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Jim Furtado
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Athletics Newsbeat

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 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 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 -

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

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A’s Call Up Barry Zito

So the A’s on Wednesday called up Barry Zito, their former ace and Cy Young winner, from Triple-A Nashville. Zito, 37, had hoped for an MLB comeback this season when he signed a minor-league deal with the A’s, the team that drafted him in the first round in 1999.

Instead, Zito spent the year in the minors. He was 8-7 with a 3.46 ERA, a solid contributor but not sparkling enough to warrant a big-league call-up. Until now, that is.

This is likely an MLB farewell for Zito. The A’s — with their shared history and his popularity in the Bay Area — offered Zito the best chance to return to the big leagues. It would be a surprise if he tried again next season.

Here’s perhaps the best wrinkle in this story: Zito could very well pitch his final game when the A’s meet the San Francisco Giants next weekend and face former teammate Tim Hudson. Hudson and Zito, along with Mark Mulder, formed Oakland’s formidable (and extremely popular) trio of pitchers early in the 2000s.

Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: September 16, 2015 at 04:44 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, giants, moneyball

Thursday, September 03, 2015

The Race for Last Place

Who will win “The Biggest Loser”?

Miami (54-79, one game out). Other than Oakland and maybe Milwaukee, this was the team on this list that had the highest hopes for 2015 coming in, though, then again, this is Miami, so you never know. Regardless, once Giancarlo Stanton got hurt, this team became impossible to watch. I love Ichiro as much as anyone else, but seeing him play every day in an empty building with a fish statue would make anyone sad. The Marlins might have a little push left in them the rest of the year. Stanton could be back this weekend, and Jose Fernandez should return in mid-September. That’s a positive for Fish fans desperate for a reason to go to the ballpark … but it won’t do their Drive For Last efforts any favors.

Colorado (53-78, one game out). Everyone jumped ship when Troy Tulowitzki was traded, and with good reason. Maybe the saddest thing about this Rockies team that has the second-worst record is that it’s virtually indistinguishable from every other Rockies team of the past six years. It’s only missing Tulo. And they don’t even have LaTroy Hawkins anymore.

Philadelphia (53-80, “first” place). For all the frustrations with Ruben Amaro—and the fact that he’s likely going to be out of a job pretty soon—one must admit: He ended up doing rather well for himself and the franchise with that Cole Hamels trade. There’s some nice young talent in Philadelphia’s system right now. But most of it isn’t on the big league roster—and Aaron Nola is still figuring out how the bigs work—which means there are going to be a lot of Jeff Francoeur and Darin Ruf at-bats over the next month. This is as bad as it’s going to get for the Phillies. But have no doubt: It’s going to be very bad.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 03, 2015 at 06:09 AM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, braves, brewers, draft, marlins, phillies, reds, rockies

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Mike Gallego out as A’s third base coach, Ron Washington in - San Francisco Chronicle

In the wake of recent baserunning snafus, Mike Gallego, the A’s long-serving third-base coach, was let go by the team on Monday and infield coach Ron Washington was installed back in his old spot.

“I’m going to do all I can to get guys across the plate,” Washington said before Oakland’s game at Safeco Field. “I don’t expect to be a perfect third-base coach. But I know I’m a damn good third base coach.’

Jim Furtado Posted: August 25, 2015 at 08:53 AM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, mike gallego, ron washington

Friday, August 07, 2015

Billy Beane might not be the A’s GM for much longer -

This would mean the A’s have joined the Cubs, Dodgers, White Sox, Giants, and more as teams instituting a president of baseball operations who is a former GM, one who can remain hands on with the department. The Red Sox could end up joining this mix soon, or the Blue Jays, or whoever ends up with Dave Dombrowski now that the Tigers let him go. It’ll be sad if Beane takes a step back or becomes more reclusive with the promotion, but the guy has been around and successful for so long that it’s hard to believe he hasn’t already been given a fancy new title. Maybe he should have abused his powers as a minority owner in the team a long time ago to get that ball rolling.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 07, 2015 at 08:22 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, billy beane, general managers

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

baseballthing, Have We Been Underestimating Chris Bassitt?

I haven’t watched him pitch. How is Bassitt getting out lefties?

On the other hand, Nathaniel Stoltz was touting Bassitt as a sleeper prospect at FanGraphs toward the end of 2013. Stoltz noted Bassitt’s deception and velocity as strengths. Deception and velocity seem like good things for a pitcher to possess. Movement? Yup. He had that, too.

So far, so good. What about potential trouble spots? Here’s Stoltz again:

Sinker-slider pitchers tend to struggle with opposite-handed batters, though, and Bassitt’s biggest challenge in moving from the bullpen to the rotation has been coming up with ways to retire southpaws.

After noting Bassitt’s nonexistent changeup and hittable curveball, he reaches the following conclusion:

Many point to Bassitt as a potential #4 starter, citing his solid overall performance and broad arsenal of pitches. While he does have arm strength, stamina, four offerings with some utility, reasonable control, and decent groundball ability, his weakness against lefthanders may negate these broad strengths and make him more likely to return to the bullpen down the line.

Such skepticism is hard to shake. A year after Stoltz’s article, FanGraphs’ Jeff Zimmerman called Bassitt a fifth starter/long relief type. A few months after that, Kiley McDaniel shared similar sentiments.

And yet, here he is pitching well for Oakland as a starter, with lefties hitting .198/.308/.297 against him. And it’s not like teams haven’t read the reports: southpaws constitute 61 percent of batters he has faced.
Can Bassitt keep proving everyone wrong? I don’t know, but he’s forcing the A’s to give him serious consideration as a part of the 2016 rotation.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 05, 2015 at 09:45 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, chris bassitt

Monday, August 03, 2015

Having the AL’s worst record could benefit Red Sox - Sports - The Boston Globe

Funny. Sonny Gray is the kind of player Beane holds onto.

