Athletics

Free A's game on April 17, 2018 could reveal some scary knowledge

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AP

Free A's game on April 17, 2018 could reveal some scary knowledge

The Oakland Athletics are opening their 2018 season with an interesting test of their importance.

They are playing a free game on the anniversary of their first home opener -- April 17, 1968.

Yeah, free, as in no cost to you. And the pressure comes when they finally learn how many people would watch them for nothing, and how many people would pay.

That’s a lot of knowledge for one game. A lot of potentially scary knowledge.

The A’s are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their relocation from Kansas City, even though the current season is their 50th in Oakland; go take it up with the marketing department if you have an issue. It is open from 3 a.m. to 2:45 a.m. every day.

But the free game is their most novel mode of celebrating. They will do this by getting tickets to their season ticket holder . . . err, holders, and then to people who register online in January. Presumably, they will have no difficulty moving all 50,000-some-odd seats, because presumably they won’t need to tarp the upper deck for free admittance.

I mean, who doesn’t want free? Free is swell. Free is swell even when what you’re being given is something you don’t want.

But what if they don’t fill the place? What if they find out that the number of people who watch them for free is less than capacity – or worse, less than the capacity of the as-yet-mythical new ballpark? What if the brand has been damaged so much by so many close calls, busy signals and no service in your area prompts that it can’t give away major league baseball? What if free has its limits?

The disturbingly cheery team prezbo, Dave Kaval, obviously wouldn’t conceive of such a thing publicly, but maybe he’s having night terrors about it. After, no team has ever put its popularity to the test so brazenly – not even the Los Angeles Chargers.

But I applaud the boldness, even if it is unintended and potentially frightening, as the answer "They couldn't give it away" obviously would scare the hell out of anyone.

I would also remind folks that the first game attendance in Oakland was 50,164, and the following night drew 5,304, so this free game idea is not the only way to show Kaval how much must still be done to get the A’s to throws some elbows and make room in the area for themselves.

And I eagerly await the announcement of their other big promotion of the 2018 season – the commemoration of the 2002 20-game winning streak. If it helps, they sold lots of tickets then.

A's make roster moves, DFA outfielder who played in 48 games in 2017

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USATSI

A's make roster moves, DFA outfielder who played in 48 games in 2017

In order to get their 40-man roster set for the Rule 5 Draft, the A's did a little roster reshuffling on Monday.

Among the casualties from the roster crunch was outfielder Jaycob Brugman, who played in 48 games for the A's in 2017.

Brugman and left-handed pitcher Sam Moll were designated for assignment in order to clear spots for the A's to add right-handed pitchers Heath Fillmyer and Lou Trivino to the 40-man roster.

During his stint with the A's last season, Brugman hit .266/.346/.343 with two doubles, three home runs and 12 RBI. Brugman participated in the recently-concluded Arizona Fall League, but didn't put up great numbers. He his just 1.82 in nine games.

The 23-year-old Fillmyer started 29 games for Double-A Midland and posted a 3.49 ERA in 149.2 innings. He was a fifth-round by the A's in 2014.

Trivino spent time with Midland and Triple-A Nashville during the 2017 season. In 48 relief appearances between the two levels, he posted a 3.03 ERA and struck out 65 batters in 68.1 innings.

Earlier on Monday, the A's acquired outfielder Ramon Laureano from the Astros for right-handed pitcher Brandon Bailey. Laureano was added to the 40-man roster and right-handed pitcher Bobby Wahl was outrighted to Triple-A Nashville.

The Rule 5 Draft will be held on Thursday, Dec. 14 at the Winter Meetings in Orlando.

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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