitching, as Dipoto has made clear and TJ Cotterill of the Tacoma News Tribune reports.
    • The Astros are weighing a reunion with lefty Francisco Liriano, according to Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). Long a starter, the 34-year-old was added by the ’Stros at the 2017 trade deadline and moved into a relief role. He did not exactly thrive in that job initially, allowing seven earned runs and posting an ugly 11:10 K/BB ratio in his 14 1/3 frames over twenty appearances. Liriano will presumably also draw some looks from organizations that would propose to give him a shot at rediscovering his form as a starter.
    • Another lefty, Tony Watson, is a possible target for the Athletics, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The 32-year-old has plenty of late-inning experience and finished strong after a mid-season swap to the Dodgers. In twenty innings with L.A., Watson posted a 2.70 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[New York Notes: Mets Pen, Harvey, Lowrie, Duffy, Yankees Options]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109670 2017-12-12T21:56:44Z 2017-12-12T21:56:44Z New Mets skipper Mickey Callaway indicated in his comments to reporters that he’s disinclined to utilize a traditional closer, as Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets. While Jeurys Familia has thrived in that role at times in the past, it seems the Mets may at least consider dabbling in more of a late-inning matchup approach, though surely the team’s approach will also depend upon its ensuing transactions. GM Sandy Alderson suggested to reporters, including Marc Carig of Newsday (Twitter link), that bullpen usage plans are still open for consideration.

    More from the New York organizations:

    • Meanwhile, recent chatter surrounding Matt Harvey does not seem likely to go anywhere. Alderson indicated (also via Carig, on Twitter) that Callaway and pitching coach Dave Eiland have recommended the organization retain the former ace. While it’s not clear that anything has changed since the rumors emerged yesterday, that viewpoint seems at least to be informing the Mets’ valuation of a pitcher that has a massive ceiling but who has struggled quite notably of late.
    • While the Mets held at least some conversations with the Athletics regarding second baseman Jed Lowrie, per Puma (via Twitter), the clubs “don’t appear to match up.” That seems to remove at least one possibility from the Mets’ seemingly wide-open search for options up the middle. At this stage, it’s anyone’s guess how the open job will be filled.
    • The Yankees have reached out to the Royals to express interest in lefty Danny Duffy, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports on Twitter. Kansas City seems to be in the early stages of exploring trade scenarios for Duffy and others, but we’ve heard some news trickle out on various possibilities in recent days. The Yanks, meanwhile, have been connected to a variety of names; Sherman also discusses some of the other avenues for building out the Yanks’ rotation.
    • Sherman also looks at the Yankees’ situation from a higher level. Without further salary-shedding maneuvers, he tweets, the team may have something on the order of $20MM to $25MM to work with before reaching luxury tax territory. Given that the organization has possibilities for moving yet more cash off the books, it seems there’s still ample flexibility.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[6 To 8 Teams Interested In Marcell Ozuna]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109506 2017-12-12T20:27:46Z 2017-12-12T16:42:00Z TODAY: The Rockies and Blue Jays are also among the interested teams, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald (Twitter link).

    YESTERDAY, 7:45pm: The Marlins are telling teams Ozuna would be easier to acquire than outfield mate Christian Yelich, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets. That’s not surprising, as the 26-year-old Yelich is controllable by way of a team-friendly contract through 2022 and carries a more consistent track record than Ozuna.

    7:01pm: Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna is drawing interest from six to eight clubs, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). Along with the Cardinals, whose interest was already known entering Monday, the Giants and Nationals are among the teams in on Ozuna, per Frisaro. The Athletics are also still considering Ozuna, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Slussser first reported their interest in Ozuna in early November.

    Two of these clubs – the Cardinals and Giants – have spent a large portion of the offseason engaging with the Marlins about right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, and they even had deals in place to land the 2017 NL MVP. But Stanton nixed those trades before accepting a deal to the Yankees over the weekend, sending the Cards and Giants scrambling for other options. Ozuna makes for an appealing Plan B, then, as he’s coming off a season in which he slashed a career-best .312/.376/.548 with 37 home runs and a 4.8 fWAR over 679 plate appearances.

    In terms of production, last year was an outlier for Ozuna relative to the rest of his career – which began when he debuted in 2013 – but he has still accounted for at least 2.5 fWAR in three of four full seasons. At worst, Ozuna seems to be a solid regular, and the 27-year-old doesn’t come with an onerous, Stanton-esque contract. He’s controllable for two more years via arbitration and will earn a projected $10.9MM in 2018. That’s certainly an affordable figure, though it should also help the Marlins land a quality return for him. They’re obviously educated on both the Cardinals’ and Giants’ farm systems thanks to the Stanton talks.

    The Nationals, meanwhile, share a division with the Marlins, but that shouldn’t necessarily serve as a deterrent to a payroll-cutting Miami team whose primary goal in an Ozuna trade should be to bolster its weak system. Washington’s prospect pool is only the majors’ 18th best, per Baseball America (the outlet ranks the Cards’ 13th and the Giants’ 27th), but it seems that’s primarily because of a lack of depth. The top of the Nationals’ system is impressive, according to BA, and that could help pave the way for an Ozuna swap.

