Athletics

2013 A's roster breakdown: Second base

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2013 A's roster breakdown: Second base

OAKLAND -- This is the third installment of the Oakland A's position-by-position offseason breakdown, teeing up the team's options for the 2013 season. Second base could be one of the more interesting Spring Training battles for Oakland. A's general manager Billy Beane indicated that Scott Sizemore will move back to second base this offseason. Based on that information, it is likely that Sizemore is the favorite to land the starting job out of camp if all goes according to plan. The A's remain very confident in Sizemore's abilities. He was acquired from the Detroit Tigers in 2011 and converted to a third baseman. In just 95 games with the A's he hit .249 with 21 doubles, 11 homers, and 52 RBI. He handled the transition to third base well defensively. Now he gets to move back to his natural position.In the first full squad workout in Spring Training, Sizemore tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and was lost for the season. After a year of rehabbing with the team Sizemore will be ready to fight for a starting gig in 2013. The A's organization still thinks very highly of him. "The great thing about Scott is he is a natural second baseman and now he's played third," Beane said at the conclusion of the season. "I personally have high hopes for Scott, he is very much part of our picture going forward." Prior to being traded it looked like Cliff Pennington was a heavy favorite to enter 2013 as the A's starting second baseman. This cracks open the door for Jemile Weeks, who lost the job. Weeks was labeled as untouchable after a strong rookie campaign in which he hit .303 with 22 stolen bases. He was hit hard by the sophomore slump, though, and lost his job. He only hit .220 in 2012 after starting 111 of the A's first 121 games. He fell out of favor with the A's front office and was sent to Triple-A Sacramento on August 21. "He's a very talented kid but it's certainly a disappointment to see him go back to Triple-A after having such a great rookie campaign," Beane said.Weeks was handed the starting job in 2012 and lost it. The A's have made it very clear that he will have to earn every start going forward. He has the ability to ignite the A's lineup. If he can find a way to start from scratch and fix his game he could be a star. Humbled going into 2013, Weeks will have to prove he has what it takes to earn his job back. Another intriguing possibility for second base in 2013 will be Grant Green. It is worth noting that he was told to focus solely on second base toward the end of the year. He played second base (19 games), third base (11 games), shortstop (19 games), left field (49 games), and center field (30 games) in Triple-A in 2012. Green is one of the A's top prospects and the belief is that his offense will translate in the major leagues. He was second in the A's organization with a .296 average, finished third with 75 RBI, and sixth with 15 home runs. The A's just need to find a position for him. Could second base be the answer? Don't be surprised if he finds a way to win the job at some point this upcoming season. Here in 2013:Jemile Weeks, 118 G, .221 AVG, .305 OBP, 8 3B, 20 RBI, 16 SB
Scott Sizemore, DNP
Adam Rosales, 42 G, .222 AVG, .297 OBP, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 11 BB
Grant Green, 125 G, .296 AVG, .338 OBP, 28 2B, 6 3B, 15 HR, 75 RBI (AAA)
Eric Sogard, 37 G, .206 OBP, 3 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI
Andy Parrino, 55 G, .207, .316 OBP, 5 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI
Free Agents: NONE Biggest Question: How will Sizemore bounce back after a year off? Analyst's Take: Shooty Babitt"That's the tough one. The reason it is so tough is because Scott Sizemore hasn't done enough to earn that second base job. He came in and did a good job to earn the third base job, but he hasn't proven to everybody he can play second base every day at the major league level. That's why they moved him to third." "I think Jemile Weeks is done in Oakland. I was surprised when they brought him back up. Especially the way he left. For me, I still think that position is wide open. I think that somebody could come in there and take that position." "Grant Green can play second base and I always felt that would be his best position because I felt he could be an offensive second baseman. He catches the balls that are hit to him, he's got a slow gait, he doesn't have a quick first step, but he is an instinctive guy, I think he is not as exposed at second base." Best Available and affordable (Not much to see here) Maicer Izturis (32), Kelly Johnson (31), Jose Lopez (29), Freddy Sanchez (34)

New Cardinals OF Marcell Ozuna takes jab at A's during media event

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AP

New Cardinals OF Marcell Ozuna takes jab at A's during media event

While expressing his happiness to be with his new team, Cardinals outfielder Marcell Ozuna took a swipe at the A’s during a media function in St. Louis on Sunday.

Ozuna’s name, you’ll remember, swirled in trade rumors earlier this offseason that he might be dealt from the Miami Marlins to Oakland. Instead, the two-time All-Star was traded to St. Louis, making him one of several big-name players Miami has shipped off as it looks to slash payroll.

