Athletics

A's Digital Mailbag: 6-man rotation, Rollins at SS?

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A's Digital Mailbag: 6-man rotation, Rollins at SS?

Time again for the A's Digital Mailbag! In addition to my Monday Chat, the Digital Mailbag allows me to answer your questions in more than 140 characters! Speaking of Twitter, we'll begin with questions from there.Twitter@CaseyPrattCSN What would be your thoughts if the A's do not make a move? Sniffard (@Sniff009) July 27, 2012CP: I've been saying since the beginning of trade rumor season that it would make sense for the A's not to make a move. If it ain't broke don't fix it. The people that looked like they could be used as trade bait are all integral parts of the team now. Coco Crisp is peaking, Bartolo Colon is a stable force in the A's rotation, and Grant Balfour hasn't allowed a run in his last eight games. The A's are in contention now, so I don't see a move involving a current Oakland player realistic. You'd have to look at the farm for trade options. The A's can obviously improve at shortstop, especially with Cliff Pennington injured. I don't think replacing Brandon Inge with another third baseman is a wise move. Inge is an integral part of that clubhouse chemistry you are hearing about now. He has also played good defense and is surprisingly productive at the plate. His 46 RBIs with the A's rank him third on the team only behind Josh Reddick (49) and Yoenis Cespedes (50). @CaseyPrattCSN What prospects do you think Beane meant when he said.untouchable? MIGUEL MENDOZA (@OaklandBound10) July 27, 2012CP: I think the general manager wasn't just referring to prospects when he was talking about "untouchable" players. In saying for the first time he sees a lot of players as untouchable, he was likely referring to the surprisingly successful and cost controlled players he possesses. Here's a short list of who I believe are untouchable and why: Josh Reddick is making 485,000 and isn't a free agent until 2017. Yoenis Cespedes is signed through 2015. Jemile Weeks flashed signs of brilliance in his rookie season and was already labeled untouchable. Tommy Milone, Jarrod Parker and Ryan Cook are all rookies that have vastly exceeded any worldly expectations. As rookies they are all under team control for a long time at a low price. In the Minor Leagues I'd guess anyone could be moved for the right return, but Dan Straily has become an elite trade chip. The team's surprising success makes a lot or players that I didn't list unlikely to go anywhere. @CaseyPrattCSN with the A's recent success and possibility of the future being now do you see potential for some big signings this winter? Rick Valdez (@rickvaldezmusic) July 27, 2012CP: The A's payroll is around 52M. It was as high as 67M in 2011, and 79M in 2007. The ownership has stated they have payroll flexibility. With money being less of an obstacle, and the team proving to be a contender, it will be much easier to convince a player to come here. They still have the ongoing issues that the Coliseum presents, but money talks and players want to be a part of a winning team. With the young talented nucleus the A's possess, Oakland might prove to be a tempting destination. Besides, who wouldn't want to live in the Bay Area? @CaseyPrattCSN if the A's do make a trade are they likely to give up a lot for any player? Sylvester Valderrama (@SLYBOY_22) July 27, 2012CP: It all depends on the player. All reports indicated the A's were willing to part with much more than the Dodgers were for Hanley Ramirez. Except LA decided to eat his contract and the Marlins did what was best for their pocketbooks, rather than what was best for their franchise. The A's have some attractive prospects and an incredible wealth of pitching. It all depends on who becomes available and what the asking price will be. Based on how the A's are playing with the current roster, I don't think it would be too wise to give up a lot to go for it now. They could go for it with what they have. Think about how well it worked out when they shipped off Carlos Gonzalez as part of a package for Matt Holliday, or when they shipped Andre Ethier as part of the Milton Bradley trade. @CaseyPrattCSN Who you got dropping out of this current starting rotation when Anderson and McCarthy get healthy? Jorge Alonzo (@J_A_Alonzo83) July 26, 2012CP: I think the A's would be wise to wait until the absolute last minute to make that decision. No need to rush Brett Anderson or Brandon McCarthy. Every