    With the Nationals at risk of losing Bryce Harper to free agency in a year, Ozuna might somewhat help cover for his potential exit in 2019. In the meantime, the Nats could perhaps use a left fielder to complement Harper in right and Adam Eaton in center. They do, however, have other in-house options in Michael A. Taylor and Brian Goodwin. Taylor was particularly strong in 2017, yet the Nats may not be content with him functioning as a regular in 2018, if their interest in Ozuna is any indication.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Billy Beane On Extensions, Vet Pitchers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109512 2017-12-12T02:41:58Z 2017-12-12T02:35:29Z
  • Athletics executive VP Billy Beane announced after the season that they’re hoping to sign some of their best young talent to contract extensions this offseason. That remains the case, Beane told reporters. Beane added that picking up a veteran starter is a low priority for the A’s, saying they’re “not overly impressed with guys that would be available to us” (Twitter links via Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle and Jane Lee of MLB.com).
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On Athletics’ Pursuit Of Outfielders]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109344 2017-12-12T01:23:30Z 2017-12-12T01:23:11Z 8:15pm: More on the A’s outfield from Slusser, who reports that they’re also interested in one of Piscotty’s teammates, Grichuk, as well as the Reds’ Adam Duvall and the Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. As 30-home run hitters in 2017, Duvall and Souza would provide right-handed punch to the A’s lineup if acquired. They’re also controllable for the next few seasons – Duvall’s under wraps through 2021, including one pre-arbitration year, while Souza’s set to play his first of three arb-eligible campaigns in 2018. He’s projected to earn a very affordable $3.6MM. Grichuk’s another powerful righty entering his first of three arb years, though he didn’t fare as well as Duvall or Souza in 2017.

    Meanwhile, the A’s seem uninterested in moving one of their top offensive players, left fielder/designated hitter Khris Davis, per Slusser. They’ve spurned the Red Sox and other teams that have inquired about Davis this winter.

    1:04am: The Athletics continue to have interest in the Cardinals’ Stephen Piscotty, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle recently reported and MLB.com’s Jane Lee discusses in a video link. Oakland has been on the hunt this winter for right-handed hitting outfield help.

    A previous connection between Piscotty and the A’s surfaced in the aftermath of the trade deadline, as the Cardinals reportedly floated an offer of Piscotty and either Luke Weaver or Jack Flaherty to Oakland in exchange for Sonny Gray.  Those talks never really got off the ground, however, and the A’s subsequently dealt Gray to the Yankees.

    As Lee mentions in the video, “the A’s have interest in a ton of outfielders right now,” with the team particularly focused on right-handed bats who are controllable, so the A’s aren’t only looking at veteran options.  The Athletics are clearly willing to shop near the top of the trade market, however, as such names as Avisail Garcia of the White Sox and Marlins outfielders Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich (a left-handed hitter) have already been reported as landing on Oakland’s radar in talks.

    Piscotty wouldn’t cost as much in a deal as those aforementioned names, given how he struggled in 2017.  After signing a six-year, $33.5MM extension with the Cardinals in April, Piscotty went from building block to potentially expendable piece by hitting just .235/.342/.367 with nine homers over  401 plate appearances.  Groin and hamstring injuries didn’t help his cause, and Piscotty was even demoted to Triple-A in August for a brief spell.

    Still, Piscotty posted strong numbers in his first two big league seasons, he doesn’t turn 27 until January, and the Cards are less than a year removed from locking him up on what could still be a team-friendly extension.  Under normal circumstances, St. Louis wouldn’t be looking to deal a player like Piscotty (especially when his trade value has been lowered), though the club must create room within a crowded outfield picture.  Dexter Fowler and Tommy Pham locked into everyday outfield spots next year, leaving just one corner spot for Piscotty, Randal Grichuk, and prospects Magneuris Sierra, Tyler O’Neill, and Harrison Bader.  The Cards may also add another everyday outfielder — they’ve also been linked to Ozuna and Yelich in trade speculation, and J.D. Martinez is a possibility for a Cardinals lineup looking for a big bat after missing out on Giancarlo Stanton.

    This surplus makes St. Louis a logical trade partner for an Oakland team that is short on established outfielders.  Boog Powell and top prospect Dustin Fowler are the top candidates for center field, while Matt Joyce, Jake Smolinski, Chad Pinder and Mark Canha will be in the mix for playing time in the corners.  Piscotty would step into one of those corner spots for everyday duty right away, and the $30.5MM owed to him over the next five years (counting a $1MM buyout of his $15MM club option for 2023) is a palatable price tag even for a smaller-market team like the A’s.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Trade Chatter: Machado, Phils, Yanks, Bucs, Cole, Ellsbury, Tigers, Brewers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109480 2017-12-12T21:23:43Z 2017-12-11T22:59:07Z Should the Orioles decide to trade superstar third baseman Manny Machado prior to 2018, his contract year, they could find a taker in Philadelphia. The Phillies are among “the more interested parties” in Machado, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports. The Orioles have studied the Phillies’ farm system in the event of a deal, and they now “covet” right-hander Sixto Sanchez (Baseball America’s 61st-best prospect), per Kubatko. Second base prospect Scott Kingery and major league shortstop Freddy Galvis could also be involved in a potential trade, Kubatko writes. But a swap would require a 72-hour window for the Phillies to extend the 25-year-old Machado, according to Kubatko, and hammering out an agreement could be a tall order given that he’s so close to hitting the open market.

