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Sunday, January 31, 2016

A’s GM David Forst Talks about the A’s Starting Rotation, Clubhouse Chemistry, an Extension for Redd

In what’s become his annual winter interview with bloggers, A’s general manager David Forst addressed a wide range of topics covering both the major league squad as well as some of the system’s top prospects at A’s FanFest on Sunday.

In his session, Forst discussed how he sees the team’s starting rotation shaping up, whether or not the A’s may still be able to make some additions to the roster, the likelihood of signing outfielder Josh Reddick long-term, last year’s lack of clubhouse chemistry, the future of top prospects Sean Manaea, Franklin Barreto and Yairo Munoz, and much more.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 31, 2016 at 10:44 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, david forst

Monday, January 25, 2016

A’s Billy Butler: ‘I’ve got a lot left in the tank’


Butler spent 11 seasons in Kansas City organization before signing with the A’s early last winter. He said it was a “culture shock. KC and the Bay Area are opposites.” He added, “I know what to expect now. Nothing’s out of the ordinary. I’m completely prepared for everything that’s ahead.”

Beyond all the losing, the A’s had a clubhouse-chemistry problem, and Butler acknowledged it Sunday, saying, “To say we had a bad clubhouse was accurate.

“You see there’s definitely people who are not here anymore that were part of the issue. I think whenever you have a season you lose as many games as we did, that’s always going to be a question. I don’t think anybody’s going to get along (in a losing environment). Nobody wants to lose that much.”

Hmmm, who is not there anymore?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 25, 2016 at 07:08 PM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, billy butler

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Kahrl: Why moving the A’s and Rays would be good for baseball

Move them to LA to share a stadium with the Rams and Chargers!

A better venue in the East Bay, ideally closer to a rich seam of corporate clients, would provide major money over what the A’s are generating now. If that’s best done in San Jose, it’s on Manfred to make that happen, and for baseball to afford the expense of paying back the Giants for their unused territorial rights. In Montreal, the track record for attendance, even without a great downtown venue and before the industry ran the Expos into the ground to aid carpetbagger Jeffrey Loria’s franchise takeover, suggests there’s major money to be made.

In both cases, you can argue that baseball will need to get serious about putting some skin in the game; the public financing landscape has changed, perhaps best reflected in the NFL’s recent willingness to help finance the Rams’ return to L.A. As new-stadium watchers for both the Rays and the Athletics have noted, there’s reason to believe that MLB and the teams themselves should invest in what comes next in Tampa/St. Pete and California’s East Bay. But if MLB’s paying the bills, it should collectively buy into the opportunity to reap the richest rewards. Investing in an arguably already saturated Tampa/St. Pete market with an already poor track record for support doesn’t sound nearly as lucrative.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 24, 2016 at 09:26 PM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, montreal, rays, relocation, san jose

Monday, January 18, 2016

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-18-2016

Washington Herald, January 18, 1916:

AMERICAN LEAGUE MANAGERS LAUGH AT MACK’S THREAT TO REPEAT THIS SEASON

Mack’s Pennant Talk Considered Big Joke

Connie Mack’s threat that he will give Philadelphia a winning ball club in 1917, and will start ripping things up during the middle of the coming season, is taken with a grain of salt and a large series of snorts by almost every manager in the American League.
...
The dope about the Athletics from those who are on the inside is to the effect that with McInnis and Strunk and Schang as a nucleus, Connie cannot produce enough strength to make the Athletics a first-division contender for five years or more.

Tell us how you really feel, American League managers. Don’t hold back.

They were right, of course. The 1916 Athletics were the worst team in modern baseball history. They finished the season 36-117, a .235 winning percentage. As for ripping things up during the middle of the season, well…between June 2 and August 8, the Athletics went 4-56.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 18, 2016 at 08:19 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, connie mack, dugout, history

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Koo: Raiders will remain at Oakland Coliseum in 2016, get additional NFL loan money for new stadium

So A’s fans will have to put up with the Silver and Blah for a little while longer…

The Oakland Raiders have lost their bid to move to Los Angeles and will remain at the Oakland Coliseum for the 2016-17 NFL season, according to multiple reports from the NFL owners’ meetings in Houston.

National Football League owners will soon vote to approve a proposal that the St. Louis Rams will be permitted to move immediately to Los Angeles, taking up temporary residence at the Los Angeles Coliseum pending the completion of an Inglewood stadium. The San Diego Chargers will have the first right to join the Rams in Los Angeles, though this new deal allows them to continue to try to work out a stadium deal in San Diego and not move right away.

Under the terms of the Oakland Athletics’ 10-year lease at the Oakland Coliseum that runs through 2024, the Joint Powers Authority must provide the A’s two years notice to vacate if they approve an Oakland Raiders stadium plan that results in the demolition of the Coliseum. While at present the Raiders do not have a viable stadium plan at the Coliseum, the additional loan possibilities from the NFL to build could put the Raiders closer to one, at least.

