Yoenis CespedesCespedes, who was eligible to return from the disabled list on Tuesday, hit in the indoor batting cage again. All reports about his injured left hand are positive. Friday, manager Bob Melvin said Cespedes will likely have to go on a rehab assignment before being activated. "He hit live in the cage today, and felt good no problems there," Melvin said. "He will hit live on the field tomorrow. If that's the case, and he feels good, then we'll probably target a date for him to go out and get a few at-bats."According to the A's, Cespedes has an extreme work ethic, and lives, sleeps, and eats baseball. Their biggest concern is protecting him from himself. "I think it all depends on how he feels," Melvin says. "He is a guy that likes to feel comfortable. The other day when he was in the cage it was more about swinging and making sure he didn't feel his hand. Today they said he was a little frustrated with some of his swings, that he wanted his mechanics to be perfect."ETA: Could return on this road trip.Brandon IngeAs we first reported: Inge has been sent to Triple-A Sacramento.ETA: May 28Graham GodfreyGodfrey hasn't been ruled out of making his next start. He was called up to take Brandon McCarthy's spot in the rotation on Tuesday, but injured the middle finger on his pitching hand before his start. "I heard he feels better," Melvin said. "We'll see how he is again tomorrow. Whether or not we are throwing a bullpen and where we are, but I am not sure yet." ETA: Could make next startBrandon McCarthy I watched McCarthy play catch in the outfield on Friday before the game. He was smiling as he walked off the field. "McCarthy just played catch today," Melvin said. "So we'll probably talk about that a bit later." On Tuesday Brandon McCarthy sat down with pitching coach Curt Young and began to map out some plans for his return. He remains on pace to return from the 15-day disabled list when eligible to return on June 2. Hes doing some strengthening stuff, stabilization stuff with us and will probably look to pick up a ball hopefully at the latter half of the week," Paparesta said on Tuesday. "And we are targeting obviously his return date of June 2."ETA: June 2Brett AndersonAnderson experienced some forearm soreness during his throwing program. According to the A's he is still ahead of schedule in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. Because of the severity of the type of surgery Anderson had, the A's don't want to rush him. "What you don't want to do is start him up and then stop him, then start him up and stop him again," Paparesta said on Tuesday. "We've got a pretty good process with him and he hasn't had an issue so far."ETA: TBDDallas BradenBraden spent the weekend with the team in San Francisco and has been at the Coliseum this home stand. Braden is not near returning at this point. "I want to say it was about two and a half weeks ago, three weeks that he started playing some catch 45, 60 feet, " Paparesta said. "Dallas wasnt having any pain at that point in time, but he felt like he just wasnt as strong as he needs to be, so we decided hey, lets pull the reigns back. Lets get you as strong as you need to be."ETA: TBD
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.’”
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.
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.