    More of the latest trade chatter:

    • The Yankees reportedly came away from talks with the Pirates with the impression that they won’t move righty Gerrit Cole. However, the Pirates are at least willing to listen to offers for Cole, per Buster Olney of ESPN (Twitter link). The Yankees and Bucs match up well for a potential Cole trade, sources tell Olney, who notes that Bombers general manager Brian Cashman and the Pirates’ Neal Huntington have swung plenty of deals in the past.
    • In the wake of the Giancarlo Stanton acquisition, the Yankees are loaded with outfielders. Although that seems to be bad news for Jacoby Ellsbury, who’s toward the bottom of the Yankees’ current outfield depth chart, he’s still “unlikely” to waive his no-trade clause, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com tweets. The belief is that the Yankees would eat roughly half of the $68MM to jettison Ellsbury, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag, but it could be a moot point if he’s unwilling to go anywhere. And Cashman said Monday that Ellsbury “has a spot on the roster” and “will compete to take his job back,” Alex Speier of the Boston Globe relays (Twitter link). On the other hand, if the Yankees make 23-year-old outfielder Clint Frazier available, the Athletics would unquestionably have interest, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (via Twitter). However, the price to acquire Frazier would likely be too high, Slusser adds.
    • The Tigers expect to deal second baseman Ian Kinsler, GM Al Avila told Evan Woodbery of MLive.com and other reporters (Twitter link). Meanwhile, they’ve gotten “mild inquiries” on arguably their most valuable trade chip – righty Michael Fulmer – but they’re not actively shopping him (via Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, on Twitter). “There are a handful of teams out there that have the players to do it, but we have not come close to those conversations,” Avila said of a potential Fulmer trade (Twitter link via Jason Beck of MLB.com).
    • While the Brewers are listening to offers for outfielder Domingo Santana, there’s not a lot of traction in trade talks, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN tweets. The Brewers want “an affordable impact starter” for Santana, Crasnick suggests. GM David Stearns told reporters Monday that “if we’re going to even consider trading someone who is such an important part of our team, we are going to expect a sizable return” (via Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, on Twitter).
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rays Acquire Joey Wendle]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109482 2017-12-12T05:58:45Z 2017-12-11T22:18:41Z The Rays have acquired second baseman Joey Wendle from the Athletics for a player to be named later, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com was among those to report (Twitter link). The A’s jettisoned Wendle from their 40-man roster when they designated him for assignment last Thursday.

    Tampa Bay is the third organization for Wendle, who entered the pro ranks as a sixth-round pick of the Indians in 2012. They shipped him to the A’s in 2014 to acquire slugger Brandon Moss. The lefty-hitting Wendle ended up making his major league debut in 2016, and he hit a combined .266/.305/.339 in 118 plate appearances with the A’s between that year and last season. Wendle, 27, spent nearly all of the 2017 campaign with the A’s Triple-A affiliate and batted .285/.327/.429 in 510 PAs. With an option remaining, he could head back to Triple-A with the Rays and serve as depth.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics Increasingly Likely To Trade Jed Lowrie]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109406 2017-12-11T18:40:15Z 2017-12-11T18:24:40Z
  • Athletics second baseman Jed Lowrie is currently penciled into the organization’s everyday lineup, but Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that “it’s increasingly apparent that Lowrie could be on the move sooner rather than later.” The driving force here, it seems, isn’t so much salary — Lowrie’s reasonable $6MM tab still leaves the A’s room to work with — as it is opportunity. Oakland evidently sees a chance to get a strong return on Lowrie while working to improve in the outfield. Since Frankin Barreto could step into Lowrie’s shoes, the team may just be seeing a new and better way to allocate resources. The 33-year-old Lowrie had a strong bounceback season in 2017, turning in 645 plate appearances of .277/.360/.448 hitting.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cafardo: A's Willing To Trade Jed Lowrie]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109236 2017-12-10T16:35:24Z 2017-12-10T16:35:24Z
  • The Athletics expected to retain infielder Jed Lowrie as of October, but now they’d “certainly be willing” to trade him, Cafardo reports. Lowrie will enter his age-34 campaign in 2018, in which he’ll earn a very reasonable $6MM, after turning in one of the healthiest and best years of his career last season.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[A's Targeting Outfielder At Winter Meetings]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=109016 2017-12-08T17:48:53Z 2017-12-08T17:48:53Z
  • Athletics GM David Forst spoke with reporters on a conference call yesterday and once again iterated that his team’s goal is to add a right-handed hitting corner outfielder to the mix (Twitter link via Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle). Oakland will hope to come away from next week’s Winter Meetings with that player in tow, though there’s obviously no guarantee they’ll line up with a trade partner in Orlando. Meanwhile, MLB.com’s Jon Morosi tweets that even though the A’s have no plans to trade Khris Davis, they’ll probably receive inquiries regarding his availability, given that Davis is only two years away from free agency. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects a sizable $11.1MM salary for Davis in arbitration this year.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Athletics Designate Joey Wendle For Assignment]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=108967 2017-12-07T23:59:28Z 2017-12-07T23:51:22Z The Athletics have designated infielder Joey Wendle for assignment, according to an announcement from the team. Oakland jettisoned Wendle to make room on its 40-man roster for newly signed reliever Yusmeiro Petit, whose deal with the club is now official.