pitcher in the rotation has proven they deserve a spot. Only when Anderson or McCarthy are absolutely knocking down the door will it is time to decide. You'd have to start with the back of the rotation. Travis Blackley could still be extremely effective as a long reliever. When he first came to the A's he began in the the bullpen and pitched very well there. He has proven he can get it done in the rotation though. It would be difficult to move him out. A.J. Griffin has yet to allow more than three runs in a start this season, it would be tough to remove him from the rotation. This of course segues nicely into the next question @CaseyPrattCSN I expect the A's to make room for Straily in the rotation. How will they do it? Trade Colon? 6-man rotation? Someone to pen? Brad Hill (@CaliforniaJag) July 27, 2012CP: The A's would be wise to consider a six-man rotation. A's manager Bob Melvin said the team has yet to fully discuss that though. The six-man rotation could limit the innings of rookies Jarrod Parker and Tommy Milone and keep 39-year-old Bartolo Colon fresh. If Brandon McCarthy returns it might also give the A's a chance to give him extra rest, something that has really benefitted him this season. If they do go that direction I don't see it happening as a means to get Dan Straily into the rotation, it will likely be a way to get Brett Anderson or McCarthy in. @CaseyPrattCSN What are the chances the A's bring Jimmy Rollins back home? Nathan Morris (@Naty_Mo) July 27, 2012CP: The Encinal high school stand out would look good in Green and Gold. Jimmy Rollins grew up in Alameda an A's fan. Would that be enough to get him to waive his no-trade clause? Rollins, 33, is a former MVP and won't come cheap. He is also declining statistically year-by-year. He peaked in 2007 when he won the National League MVP award. He is very popular in Philadelphia and the Phillies have to believe they will be contenders next season. Here's his WAR by year starting with his best season: 2007: 6.9, 2008: 5.6, 2009: 3.0, 2010: 2.5, 2011; 3.8. 2012: 2.6. Rollins' contract is a bit burdensome as well. He is owed 22M through 2014, and has a vesting option for 2015. The 2015 option is worth 11M more if he is able to reach certain performance incentives. According to Cot's baseball contracts if the option doesn't vest, the team owns a 8M club option and Rollins owns a 5M player option. Rollins will make a large dent in the payroll and in the prospect department. The A's would likely have to give up less in the personnel department, if they ate all that money. A lot of work would have to be done to make this move. I don't see it happening, but crazier things have occurred. @CaseyPrattCSN With all these names floating around the A's rumor mill, who do you think would fit best with this club? (@JamalM_510) July 27, 2012CP: I still think the A's biggest need is a shortstop, and I think Yunel Escobar remains the best fit. There has been a lot said of his potential clubhouse chemistry issues, but Hanley Ramirez might be one of the worst out there in that department and the A's didn't shy from going after him. Escobar is still just 28, and had a good 2011 season. He could be a valuable addition to the A's and wouldn't cost as much as Rollins, Ramirez, or Asdrubal Cabrera. You have to wonder how series the back issues are that kept Escobar out of the final two games of their recent series with the Blue Jays. E-MAIL What are the As plans for their rotation? Will they shut down all the rookies, even if they are in contention for a playoff spot in September? If they get into the playoffs, should we not expect to see Parker, Milone or Griffin?- Matthew MitchellCP: Keeping a close eye on the rookies is important. The A's main concern is Jarrod Parker who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2009. Tommy Milone hasn't had any injury issues and appears to be fine for the long haul. A.J. Griffin should be fine for the stretch run as well. The A's haven't said they would shut down down anyone -- even if they make the playoffs -- like the Nationals have claimed they will do with Stephen Strasburg. Instead, the A's have been very careful with Parker's pitch count, and they will look to find a way to limit him a little at a time -- rather than shutting him down completely. A six-man rotation might play into this eventually, and the A's certainly have the bullpen strength to cut the A's starting pitchers break. Don't expect to see anyone shut down if they are in the hunt.

