Athletics

A's lineup: Crisp out, Barton in

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A's lineup: Crisp out, Barton in

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DETROIT -- The A's are 0-1 on their crucial 10-game road trip through Detroit, New York and Texas. They will have a tough task trying to get back in the win column on Wednesday against one of the best pitchers in baseball. Here's A's manager Bob Melvin's lineup card.Oakland Athletics (84-63) lineupStephen Drew, SS
Seth Smith, DH
Josh Reddick, RF
Yoenis Cespedes, CF
Brandon Moss, LF
Josh Donaldson, 3B
Daric Barton, 1B
Derek Norris, C
Cliff Pennington, 2B
Instant AnalysisWith the Tigers starting ace Justin Verlander, the reigning American League MVP and Cy Young-award winner, the A's are stacking their lineup with lefties again to try and knock the righty off his game.Coco Crisp continues to recover from allergic conjunctivitis in both of his eyes. He was removed from Tuesday's game in the fourth inning and his eyes looked very red and puffy after the game.Note that Yoenis Cespedes is in center field. He rolled his ankle on Tuesday night in the seventh inning and had it heavily wrapped up after the game. When asked if he would be able to play on Wednesday he responded in perfect English, "every day."Brandon Moss will be starting in left field and Daric Barton will be manning first base. It is his first start since May 30. It is an interesting decision not to go with Chris Carter, but he is 4 for 31 in his last 10 games with 19 strikeouts. Barton is a left-handed hitter and Melvin was likely looking to get another southpaw in the order against Verlander. Top of the OrderSmith is 1 for 5 with a home run against Verlander. He is the only hitter on the A's to have taken the Detroit ace deep. It's unfortunate for the A's that Crisp cannot play. He's had a lot of success against Verlander hitting .364 (8 for 22) in his career against him. Heart of the OrderJosh Reddick is heating up at the plate. He is on a six-game hitting streak and has three consecutive multi-hit games. He is batting .375 (9 for 24) over his last six games. Reddick is 2 for 7 in his career against Verlander. Cespedes is hitting .400 with three homers and a .900 slugging percentage since September 11. It is going to take a lot to get him out of the lineup. Bottom of the OrderCliff Pennington is hitting .341 (15 for 44) over his last 14 games. After coming off the DL on August 7 he has started to turn his season around. Melvin has made it pretty clear that he is the starter at second base. Starting PitchersIf you are a fan of pitching you'll probably enjoy Wednesday's matchup. Cy YoungMVP Justin Verlander (14-8, 2.82 ERA) takes on Brett Anderson (4-1, 1.93 ERA). Anderson became the first starting pitcher since Dave Stewart in 1990 to start the season by earning a win in each of his first four starts.Verlander is making his 14th start at home and is 7-2 with a 1.70 ERA at Comerica Park.

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.