    Now 27, Wendle has been a member of the Oakland organization since December 2014, when it acquired him from the Indians for slugger Brandon Moss. Wendle has spent the vast majority of his A’s tenure with their Triple-A affiliate and slashed .285/.325/.441 across 1,654 plate appearances at that level. He made his big league debut in 2016 during a 104-PA showing and added another 14 plate trips last season. All told, Wendle has hit a less-than-stellar .266/.305/.339 as a member of the A’s, with whom he has lined up solely at second base.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Major Obstacle Arises To Athletics’ Ballpark Plans]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=108841 2017-12-06T18:10:14Z 2017-12-06T18:10:14Z It seemed the Athletics had finally started some momentum toward a new ballpark when it emerged in September that the club had settled on a site to pursue. But that plan has now run into a major roadblock, according to a report from Kimberly Veklerov of the San Francisco Chronicle.

    The board of trustees of Peralta Community College District — the entity that owns the prospective site, which borders Laney College — has voted to halt ongoing discussions with the A’s. That brings to a stop the exploratory efforts embarked upon by the team less than a month after it had announced a group of firms that would begin stadium design efforts.

    For their part, the A’s issued a brief statement, via the Chronicle’s Susan Slusser (on Twitter). The organization says it is “shocked by Peralta’s decision to not move forward,” explaining that it had only hoped to “enter into a conversation about how to make this work for all of Oakland, Laney, and the Peralta Community College District.”

    It may well be that this obstacle proves insurmountable, though perhaps the door is not fully slammed shut. But if the Athletics do move on, they’ll presumably go back to a drawing board that had featured several other possibilities — including a potential new facility at the current Coliseum site.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics Hire Al Pedrique As First Base Coach]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=108726 2017-12-05T06:38:41Z 2017-12-05T05:31:41Z
  • In other coaching news, the Mariners announced that Brian DeLunas has been hired as the team’s bullpen coach. Per the club, DeLunas has most recently worked for private entities CSE Baseball and Premier Pitching and Performance (P3) and previously served as a pitching coach at a variety of levels, including at the University of Missouri. Meanwhile, the Athletics have added Al Pedrique as the club’s new first base coach while shifting Mike Aldrete to assistant hitting coach and Marcus Jensen to bullpen coach. Pedrique, a former big leaguer, was most recently the manager for the Yankees’ top affiliate and has previously coached in the majors for the Diamondbacks and Astros.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mariners, Giants, Padres, Rangers, Cubs, Angels Among Teams To Meet With Shohei Ohtani]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=108603 2017-12-04T05:40:13Z 2017-12-04T05:40:33Z 11:40pm: The Angels are indeed one of the finalists, as per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter).

    10:39pm: The Angels are thought by “multiple sources” to be one of the finalists, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan tweets.  The Tigers are out of the running, according to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press.

    8:59pm: The Rangers and Cubs will both meet with Ohtani, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports (Twitter link), and they’re also the only two non-West Coast teams who appear to still be alive in the candidate process.  The Rangers, Grant notes, have yet to comment on their status one way or the other.

    7:22pm: The Nationals won’t be receiving a meeting, the Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes reports (Twitter link).

    6:58pm: The Braves are out, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports (via Twitter).

    6:50pm: The Padres will receive a meeting with Ohtani, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (Twitter links).  The Dodgers are also thought to still be active in the Ohtani sweepstakes though Heyman doesn’t have confirmation; regardless, the Dodgers aren’t thought to be favorites to land Ohtani.

    6:38pm: The Rays, Cardinals and White Sox are out, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (all Twitter links).

    6:15pm: The Diamondbacks won’t receive a meeting, Ken Rosenthal tweets.

    6:12pm: The Blue Jays, Pirates, and Brewers are all out, as respectively reported by Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi, MLB.com’s Adam Berry, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt (all Twitter links).

    5:48pm: The Mets are also out, as per Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link).

    5:38pm: Ohtani’s list is “heavy” on West Coast teams, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports, though the Cubs may still be involved.  Not every west-based team is included, however, as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal tweets that the A’s aren’t involved.

    5:28pm: The Red Sox are also out of the running, president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.  The Twins also won’t be getting a meeting with Ohtani, Heyman tweets.

    5:16pm: The Giants and Mariners are among the teams that will receive meetings with Shohei Ohtani and his representatives next week, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports (Twitter link).  It isn’t known who the other finalists are in the Ohtani sweepstakes, though the Yankees are one of the teams that didn’t make the cut, as Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters (including NJ.com’s Brendan Kuty and MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch).

    According to Cashman, Ohtani seems to be leaning towards West Coast teams in smaller markets.  This ties to a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman saying that Ohtani’s reps are informing teams that the two-way star would prefer to play in a smaller market.

    The news adds another fascinating layer to the Ohtani sweepstakes, which was already one of the more intriguing free agent pursuits in recent memory.  Given the seeming lack of immediate financial motive that inspired Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball, it opened the door for every team in baseball (regardless of market or payroll size) to make a push for the 23-year-old.  There had been speculation that Ohtani might look to avoid playing in a larger market, so this apparent confirmation creates a realistic possibility that he will land with a team that wouldn’t normally be considered a favorite to land such a coveted free agent.

