Athletics

After 5 positions Green focusing on one specifically

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After 5 positions Green focusing on one specifically

SACRAMENTO -- Where is Grant Green? Why isn't he in Oakland? The A's should call up Grant Green to play insert position here.It seems around 90 percent of the questions asked during our chats, or on Twitter are centered around Green. Every time a player falls into a slump, or makes an error, the solution on the internet is simple: Call up Grant Green.Why not Green? Well, first off, he is a career shortstop that doesn't have a position yet. Last year he was moved to the outfield to remedy that problem. This year he has started 75 games in the outfield, 19 at second base, 17 at shortstop, and nine at third base.So what exactly is the plan for Green?"Right now position-wise to get as comfortable at second as possible," Green said. "Get used to that turn, and get used to the read off the bat. And when I do make a read, to go 100 percent at it."Even though Green has seen playing time at five different positions, he's remained consistent at the plate. Green leads the River Cats with 16 multi-RBI games and is batting .294 with 13 homers and 67 RBIs. He is hitting .291 against lefties and .296 against righties -- consistent."He's doing a great job," River Cats manager Darren Bush said. "We're throwing a ton at him and he is handling it all."It's just that pesky defense thing that is the problem. Since Green was a shortstop pretty much his entire life, he is generally more comfortable on the left side of the field. Therefore, second base is a big adjustment. So how do they remedy that?"Just throw him over there," Bush said with a laugh. "He had to learn to protect himself around the bag and move around the bag."Bush says the transition has been made easier because it hasn't just been the coaching staff working with him. Green's teammates have been very vocal in helping him learn as well -- specifically Brandon Hicks, Adam Rosales, and Wes Timmons, all players who have experience playing on both sides of the infield. The instruction has been working."He looks comfortable all over the field," Bush says. "He's looking more and more confident at second base."The versatility is important because it might be the main reason he does finally get called up. With rosters expanding on September 1 he is a solid candidate to join the A's soon."It opens up a lot of doors," Green said. "A lot of options that may be able to help me down the line."Green is currently on an eight-game hitting streak. The organization believes he is ready offensively. He is working hard to make sure they trust that he can handle all of the other facets of the game."They believe that my bat is a good weapon," Green said. "Just trying to get everything else better. Whether it's the base running, or the defense. Just get those things fine tuned and hopefully we'll go from there."Focusing on second base might be a little more complicated with Jemile Weeks joining the River Cats. How the organization plans on splitting time with Weeks and Green at second remains to be seen.

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.