JEe (Jason) Posted: January 12, 2016 at 08:50 PM | 60 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, football, nfl, oakland coliseum

Sunday, December 27, 2015

NESN: Dave Henderson, Who Hit Memorable Home Run For Red Sox, Dies At Age 57

RIP. Thank heavens he’ll be remembered for the home run in the Championship Series and not the one he hit in the World Series.

Henderson spent 14 seasons split between five organizations (Red Sox, Seattle Mariners, Oakland Athletics, Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants). He slugged 197 home runs in 1,538 career regular-season games and earned an All-Star selection with the A’s in 1991.

The man known as “Hendu” will be remembered as much for his infectious personality as his on-field accomplishments. Red Sox fans certainly won’t forget Henderson’s two-out, two-strike, two-run homer in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS. It kept Boston’s season alive and opened the door for the Red Sox to defeat the California Angels in seven games to advance to the World Series.

JEe (Jason) Posted: December 27, 2015 at 01:18 PM | 48 comment(s)
  Beats: 1986, alcs, athletics, obituary, red sox

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Shi Davidi on Twitter: “Brett Lawrie on move again, headed from

Jim Furtado Posted: December 09, 2015 at 09:11 PM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, trades, white sox

More on A’s looming Brett Lawrie deal, John Axford pickup - San Francisco Chronicle

Once the A’s reacquired Jed Lowrie last week, it was obvious Oakland would move Brett Lawrie.

And late Tuesday night, The Chronicle learned that Oakland was nearing a deal with Chicago that would send the infielder to the White Sox in exchange for two minor-leaguers. According to two sources, the teams were still unsettled on the minor-league portion of the deal.


In addition, The Chronicle learned that the A’s are close to signing free-agent reliever John Axford.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 09, 2015 at 06:54 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, trade rumors, white sox, winter meetings

Monday, December 07, 2015

Ryan Madson gets $22M in three-year deal with A’s

Not bad for a guy that was out of baseball for THREE YEARS.

There may be no better example of the paying power of MLB than Ryan Madson, who on Sunday reportedly agreed to join the Oakland Athletics on a three-year, $22 million contract. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported the two sides had a deal, after Madson’s market was said to have been narrowed down to the A’s and Los Angeles Dodgers….

Madson, 35, missed all of the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons after Tommy John surgery and a horrific recovery. He hurt his elbow while with the Cincinnati Reds in 2012, then signed with the Los Angeles Angels the next season, but could never come back. In 2014, no one was even interested in signing him. Madson had pretty much given up on baseball after that, retiring and spending time with his family.

But after missing another year, the urge to pitch returned and Madson landed with the Kansas City Royals on a minor-league deal. Not only did Madson prove he could pitch again — his fastball was popping at 96 mph late in the season — he was a solid contributor to Kansas City’s heralded bullpen. In 68 games, he had a 2.13 ERA and 58 strikeouts.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 07, 2015 at 11:26 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, royals, ryan madson

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Padres trade Alonso to A’s for Pomeranz

Go Yonder, Alonso!

The Padres are trading first baseman Yonder Alonso to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for left-hander Drew Pomeranz. According to ESPN.com’s Keith Law, the Padres are including lefty reliever Marc Rzepczynski in the deal, while Oakland also will send minor league left-hander Jose Torres to San Diego.

Pomeranz, 27, is a former top pitching prospect with both starting and bullpen experience in the majors. A harder thrower than most lefties, he went 5-6 last season with a 3.66 ERA in 53 appearances, including nine starts (he also recorded three saves). Over 86 innings, he allowed 71 hits and 31 walks while striking out 82.

Pomeranz underwent clavicle resection surgery, not considered a major shoulder procedure, in October. At the time, he was expected to be ready for spring training.

 


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Jed Lowrie rejoins A’s; Brett Lawrie likely to be traded - San Francisco Chronicle

Do the A’s really need to get rid of either Valencia or Lawrie?

Lowrie’s return all but ensures the A’s next will move either second baseman Brett Lawrie or third baseman Danny Valencia. Both are drawing interest from American League teams, according to big-league sources, but Lawrie, obtained in the Josh Donaldson deal with Toronto last winter, is considered the better bet to be traded: He can play second and third well, he has an enormous amount of natural ability and he turns 26 in January.