    Of course, San Francisco isn’t exactly a small market, though Ohtani wouldn’t necessarily be the center of attention on a club with such established stars as Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner (and maybe even Giancarlo Stanton in the near future).  Playing for an NL team, however, would force Ohtani into a pinch-hitting or even a part-time outfield role for the at-bats he seeks in his attempt to be a two-way player in the big leagues.  The Mariners do have such a DH spot available (in a timeshare with Nelson Cruz), and were considered to be a contender for Ohtani given their long history of Japanese players.

    The Yankees also have had several significant Japanese players on their past and current rosters, and were widely seen as one of the major favorites for Ohtani’s services from a financial (in terms of available international bonus money) and positional (openings at DH and in the rotation) standpoint, not to mention their international fame and their young core of talent ready to make a World Series push.  With Ohtani now out of the picture, the Yankees could move to signing more pitching depth — a reunion with C.C. Sabathia has been widely speculated as a possibility — or a veteran bat to serve as designated hitter, if the club doesn’t just rotate its DH days to find plate appearances for everyone on the current roster.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Shohei Ohtani Rumors: Thursday]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=108233 2017-11-30T20:45:29Z 2017-11-30T20:45:16Z The question of whether Shohei Ohtani can successfully lead a big league rotation and serve as a legitimate member of its offense on a semi-regular basis is one of the most fascinating storylines in recent memory, and Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports takes an excellent look at the viability of that scenario. Brown spoke to GM, scouts, coaches and players throughout the league, and though the prevailing opinion was that while it would be difficult and unlikely, there’s also a sentiment that those in the industry are nonetheless rooting for Ohtani to succeed at both.

    Rays righty Chris Archer tells Brown that a successful two-way player would “change our perspective” on the game. Archer and free-agent outfielder Jayson Werth both chatted with Brown about their daily schedules and recovery programs, which Brown uses as a means of illustrating the challenges of Ohtani successfully serving as a starter and a DH/outfielder. Brown also talks with former pitcher/outfielder Rick Ankiel about the summer he spent as a starter and a DH in A-ball. Ankiel suggests that the true question isn’t one of whether Ohtani can physically handle a two-way role but rather one of whether Ohtani can thrive in both areas. “Can he be great at both here?” Ankiel asks rhetorically. “That depends on how good he really is.”

    Some other notes on the game’s most intriguing free-agent-to-be, who should be formally posted by Saturday…

    • The Athletics can only offer $300K to Ohtani after exceeding last year’s allotted international pool, but Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports a detailed account of their pitch to Ohtani. Oakland is will to not only let Ohtani hit but also play the outfield on occasion, she notes, and their sales pitch also centers around an emerging young core of comparably aged players to Ohtani — led by Matt Olson and Matt Chapman. The A’s hope to be in a new ballpark by 2023, if not sooner and are hoping to sell Ohtani on helping them usher in that new facility as one of the faces of the team. They also highlighted manager Bob Melvin’s relationship with Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui as well as Oakland’s relative proximity to Japan, among many other aspects.
    • Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports that the Angels have “earmarked” the $1.315MM they now have in their international pool after today’s trade with the Braves for a pursuit of Ohtani.

    Earlier Updates

    • The Phillies haven’t been mentioned in connection with Ohtani, but MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki writes that they do plan to take their shot at landing him, even if they’re considered long shots. The Phils have $900K to offer Ohtani in terms of a signing bonus, and new skipper Gabe Kapler spent a season playing in Nippon Professional Baseball, giving him some familiarity with Japanese baseball and culture. Zolecki also notes that former Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel, a senior advisor in the front office, enjoyed an excellent six-year career in NPB and is likely a known name for Ohtani, even if Manuel wrapped up his playing career before Ohtani was born. Nonetheless, the Phils will also need to convince Ohtani that their rebuilding club is near contention, and Zolecki further notes that other markets like New York, Los Angeles and Seattle have considerably larger Japanese populations and communities.
    • Pennsylvania’s other MLB club may also be a long shot, but Pirates GM Neal Huntington still spoke optimistically in his team’s ability to make a competitive pitch for Ohtani in a recent appearance with Chris Mueller and Joe Starkey on 93.7 The Fan“We are going to do everything in our power, and hopefully, have him honor us with the ability to get beyond the written presentation, get beyond the initial 30-club presentation and really dig into why it would be an honor for us to have him become a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates,” said Huntington. In terms of potential bonus offer, the Bucs are one of the better-positioned teams, with a bit more than $2.2MM to offer, but Ohtani is widely expected to make far more through endorsements than his initial signing bonus anyhow, so the bonus itself may not be an enormous separator.
    • David Kaplan of NBC Sports Chicago writes that the Cubs have sent scouts to Japan to watch Ohtani for weeks at a time in the past, and some rivals believe the Cubs to be a serious threat to land him. One exec remarks to Kaplan that president of baseball ops Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer have success in setting up support systems for international stars thanks to their acquisition of Daisuke Matsuzaka with the Red Sox in the 2006-07 offseason. The Cubs are capped at a $300K signing bonus, though again, that doesn’t appear to be as significant a strike against them as it would be in the pursuit of a more traditional free agent.
    • Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports that the Nationals crafted a presentation in English, which international scouting assistant Taisuke Sato then translated to Japanese for Ohtani’s consumption. Janes notes that the Nationals, who are also capped at $300K, cannot compete financially in terms of signing bonus and don’t have previous experience in signing Japanese players under GM Mike Rizzo to demonstrate a proven plan for helping an NPB star transition to the Majors. That said, the team has very recently made a significant investment in its medical staff, boasts a new Spring Training facility and a fairly new ballpark in D.C., and can attempt to sell Ohtani on the allure of joining an immediate contender with an open rotation spot. Janes paints the Nats as long shots but notes that they, like all 30 other clubs, will at least perform their due diligence in attempting to entire Ohtani.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Athletics Sign Yusmeiro Petit]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=108209 2017-12-08T00:01:22Z 2017-11-30T01:36:41Z The Athletics are in agreement with free-agent right-hander Yusmeiro Petit on a two-year, $10MM contract with a third-year club option, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports (via Twitter). Petit is represented by Godoy Sports. He’ll earn $3.5MM in 2018, $5.5MM in 2019 and has a 2020 club option for another $5.5MM that comes with a $1MM buyout, I’m told. The deal is pending a physical.

