Athletics

Beane adding Manny a perfectly A's solution

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Beane adding Manny a perfectly A's solution

PHOENIX -- Manny Ramirez is the perfectly As solution we have seen before -- the ultraveteran with some dents in the frame and some recurring carburetion issues who might have one more year before the lemon squeezes out.You know, like Frank Thomas on the high side, and Ben Sheets on the low.He is indeed high reward-no risk for Wm. Lamar Beane, in that if he shows his best Manny, Beane gets some badly needed wizard points, and conversely if he has nothing left, well, he had nothing left.

Thats the blunt truth of the signing -- one year, minus 30.8 percent for his 50-game suspension, and 500,000 -- as close to the minimum as someone with Ramirezs resume will ever accept. It isnt a long-term solution to anything, nor is it the jump the As need to get from the also-est of rans to division contender.But it also isnt the quick-fix crowdpleaser that will turn those 25,000 empty chairs every night to concessions-sponge humans, either. It really is a deal that seems bigger than it actually is.And no, were not diving into the Manny-Being-Manny stuff here. One thing about showmen you can always count on is that they are less likely to put on a show when there arent enough people willing to pay to view it. Ramirez also isnt playing for 500K because he needs the money; by the accounts of those who know him, he is very careful with his cash -- no Allen Iverson he.So the seems bigger than it is thing actually works both ways. This signing may get Ramirez seen by another team with pennant concerns come the trade-for-prospects deadline, but isnt in and of itself anything other than Ramirez going out with less of the shame of his last suspension. You know, the one where he went down last May while foundering in Tampa and was believed to be utterly and completely finished as a player.Well, that didnt turn out -- one more lesson for those among us who like to declare someones career over before it is. Ramirez can report to As camp, work out in spring training and extended spring training, as well as begin a minor league rehab 10 games before being called up to the big team.And so he shall, once the As get around to announcing his signing, getting him to Papago Park and fitting him for his trademark oversized uniform. He will be available to provide designated hitting starting May 30 if there are no rainouts, and after that, he and his career will be day-to-day.But thats the frustrating part for As fans who want to see the master plan actually implemented and unfurled. Ramirez isnt part of that, and everyone understands that. He is one more part-timer who once was a big-timer, going back to Jason Kendall in 2005, Thomas in 06 and 08, Mike Piazza in 07, Mike Sweeney in 08, Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Giambi in 09, Sheets in 10 and Hideki Matsui last year.Of those, only Thomas in 06 turned out to be worthy of the hype and the cash, leading the As to their only ALCS since 1992. The others were as done as expected, and there is no particular reason to believe Ramirez will cheat the reaper either.Except that he might, and if he does . . . well, there we go, getting drawn in again. High reward, low risk.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.

A's hire Matt Williams as third base coach

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AP

A's hire Matt Williams as third base coach

OAKLANDThe Oakland A’s named Matt Williams as third base coach on Bob Melvin’s coaching staff for the 2018 season, the club announced today.

Williams spent five seasons on the Arizona Diamondbacks coaching staff as first base coach (2010) and third base coach (2011-13, 16) and also managed the Washington Nationals for two seasons.  He was named National League Manager of the Year by the BBWAA in his first season as manager in 2014, guiding the Nationals to a 96-66 record and an NL East title.  He went 83-79 in 2015 for a 179-145 (.552) record in two seasons as manager.

Williams played 17 seasons in the majors with San Francisco (1987-96), Cleveland (1997) and Arizona (1998-2003).  He was a .268 career hitter with 378 home runs and 1218 RBI in 1866 games.  Williams was a five-time All-Star and won four Gold Gloves as a third baseman.

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Ryon Healy trade has domino effect

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AP

Ryon Healy trade has domino effect

The A’s wasted no time making their first major move of the offseason, and it has a domino effect on how their 2018 lineup will take shape.

The trade of young slugger Ryon Healy to the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday paves the way for left fielder Khris Davis to start getting heavy at-bats as the designated hitter, the spot left vacant by Healy.

It also points to another move the A’s want to pull off — acquiring a right-handed hitting corner outfielder who presumably can eat up those defensive innings that Davis spends as the DH.

It’s a series of moves that isn’t all that surprising given the A’s roster makeup right now. Healy, who hit .282 with 38 homers in 221 games over his first two big league seasons, is capable of playing either first or third base. But Matt Olson and Matt Chapman secured those spots, respectively, with their solid showings as rookies last season.

“We’ve obviously talked a lot since the end of the season about adding to the bullpen,” A’s general manager David Forst said on a conference call Wednesday night. “At the same time, with the emergence of Matt and Matt, on the corners, maybe Ryon needed to be somebody we might have to move ...”

It makes sense for Oakland to find a way to shift Davis from being the everyday left fielder while still keeping his 40-homer bat in the lineup. Opponents have routinely taken extra bases the past two seasons on Davis’ throwing arm, and whether they add a newcomer to play left or shift Joyce or someone else there, chances are they can benefit from better defense in left.

The A’s also feel they got an important chip back from Seattle to help bolster a bullpen that ranked 13th in the American League last season with a 4.57 ERA. They received right-hander Emilio Pagan (along with minor league shortstop Alexander Campos), and figure that the 26-year-old Pagan is someone the A’s have pegged to be an immediate contributor in their ‘pen.

A 10th round draft pick in 2013, Pagan made his big league debut in 2017 and posted a 3.22 ERA over 34 games spread over four stints with Seattle. He endured a rocky first couple of outings but, after being called up for good in the second half, eventually worked his way into a late-inning setup role. Pagan struck out 56 and walked just eight in 50 1/3 innings, numbers that surely popped out to Oakland’s front office.

He’ll likely be called upon in middle relief to help set the table for Chris Hatcher and closer Blake Treinen, as the bullpen currently looks.

Campos, just 17, spent this past season in the Dominican Summer League, and Forst said the A’s were eyeing Campos last summer when they eventually traded Yonder Alonso to the Mariners. Oakland wound up getting center fielder Boog Powell back in that deal.

Did the A’s rake in enough for Healy? As with all trades, it will take time to judge. But it’s fair to say that Healy’s departure will be felt in a clubhouse that is characterized by the emergence of many young position players, and he was a part of that group. In fact, when Healy was called up in July 2016 — knocking Danny Valencia out as the regular third baseman — he became the first of several promising position-player prospects to establish himself in Oakland’s lineup.

He rented a house in the East Bay and eventually took in Chapman, Olson and Chad Pinder as roommates. There’s a fiery side to Healy’s on-field personality that was a positive for the A’s, and watching him play Oakland as a member of an AL West rival will make for entertaining theatre.

Another storyline is how Davis takes to being a regular DH. Forst praised Davis’ approach to his game and doesn’t anticipate any problems, adding that the A’s still want to get Davis some time in the outfield.