Vallejo-native, free agent-to-be Sabathia after Yankees loss: 'This is my home'

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USATSI

Vallejo-native, free agent-to-be Sabathia after Yankees loss: 'This is my home'

C.C. Sabathia couldn't save the Yankees' 2017 season. And now he has a decision to make.

After nine seasons in New York, the 37-year-old hits the free agent market this winter.

With career earnings nearing $250 million and a 2009 World Series ring already on his resume, would the Vallejo-native consider coming home to play for the A's? That's a question that was posed to NBCSportsBayArea.com Insider Joe Stiglich last week.

While it's a possibility, based on comments after Saturday's ALCS Game 7 loss to the Astros, it sounds like Sabathia doesn't want to leave The Bronx.

“I feel like this is a young team, and we will turn this into something great. This is my home, and I want to see this thing through," Sabathia told reporters, according to The Associated Press.

Astros win two straight vs Yankees, advance to take on Dodgers in World Series

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USATSI

Astros win two straight vs Yankees, advance to take on Dodgers in World Series

BOX SCORE

HOUSTON -- Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers combined on a three-hitter, Jose Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Houston Astros reached the World Series, blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Just four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees for two straight games after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.

Next up for the Astros: Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Los Angeles opened as a narrow favorite, but Houston aces Dallas Keuchel and ALCS MVP Justin Verlander will have plenty of rest before the matchup begins at Dodger Stadium.

Houston has never won even a single World Series game. The only previous time the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

Now, manager A.J. Hinch's club has a chance to win that elusive first title, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

Houston improved to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and became the fifth team in major league history to win a seven-game postseason series by winning all four of its home games.

Morton bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to allow two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to just one hit while fanning six over the next four.

Combined, they throttled the wild-card Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.

CC Sabathia entered the game 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts this season after a Yankees loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.

Houston was up 2-0 in fifth when former Yankees star Brian McCann came through for the second straight game by hitting a two-run double after snapping an 0-for-20 skid with an ground-rule RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night.

The Yankees, trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009, lost an elimination game for the first time this season after winning their first four in these playoffs. New York struggled on the road this postseason, with this loss dropping the team to 1-6.

After going 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position through the first three innings, the Astros got on the board with no outs in the fourth with the 405-foot shot by Gattis off Sabathia which made it 1-0.

Altuve launched a ball off Tommy Kahnle into the seats in right field with one out in the fifth for his fifth homer this postseason. It took a while for him to see that it was going to get out, and held onto his bat until he was halfway to first base before flipping it and trotting around the bases as chants of "MVP" rained down on him.

Altuve finished 8 for 25 with two homers and four RBIs in the ALCS after hitting .533 with three homers and four RBIs in the ALDS against Boston.

Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel hit consecutive singles after that before Kahnle struck out Gattis. McCann's two-strike double, which rolled into the corner of right field, cleared the bases to push the lead to 4-0. Gurriel slid to avoid the tag and remained on his belly in a swimming pose at the plate for a few seconds after he was called safe.

It was just the second Game 7 in franchise history for the Astros, who dropped Game 7 to the Cardinals in the 2004 NLCS 13 years ago today.

Sabathia allowed five hits and one run while walking three in 3 1/3 innings. He wasn't nearly as sharp as he was in a Game 3 win and just 36 of the 65 pitches he threw were strikes.

Morton got into trouble in the fifth, and the Yankees had runners at the corners with one out. Bregman fielded a grounder hit by Todd Frazier and made a perfect throw home to allow McCann to tag Greg Bird and preserve Houston's lead. McCann held onto the ball despite Bird's cleat banging into his forearm. Chase Headley grounded out after that to end the inning.

A night after Springer kept Frazier from extra-bases with a leaping catch, Judge returned the favor on a ball hit by Yuli Gurriel. Judge sprinted, jumped and reached into the stands to grab his long fly ball before crashing into the wall and falling to the ground for the first out of the second inning.

Springer had another nifty catch in this one, jumping in front of Marwin Gonzalez at the wall in left-center to grab a ball hit by Bird for the first out of the seventh inning.