    Yusmeiro Petit | Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

    [Related: Updated Oakland Athletics depth chart and payroll outlook]

    The 33-year-old Petit is fresh off a career year in which he led big league relievers with 87 1/3 innings and also tossed four innings in a spot start. Overall, he pitched to a 2.76 ERA with 10.0 K/9, 1.8 BB/9 and a 32.9 percent ground-ball rate in his 91 1/3 frames with the Halos. Of Petit’s 59 relief appearances, 33 lasted more than an inning, and he was often asked to work two or even three innings at a time. By season’s end, he’d graduated from lower-leverage spots to high-leverage setup appearances and even a few closing opportunities, as he saved four games for the Halos.

    While he didn’t establish himself as a regular big league contributor until his age-28 season (2013< Petit has somewhat quietly been a solid ’pen option for the Giants, Nats and Angels dating back to 2012. In that time, he’s worked to a 3.59 ERA and a 3.40 FIP over the life of 399 big league innings, brushing up against history a few times along the way. He came within a single out of a perfect game for the Giants in September 2013 and went on to set a Major League record for most consecutive batters retired the following season in 2014.

    Despite the flashes of greatness, Petit has also struggled at times due to a susceptibility to home runs. The long ball was an issue for Petit early in his career with the Marlins and D-backs, and he saw some flare-ups in that regard in his final season with the Giants (1.3 HR/9) and especially in his lone season with the Nationals (1.74 HR/9). Whether he can continue to average better than a strikeout per inning remains to be seen as well; he averaged 10.2 K/9 in a very strong ’14 season with the Giants but sat around 7.0 K/9 from 2015-16 with the Giants and Nats. Petit doesn’t throw hard, sitting 89-90 mph with his fastball, though Fangraphs’ Eno Sarris wrote back in 2014 about the difficulty opposing hitters face in tracking Petit’s pitches due to deception in his delivery.

    Petit will add some length to a bullpen that figures to be anchored by Blake Treinen, who shined in Oakland after being acquired from the Nationals in the trade that sent Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to Washington. Manager Bob Melvin’s bullpen figures to also feature right-handers Santiago Casilla, Ryan Dull, Emilio Pagan and Chris Hatcher (assuming Hatcher is tendered a contract). His experience working in longer stints could also give Melvin and the A’s some flexibility to utilize him as an occasional spot starter should the need arise, though it seems likely that he’ll be relied upon as a bullpen arm rather than a candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation.

    The A’s — like every other club given the painfully slow pace of the 2017-18 offseason — still have work to do between now and Opening Day, of course. They’re reportedly on the hunt for a controllable right-handed-hitting corner outfielder now that the trade of Ryon Healy (to the Mariners in exchange for the aforementioned Pagan) has paved the way for Khris Davis to serve as their DH. They also need to bring in a center fielder and could look to add some left-handed bullpen options as well as an upgrade at catcher. However, with Petit and Pagan now on board, plus the midseason pickups of Treinen and Hatcher, Oakland doesn’t seem likely to consider additional right-handed relief a top priority.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics Agree To Minors Pacts With Garcia, Martini, Martin]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=108107 2017-11-29T03:39:36Z 2017-11-29T03:30:50Z
  • Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Athletics have agreed a trio of minor league deals. Outfielders Anthony Garcia and Nick Martini will be in camp with the A’s next spring, as will lefty reliever Jarret Martin. The 25-year-old Garcia and 27-year-old Martini are both longtime Cardinals farmhands. Garcia has struggled in 354 Triple-A plate appearances (.232/.299/.397) but posted a solid .284/.376/.465 slash in more than 800 Double-A PAs. Oakland is known to be looking for right-handed-hitting outfielders, and Garcia gives them a depth option that matches said description. Martini swings from the left side but has a better track record in the upper levels, having slashed .299/.387/.423 in 787 PAs in Triple-A. As for the 28-year-old Martin, he parlayed a strong two seasons on the indy circuit into a look with the Giants last year and turned in a 2.04 ERA with 9.1 K/9 against a more troublesome 6.8 K/9 in 39 2/3 frames with San Francisco’s Double-A affiliate.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Shohei Ohtani Rumors: Tuesday]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=108106 2017-11-28T22:13:31Z 2017-11-28T22:13:43Z Though Shohei Ohtani has not even yet been officially posted — that’s expected as soon as Friday — the supreme young talent is drawing plenty of attention from MLB organizations. Those clubs received a memorandum over the weekend asking them to provide information to Ohtani and his representatives on a variety of subjects, which is only the beginning of a highly unusual and utterly fascinating recruitment process.