While attending the Cardinals’ Winter Warm-Up event to preview this season, Ozuna was asked what it was like being dealt to a team that’s more focused on winning right away as opposed to the rebuilding Marlins.

“I feel happy about that,” Ozuna responded. “First thing when I heard they were trying to trade me to the Oakland A’s, I say … (long pause) Well, I say ‘God, please leave me over here.’ Then I heard they trade me to the Cardinals, I say ‘OK, thanks.’”

Ouch.

Well, it’s not the first time such an insult has been hurled the A’s way, whether directly or indirectly. Last winter, it came out that Matt Holliday — who spent part of 2009 with Oakland — had a no-trade clause included in his contract with the Yankees that prohibited him from being traded only to the A’s.

Is it surprising to hear Ozuna volunteer his thoughts about the A’s in a public forum? Perhaps.

Is it a shock that he’d feel that way in the first place? Definitely not.

It’s no secret the A’s reputation is one of a team that’s always looking to trade its best veteran players rather than spend the money to sign them long term. It’s also common knowledge that they play in an outdated ballpark that’s considered the worst in the majors.

No question, those are the dominant thoughts of players on the other 29 teams when they think of the A’s. And there’s no quick fix to that. National perception is tough to alter.

“Why doesn’t ownership just start spending more money on payroll?” you might ask. “That’s the best way to change perception.”

No arguments there, but we know from the past that isn’t going to happen. Clearly, majority owner John Fisher isn’t going to spend more freely on payroll — especially with the A’s being cut off from MLB’s revenue sharing system — unless he sees the potential for other forms of revenue to stream in.

It all points back to the critical need for the A’s to identify a ballpark site and begin construction on a new home. That will send a message around the majors that a plan is in motion, that better days are ahead.

Until then, the A’s can expect to absorb the occasional jab like that delivered by Ozuna. On the bright side for Oakland fans, they might have just identified Public Enemy No. 2, a player who can slot in right behind Holliday as their favorite opponent to vilify.

A's, Khris Davis avoid arbitration, but is this a long-term union?

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USATSI

A's, Khris Davis avoid arbitration, but is this a long-term union?

The A’s took care of a big piece of business with their top run producer, signing slugger Khris Davis to a one-year contract Wednesday and avoiding arbitration.

FanRag’s Jon Heyman reported the sides settled on a $10.5 million salary. That’s more than double the $5 million Davis made last season in his first trip through the arbitration process, but a huge raise was expected after Davis put up more monster numbers in his second year with Oakland.

His 43 home runs in 2017 ranked second in the American League and he was third in RBI with 110. Consider that Davis is the only major leaguer to crack the 40-homer mark in each of the past two seasons, and only Giancarlo Stanton has more total homers during that span (86 to Davis’ 85).

That obviously makes the 30-year-old Davis a valuable commodity.

“Back to back 40-homer years in this ballpark. You guys don’t talk about it enough,” A’s executive VP of baseball operations Billy Beane said in October. “When we acquired him (in a trade from Milwaukee) we knew we got a guy with a lot of power. I think we were thinking a 30-homer guy. The fact he’s gone 40 back-to-back is pretty amazing. He fits in perfectly here. I think having that big bat that Khris brings helps guys like (Matt) Olson and (Matt) Chapman.”

So it’s clear the A’s value Davis, and that’s why he hasn’t been traded thus far, as many around the game speculated he might be this winter. But where do things go moving forward?

He’ll be eligible for arbitration one more time next winter before he’s able to test free agency heading into the 2020 season. If you’re an A’s fan, you know where this is going. If July hits and the A’s are floundering in the standings, Davis no doubt will be a trade candidate. He’d have appeal as a proven slugger who would remain under team control for 2019.

But Davis is a rare breed. He loves playing in Oakland and doesn’t hide that fact. The pitcher-friendly Coliseum has done nothing to suppress his power. In fact, he’s thrived. His 26 home runs at the Coliseum in 2017 fell one short of Jason Giambi’s Oakland record for homers by a home player.

It would seem he’d be open to a long-term extension, and the sides reportedly have held past discussions about one. The A’s have designs on signing some of their younger core players to extensions. But you’d have to rank it as a surprise were they to actually complete an extension with Davis, given the money he would command.

More than likely, Beane and his staff will evaluate the team through the first half of the upcoming season, weigh the pros and cons of dealing him, and if he stays, enter through this arbitration process again next winter, knowing that he’ll command even more bucks on another one-year deal.

An ‘X’ factor is how Davis adjusts to his shift from left field to designated hitter. He told NBC Sports California in November that he prefers the outfield but will fill whatever role is best for the team.

The feeling here is that he’ll put up the same numbers that fans have grown accustomed to, and the ball will be in the A’s court as to how long he remains in green and gold.