Athletics

Bruce Maxwell enters plea on assault and disorderly conduct charges

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Scottsdale PD

Bruce Maxwell enters plea on assault and disorderly conduct charges

A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell pleaded not guilty in superior court Tuesday to charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct in Arizona.

An initial pretrial conference is scheduled for Dec. 28, with a comprehensive pretrial conference set for Jan. 29. A plea deal presumably could be worked out before the felony case ever makes it to trial.

Maxwell was arrested Oct. 28 in Scottsdale after he allegedly pointed a gun at a delivery driver who was bringing food to his home. According to police reports, Maxwell showed signs of intoxication when officers showed up, used profanity and made anti-police statements during his arrest.

The A’s have not commented on Maxwell’s legal troubles since issuing a press statement the day after his arrest, which said the team was gathering information from authorities and withholding further comment.

In Arizona, an assault-with-a-deadly-weapon charge can carry a sentence of anywhere from five to 15 years in prison, though several factors are considered that could bring a less severe punishment, including whether the defendant has any prior criminal history.

Regardless of how the legal process plays out, Maxwell could be subject to punishment either from the A’s or Major League Baseball. It’s also unknown how, or if, this incident will affect Maxwell’s roster status with Oakland.

In September he became the first and so far only Major League player to kneel for the pregame national anthem, in protest of racial and social injustice. Before his arrest in October, A’s officials said they viewed Maxwell as their primary catcher looking ahead to 2018. With just one year of major league service time, Maxwell is on a year-to-year contract with Oakland right now and would make in the neighborhood of the major league minimum next season. Therefore, there’s no financial downside for the club were it to cut ties with Maxwell. But such a move certainly would spur the A’s to look for outside catching help.

Josh Phegley and Dustin Garneau are the only other catchers on the 40-man roster. Both hit right-handed and would probably best be used as part of a platoon.

There are some quality veteran catchers available in free agency, including Jonathan Lucroy, Alex Avila (who, like Maxwell, bats left-handed) and Welington Castillo.

The A’s could also explore a trade for a catcher. The switch-hitting Yasmani Grandal, who figures to at least be shopped by the Los Angeles Dodgers, would be an attractive target, though he hits free agency after next season.

The A’s have a catching prospect they think highly of in Sean Murphy, but considering Murphy split last season between Single-A and Double-A ball, he probably isn’t a candidate to make the big league club out of spring training.

A's 1B Matt Olson receives recognition in AL Rookie of the Year voting

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USATSI

A's 1B Matt Olson receives recognition in AL Rookie of the Year voting

Matt Olson's second half of the season was the story of legends.

The A's rookie first baseman went on a historic home run tear over the final two months of the season and it helped him garner a few votes in the American League Rookie of the Year voting.

In the results announced on Monday, Olson finished fourth in the voting behind unanimous winner Aaron Judge, second-place finisher Andrew Benintendi and third-place finisher Trey Mancini.

Olson received one second-place vote and two third-place votes. 30 members of the Baseball Writers Association of America cast ballots.

After hitting just four home runs over 19 games from April to July, Olson was recalled from to the game on August 8 and that's when the fun began. In August, he clubbed seven home runs and followed that up with 13 more in September before a hamstring injury cut his season short on September 25.

Report: Yankees targeted Bob Melvin as potential manager

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USATSI

Report: Yankees targeted Bob Melvin as potential manager

As the New York Yankees cast their net to find their next manager, they apparently had a legitimate interest in A’s skipper Bob Melvin.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweeted that New York reached out to the A’s about interviewing Melvin for their vacancy but that Oakland denied the request. A team must be granted permission to interview any manager or coach who’s currently under contract with another team, and Melvin received a contract extension in September that will keep him in the A’s dugout through the 2019 season.

Though nothing obviously will happen on this front, it does bring up an interesting point: Three consecutive last-place finishes for the A’s, and a combined 212-274 record since the start of 2015, haven’t damaged Melvin’s reputation in the eyes of those around the major leagues.

He’s always been highly respected by not only his players but his peers for his baseball acumen, leadership and communication skills. Surely there’s a view around the bigs that the A’s struggles in recent seasons are due, in part at least, to all of the roster turnover that began following the Wild Card season of 2014.

A’s general manager David Forst, currently in Orlando, Fla., for the annual GM meetings, declined any comment on Rosenthal’s report.

Would Melvin have been interested in the New York job?

It stands to reason he would have. Who wouldn’t be?

Not only do the Yankees have a capability, and willingness, to spend that dwarfs that of the A’s, but in recent years they’ve also built one of the game’s deepest farm systems from which to draw on.

Melvin spent a tiny slice of his final big league season in 1994 with the Yankees. And at the time he was hired as the A’s manager in 2011, he and his family were living in Manhattan, so there’s a level of comfort for him on the East Coast.

Understand that Melvin’s one-year extension was no long-term commitment from the A’s, more a move to avoid him managing as a lame duck in 2018 had that remained the final year of his contract (though it’s worth nothing that neither Forst nor executive VP of baseball operations Billy Beane are signed past 2019 either).

So it’s easy to envision that the Yankees job would have been attractive to Melvin. However, he’s also a Palo Alto native who grew up in the Bay Area and wears his passion for the A’s franchise on his sleeve.

And Melvin doesn’t hide his enthusiasm for the A’s young crop of talent that began establishing itself this past season and that looks to be the backbone of the franchise moving forward.

The main takeaway here: Though the A’s have scuffled big-time in the standings over the past three years, their manager remains quite the well-regarded and sought-after figure, at least in the eyes of one very high-profile franchise.