    Here’s the latest:

    • Though Ohtani is limited to a signing bonus and a minor league contract in coming to the Major Leagues, he stands to earn substantially more through marketing endorsements, tweets USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. Marketing agents have predicted to Nightengale that between endorsements back in Japan and in the United States, Ohtani could command north of $20MM annually. That’d make him MLB’s highest-paid player in terms of off-the-field revenue.
    • Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic spoke to agent Scott Boras (who was in the running to represent Ohtani before Ohtani signed CAA and Nez Balelo) as well as MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem about Ohtani’s earning capacity. Unsurprisingly, Boras offered sharp criticism of a system that won’t allow Ohtani to top a $3.535MM signing bonus at this point. “He is precocious, greatness cast adrift, forced into the MLB lifeboat,” said the always colorful Boras. “And his admission is handcuffs that prevent him from getting at least what his older, lesser valued peers received—in Tanaka’s case, more than $150 million.” Halem, as one would expect, wholly disagreed with Boras’ notions, pointing out that it was Ohtani who passed on the chance to sign with MLB clubs as an amateur out of high school, which could have jump-started his earning potential. And, it was Ohtani who asked to be posted as an amateur just two years before he could have been posted as a professional. The free column has quite a few quotes from both Boras and Halem on the matter and is well worth a full look.

    Earlier Updates

    Read more

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Athletics, Jake Smolinski Avoid Arbitration]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=108037 2017-11-27T20:09:54Z 2017-11-27T19:40:14Z The A’s have avoided arbitration with outfielder Jake Smolinski, reports MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes (on Twitter). Smolinski will be paid a $775K salary for the 2018 season, which comes in a bit north of the $700K at which he was projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.  Smolinski is a client of Sosnick, Cobbe, and Karon.

    The 28-year-old Smolinski has spent parts of the past three seasons in Oakland, hitting a combined .236/.297/.371 with a dozen homers in 466 trips to the plate. While he’s struggled immensely against right-handed pitchers over parts of four big league seasons, he’s tattooed lefties at a .299/.371/.507 clip and belted 11 of his 16 career homers against southpaws. Smolinski gives Oakland a right-handed-hitting platoon partner for Matt Joyce in an outfield corner spot as well as an option in center field from time to time, though his usage in 2018 will be somewhat dependent on the remainder of the moves that Oakland makes to address its outfield needs between now and Opening Day.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Pirates Claim Sam Moll From Athletics]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=108030 2017-11-27T19:15:17Z 2017-11-27T19:15:17Z The Pirates have claimed left-hander Sam Moll off waivers from the Athletics, according to press releases from both teams. Pittsburgh’s 40-man roster is now at 39 players.

    Moll, 25, is a former third-round pick of the Rockies that was traded to Oakland this past August for cash considerations. The A’s designated him for assignment last week when clearing space on their 40-man roster to protect several players from the Rule 5 Draft.

    The 2017 season saw Moll make his big league debut in Oakland, though the results weren’t especially pretty. In 6 2/3 frames, the Memphis product was tagged for eight runs on 13 hits (including two homers) and three walks with seven strikeouts.

    In 54 1/3 innings between the Triple-A affiliates for the Rockies and the A’s, Moll pitched to a more respectable 3.64 ERA with 7.8 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9. He also registered a promising 50.3 percent ground-ball rate in his 47 1/3 innings with Colorado’s Triple-A affiliate, though that fell to 33.3 percent in admittedly tiny seven-inning sample with Oakland’s affiliate. Overall, Moll has a history of missing bats and inducing grounders at decent clips in the minors. He joins Nik Turley as the second southpaw claimed off waivers by the Bucs since the offseason began.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles Acquire Jaycob Brugman]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=107737 2017-11-22T19:28:28Z 2017-11-22T19:11:25Z The Orioles have acquired outfielder Jaycob Brugman from the Athletics, per a club announcement. A player to be named or cash will go to Oakland in return.

    Brugman, 25, was just designated for assignment by the A’s. He reached the majors for the first time last year, posting a .266/.346/.343 slash over 162 plate appearances. A generally solid on-base threat in the minors, the left-handed hitter has shown a bit of pop at times but has not always sustained it in the upper minors. Metrics did not view his work in center field favorably in 2017, though that was a short sample and scouting reports have generally suggested he’s a solid overall defender.

    [RELATED: Orioles Depth Chart]

    It’s certainly possible that the Orioles could allow Brugman to compete for a reserve/platoon outfield role in camp. He’ll play at or near the league minimum and might help the team save funds to dedicate to the rotation, which is clearly a more pressing area of need. The O’s have a variety of right-handed bats to work with already. Adam Jones and Trey Mancini are certainties to see regular time. Mark Trumbo will likely mostly function as a DH but could factor in the mix, while top prospect Austin Hays will receive consideration despite a tepid late-season debut. Reserve options on hand include switch-hitting Anthony Santander and right-handed-hitting Joey Rickard.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics Designate Sam Moll, Jaycob Brugman]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=107608 2017-11-21T03:13:04Z 2017-11-21T01:36:47Z The Athletics have designated lefty Sam Moll and outfielder Jaycob Brugman for assignment, as MLB.com’s Jane Lee tweets. Oakland also added right-handers Heath Fillmyer and Lou Trivino to its 40-man roster, she adds.