In either scenario, Lowrie is likely to begin next season at second base, with Marcus Semien remaining at shortstop. Semien made 35 errors in his first full season at shortstop, most in the majors and an Oakland record, but he improved significantly the final month of the season. When asked about Semien’s status at the moment, general manager David Forst responded: “He’s a shortstop.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 26, 2015 at 07:49 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, brett lawrie, danny valencia, jed lowrie

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Oakland A’s acquire Jed Lowrie from Houston Astros for RHP Brendan McCurry

Jed Lowrie? Brett Lawrie? Could Noah Lowry be next?

e Oakland Athletics have reacquired Jed Lowrie from the Houston Astros for right-handed relief pitcher Brendan McCurry, the club has announced. News that the A’s would acquire Lowrie was first reported by Jane Lee of MLB.com. The A’s have 41 players counting against their 40-man roster limit and have not yet announced a corresponding move.

Lowrie, turning 32 next season, has two years and $14 million remaining on the three-year deal he signed with the Astros after going to free agency in 2014, plus a club option in 2018 for $6 million with a $1 million buyout. In 69 games and 263 plate appearances, Lorie hit .222/.312/.400 with the Astros in 2015, a wRC+ of 91.

Jed Lowrie played shortstop with the A’s, but with the Astros he moved from shortstop to third base after a right thumb injury on a slide into home caused him to tear a ligament in his right thumb, putting him on the disabled list from late April to late July. Rookie of the Year Carlos Correa was promoted in June, prompting a permanent move to third base.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 25, 2015 at 12:53 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, athletics, billy beane, brendan mccurry, jed lowrie, trade

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Blue Jays acquire Jesse Chavez from Athletics

The Blue Jays have acquired right-hander Jesse Chavez from the Athletics in a deal that will send Liam Hendriks to Oakland, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. The deal is a one-for-one swap.

Chavez, 32, has drawn significant trade interest from many teams this offseason and was made expendable by Oakland’s recent signing of left-hander Rich Hill. Toronto has been known to be looking to add starting help this winter, and will add Chavez just a week after re-signing Marco Estrada to a 2-year deal.

Chavez is a veteran of eight major-league seasons, posting a career 4.55 ERA in 253 appearances (49 starts) with the Pirates (2008-09), Braves (2010), Royals (2011-12), Blue Jays (2012) and Athletics (2012-15). He has the ability to work as both a starter and reliever, giving Toronto another rotation option alongside Estrada, Marcus Stroman, Drew Hutchison and R.A. Dickey. Chavez is only under control for one more season, and will hit free agency next winter.

Hendriks, 26, posted a solid 2.92 ERA out of the bullpen for Toronto last season and will provide relief depth for the Athletics. The Australian right-hander is under team control for four seasons, and is thought to be a rotation candidate as well as a solid reliever.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 21, 2015 at 10:59 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, blue jays, jesse chavez, liam hendriks

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Oakland A’s sign Rich Hill: fantasy impact - Fake Teams

I’ve always liked Rich Hill‘s stuff. Unfortunately, he’s had a lot of injury problems. It will be interesting to see how he holds up this season.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 19, 2015 at 06:57 AM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, free agents, rich hill

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Oakland A’s prospect Sean Manaea impresses in Fall Stars Game

“When I first got to the Royals, I tried different mechanics and it felt like I was really robotic and I didn’t feel smooth at all,” he said. “I went back going over my head (in the wind-up) and I struggled for a long time because I wasn’t used to it, because I had been doing something different for a really long time. But throughout the year everything started clicking and felt good, and that’s what I’ve been doing since. It was a lot of fun.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 08, 2015 at 07:02 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: afl, athletics, sean manaea

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Peter Gammons: Value High on Gray, Scouting Cuban Legend Gourriel, and Hector Olivera - GammonsDaily.com

Beane says “trading Gray is not something I think we could do. We have to put a representative product on the field, and continue to dream we get a ballpark. We should have good pitching, with Gray, Jarrod Parker, Kendall Graveman, Jesse Hahn, Chris Bassitt, maybe Sean Manaea during the season. I just cannot see us trading Gray or (Josh) Reddick.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 05, 2015 at 05:53 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, sonny gray

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

What Baseball Taught Me | The Players’ Tribune

Today, I am very excited to be a “rookie” all over again in a new field: songwriting. I am sure the lessons baseball has taught me will help me develop the thick skin I’ll need for this new endeavor. If one day you ever happen to hear a song of mine, I hope you’ll be honest about what you think. I have been building a skill set of handling adversity for years, so fire away!

Thank you, again, to all the men and women who are as captivated by this great game as I still am. Whether we’re on the field or in the stands, we’re all one family making baseball what it is today.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 20, 2015 at 06:40 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, barry zito, giants

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Oakland A’s Minor Leaguer Mike Nolan Dies After Drive-By Shooting

Mike Nolan died on Thursday three weeks after he was shot outside of a Yonkers, N.Y. Burger Kings on September 18. Nolan and friends were standing around outside when their group was shot at from a car moving along Central Avenue. He was 23 years old.