Take Sonny Gray. If the A’s decide to expose him to revocable waivers, the Sox would have the first crack at claiming him so long as they have either the worst record in the AL or the worst record for any team besides the A’s. If the Sox do claim him, they would then have about two days to discuss what kind of return it would take for Oakland to consider moving the righthander – laying a framework for further discussions in the offseason.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 03, 2015 at 11:34 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Baseball’s Anti-Trust Exemption: Its Uncertain Scope

While many fans are aware that baseball is generally exempt from antitrust law, fewer realize that courts have adopted widely divergent views regarding the extent to which MLB’s operations are actually shielded from the law. For instance, just because MLB is generally immune from antitrust law does not mean that a court would necessarily give the league free reign to engage in anti-competitive practices in areas completely unrelated to professional baseball (such as if, for example, MLB Advanced Media — the league’s digital content distribution company — were to enter into a price-fixing scheme with other non-sports-related, Internet-streaming-video service providers).

Courts have traditionally disagreed regarding where to draw the line between MLB’s exempt and non-exempt conduct, and thus are deeply divided over the extent to which they will allow antitrust lawsuits to proceed against MLB. As a practical matter, then, anyone wishing to sue MLB under antitrust law may be able to do so – despite the league’s antitrust exemption – so long as they file their case in the right court…

That having been said, there may be some cases where this sort of forum shopping is not possible. In the San Jose lawsuit against MLB, for instance, the city had to file its case in a local court, even though California judges have traditionally adopted a broad view of baseball’s exemption.

In contrast, the plaintiffs’ lawyer in the recently filed suit challenging MLB’s scout hiring and pay practices wisely elected to file the case in New York, a jurisdiction that has historically viewed the exemption much more narrowly (as reflected in the decisions discussed above involving MLB’s television broadcasting and umpire relations). As a result, it would not be surprising if the New York court allows the antitrust portion of the case to move forward, despite baseball’s exemption.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 29, 2015 at 11:17 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: anti-trust exemption, athletics, legal, san jose

Monday, July 27, 2015

Mets give up too much to get Tyler Clippard - Keith Law Blog - ESPN (INSIDER)

Keith Law does not like this deal.

As far as what the A’s got back, Casey Meisner was my sleeper pitching prospect for the Mets this year, and has indeed had a breakout season in Savannah. He would now rank sixth in the Mets’ system, behind Dominic Smith (who ranked No. 40 on my last updated global prospect ranking), Amed Rosario, Gavin Cecchini, Michael Fulmer and Wuilmer Becerra (although you could argue Meisner belongs ahead of Becerra too). The 6-foot-8 right-hander is consistently throwing heat up to 94 mph, complemented with an above-average curveball, and this year has seen his command jump to where it’s consistently above-average as well. He pitched extremely well in Savannah and has been so-so in High-A St. Lucie, with his most recent outing his worst of the year.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 27, 2015 at 08:49 PM | 59 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, mets, tyler clippard

Friday, July 24, 2015

Acquiring Kazmir gives players a lift on and off field - Houston Chronicle

“I feel an obligation to support them in a situation where I can do something to help them win,” Luhnow said. “They care as much as anybody, because they’re on the team.

“I think when you don’t make a move, even though sometimes that’s the right thing to do, people can misinterpret it as they’re not being supported. Now I would never make a move … just to make them feel supported, but it’s the right move to make, and it’s in our domain to make it.”

Jim Furtado Posted: July 24, 2015 at 06:59 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, athletics, trades

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Astros acquire Scott Kazmir from Oakland for two prospects

And so we begin…

The Astros made a trade Thursday, acquiring left-hander Scott Kazmir from the A’s for two minor leaguers, right-handed pitcher Daniel Mengden and catcher Jacob Nottingham…

The 31-year-old Kazmir, a 2002 Cy Falls graduate, will join the club in Kansas City on Friday. He is 5-5 with a 2.38 ERA this season 18 starts for the A’s this season. Among American League pitchers, Kazmir ranks fourth in opponent batting average (.213) and fifth in ERA. On the season, Kazmir has allowed just three earned runs or fewer in 17 of his 18 starts.

Mengden and Nottingham had been playing for Class A Advanced Lancaster after each began the 2015 season at Class A Quad Cities. Mengden was originally a fourth-round selection in the 2014 draft, while Nottingham was originally taken in the sixth round of the 2013 draft.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 23, 2015 at 01:52 PM | 54 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, athletics, scott kazmir, trades

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Oakland Athletics are the unluckiest team in baseball | FOX Sports

If only…

They just haven’t been able to overcome hideous middle relief. Maybe Doolittle can fix that; maybe he can’t. When a team feels an arm short in the bullpen, it usually is two arms short these days. Then again, being an arm (or two) short in the bullpen isn’t supposed to hurt this badly. It’s clear that Beane’s bunch is more like a second-tier contender than a bottom-feeder, in terms of actual ability. Expected runs allowed paint a fairer picture of the A’s than actual runs allowed; they’ve just had too many bad sequences.

Yes, this cut-rate Oakland team could have been a contender, but it’s too late now. Since the advent of divisional play and the League Championship Series, only two 14-25 teams (Oakland’s record before Monday’s win) have ever reached the playoffs: the 1974 Pirates and the 1989 Blue Jays. Call it bad luck, a bad bullpen or the Curse of Josh Donaldson, but the A’s have no angle left to play in 2015. Beane will have to spend his summer wheeling and dealing again, but this time, he’ll be spinning off assets not unlike the ones he collected last July:

Jim Furtado Posted: July 13, 2015 at 08:22 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, trade rumors

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