    Moll got a look in the majors after a mid-season claim from the Rockies organization. While he recorded seven strikeouts in his six innings, the 25-year-old was also touched for eight earned runs on 13 hits. In his 54 1/3 Triple-A innings on the year, Moll worked to a 3.64 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9.

    Brugman is also 25 and is also fresh off of his first taste of the big leagues. He got on base at a healthy .346 clip over 162 plate appearances, but managed only a .343 slugging percentage. In 172 trips to the plate at Triple-A, he similarly slashed .275/.355/.340.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics Acquire Ramon Laureano, Outright Bobby Wahl]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=107572 2017-11-20T23:31:55Z 2017-11-20T23:19:03Z The Athletics have acquired outfielder Ramon Laureano from the Astros, per MLB.com’s Jane Lee (via Twitter). Houston will receive right-hander Brandon Bailey in return.

    Oakland additionally outrighted right-hander Bobby Wahl off of its 40-man roster. That move will create space for Laureano to be added to the A’s roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft — the same consideration that no doubt created the circumstances of this swap.

    Laureano, 23, ranked 11th on MLB.com’s most recent prospect list for the ’Stros. But he failed to follow up on a breakout 2016 season. Over 513 plate appearances at Double-A in 2017, he slashed just .227/.298/.369 with 11 home runs and 24 stolen bases.

    The 23-year-old Bailey is still a ways off from needing his own 40-man spot. He split the 2017 season between the Class A and High-A levels, pitching to a cumulative 3.26 ERA over 91 frames. Though he allowed a few more runners to cross the plate after his promotion, Bailey did impress with 12.4 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in his 34 innings at the higher tier.

    Meanwhile, the 25-year-old Wahl made it to the majors for the first time in 2017, allowing four earned runs in 7 2/3 frames. Much of his prior time has been spent at the Double-A level, where he owns a 3.08 ERA with 10.4 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 73 total frames.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Athletics' 40-Man Roster Candidates]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=107478 2017-11-20T00:29:53Z 2017-11-20T00:29:53Z
  • The Athletics have a full 40-man roster, which MLB.com’s Jane Lee notes could lead to some shuffling before Monday evening’s deadline to set rosters in advance of the Rule 5 Draft.  Lee lists five prospects (outfielder B.J. Boyd and right-handers Heath Fillmyer, Casey Meisner, Lou Trivino, and Jake Sanchez) as potential candidates to be added to Oakland’s 40-man, lest they be taken by another team in the Rule 5 Draft, which takes place in December.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics Name Matt Williams Third Base Coach]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=107368 2017-11-18T01:11:19Z 2017-11-18T01:11:19Z The Athletics have announced that Matt Williams will take over as the team’s new third base coach. He will round out the staff of manager Bob Melvin.

    Oakland had an opening arise when the Nationals hired away Chip Hale, who’s now the bench coach in the nation’s capital. Williams, of course, previously served as the Nats’ manager. Now, he’s heading back to the Bay Area, where he once starred with the Giants.

    The 51-year-old Williams has plenty of experience waving runners to the plate. He has served as the Diamondbacks’ third base coach for two different stints, wrapped around his up-and-down tenure in D.C.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[A's Notes: Maxwell, Garcia, Healy, Pagan]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=107316 2017-11-16T20:30:58Z 2017-11-16T20:30:58Z OaDespite recent allegations of aggravated assault and disorderly conduct, Bruce Maxwell is still viewed by the Athletics as their catcher next season, GM David Forst told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle at this week’s GM Meetings. “We’ll let the criminal proceedings play out,” said Forst, “But from a baseball standpoint, I expect Bruce to be our catcher next year.” Maxwell has already plead not guilty to the charges brought forth against him after he allegedly waved a gun in the face of a Postmates delivery employee last month. The Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reported earlier this week that there’s no trial date yet, but a hearing wouldn’t occur until early 2018.

    Even without Maxwell’s off-the-field issues, though, catcher would seem to be a potential area for improvement for the Athletics. Maxwell will turn 27 in a month, has batted just .251/.331/.354 in 354 MLB plate appearances over the past two seasons and has thrown out a respectable but unspectacular 25 percent of opposing base thieves in his big league career. Baseball Prospectus rated him as an excellent pitch framer coming up through the minors, though he’s yet to post quality marks with the A’s.

    • Forst told reporters following last night’s Healy trade that the Mariners first contacted the Athletics about Healy “right after” the regular season ended (link via MLB.com’s Jane Lee). The two sides talked on and off over the past month, and Forst notes that right-hander Emilio Pagan, one of two players Oakland received in the deal, is someone they’ve tried to acquire from the Mariners in the past. “Once it was clear [Pagan] could be part of this deal, then we spent the last week or so trying to work it out,” said Forst. Lee notes that the A’s will continue to seek bullpen help and could place an emphasis on finding a left-handed reliever.
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