Police believe the attack was related to a drag race. Nobody has been arrested yet.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 11, 2015 at 12:16 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, deaths in baseball, minor leaguer, minor leagues

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Cashman confirms Yanks rejected Refsnyder and Warren for Zobrist at trade deadline

Brian Cashman was asked about the trade deadline following last night’s game, specifically whether he regretted not making more moves. Of course he said no, but he did drop this interesting nugget. From George King:

“The only second baseman was [Ben] Zobrist and [Oakland] wanted a combo of [Adam] Warren and [Rob] Refsnyder,’’ said Cashman, who declined the offer, while Zobrist went to the Royals. “We tried to improve the bullpen and made a significant offer [to San Diego for Craig Kimbrel] and it was turned down. After the deadline, 75 percent of the players were claimed. There was nowhere to turn outside of [Triple-A] Scranton.’’

In a vacuum, trading Refsnyder and Warren for Zobrist is perfectly reasonable to me. I’m higher than most on Warren but am also probably the low guy on Refsnyder. He strikes me as a fine stopgap second baseman, but someone who has a team in contention constantly looking for an upgrade. In terms of talent and value and all that stuff, Refsnyder and Warren for Zobrist works fine.

 


Tuesday, October 06, 2015

A’s Billy Beane, Bob Melvin believe quick turnaround is possible - San Francisco Chronicle

I thought the A’s didn’t pay attention to such stuff. [SARCASM ALERT]

“I think we’re always looking to identify what the problems were and get better,” Melvin said. “When you lose as many games as we did, you don’t want to say it’s status quo going forward. I think we’ll look to make some changes, definitely.”

Poor clubhouse chemistry in particular will be addressed, and there could be some players dealt as a result.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 06, 2015 at 06:41 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics

Monday, October 05, 2015

A’s look for reasons behind disappointing season

Quick, trade someone for John Mabry!

Manager Bob Melvin has a reputation for getting through to guys, and it’s clear the A’s don’t fault Melvin for the unfortunate mix; he recently received a two-year contract extension. Oakland’s front office, not a big proponent of the “chemistry” theory, recognizes that this particular group simply didn’t click.

“Anytime you have so many new players, getting the clubhouse to come together is going to be a challenge,” assistant general manager David Forst said. “I thought Bob did a fantastic job in the spring and early in the year of prioritizing the group’s chemistry. Certainly, though, when you don’t get off to a great start with a new group, it’s more difficult to accomplish that.”

Longtime team employees have described the clubhouse mix as the worst they’ve ever seen. Few players wanted to go on the record about the extent of the problem or name names, but many believe that there was an issue. “It’s awful,” one said.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 05, 2015 at 11:29 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, bob melvin, clubhouse chemistry

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

WSJ: Bill James and Billy Beane Discuss Big Data in Baseball

Billy Beane should have never written this article.

WSJ: We’ve seen advances in particular areas of the game in recent years—pitch framing, defensive shifts—that are now better understood. What do you guys see as the aspect of the sport that is most in need of more research, more data and better understanding?

Beane: I’m jumping out of my chair on this one. It’s using analytics—and this sounds sort of non-field-related—but it’s injuries and medical. Even the healthcare industry is doing the same thing – trying to use big data to help solve healthcare. It’s the same in a simpler form for baseball or any sport and injuries. That’s the black swan for anyone involved in a baseball team—our injuries. Trying to predict them, minimize them, limit the downtime.

WSJ: Have you seen any progress to that end or are teams still sort of scratching their heads?

Beane: It’s a challenge because if you’re using a lot of data, there are certain restrictions on how much you can collect data [on players’ medical history], so you’re sort of straddling that line a little bit. But ultimately, I think we will make progress at some point, and the foundation of that will be analytics.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 22, 2015 at 06:32 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, big data, bill james, billy beane, red sox

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Valencia’s 2 Homers Lead A’s Over Fading Astros 4-3 - The New York Times

The Twins are one game back of the Astros. The Angels are two games. The Indians are three back. It’s pucker time in Houston.

Oakland’s Sonny Gray (13-7, 2.56) opposes former Athletic Scott Kazmir (7-10, 2.63) when the series continues Saturday. Gray is 4-2 with a 1.88 ERA in six career starts against the Astros. Kazmir, who was traded to Houston in July, allowed seven hits and four runs in a loss to Oakland on Sept. 8.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 19, 2015 at 07:03 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, athletics

Friday, September 18, 2015

Rewind: Beane says Semien could fit anywhere on the diamond | CSN Bay Area

His improved play might not be enough to keep him at the position, however.

But it’s really been a tale of two halves for the East Bay native. Just six of those errors have come in the 51 games since the All-Star break. In watching Semien on a regular basis, it’s clear he’s handling shortstop with more confidence and fluidity over the second half. His athleticism has been on display on some highlight-worthy plays recently, including a terrific stop in the hole against the White Sox on Wednesday, when the A’s nearly pulled off a dazzling double play.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 18, 2015 at 08:14 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, marcus semien

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