Athletics

Mailbag: Will A's go after Bay Area native CC Sabathia?

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AP

Mailbag: Will A's go after Bay Area native CC Sabathia?

As the postseason continues to unfold, it’s fair game to speculate on what might be in store for the A’s looking ahead to next year. Here’s some questions that came in via Twitter, with my thoughts attached …

@usernamaxwell -- What do you think the 2018 rotation will look like?

Talk about wide open. You can safely write in Kendall Graveman and Sean Manaea. I’ll put Paul Blackburn in there based on his impressive showing before suffering a season-ending hand injury. Daniel Mengden has an inside track based on his strong September. But for both Blackburn and Mengden, the sample size of success is so small. For others, like Jharel Cotton and Daniel Gossett, they struggled during an extended opportunity in this season’s rotation. That’s why I expect the A’s to sign a free agent starter. It likely won’t be a front-of-the-rotation guy. But something tells me one of those five spots will be filled by someone not currently in the organization. As for in-house guys, everything is written in pencil for me beyond Graveman and Manaea.

@sanomafang -- Who do you see starting at CF next season?

Unfortunately there’s no crystal ball that tells us whether Dustin Fowler’s right knee will be full strength by the start of spring training. If he’s fully recovered from surgery for a ruptured patella tendon, it appears his job to lose. That’s saying a lot for a guy that’s played just one big league game. But the 22-year-old Fowler, acquired from the Yankees in the Sonny Gray deal, is a very highly regarded prospect. A’s officials have made it clear they see him as the likely starter in center if he’s 100 percent. But there’s bound to be rust to knock off. Boog Powell remains very much in the equation here. Bottom line, I see the A’s choosing their center fielder from in-house as opposed to acquiring someone.

@jackconboy -- Who do you think will get a long-term contract and would they give one to pre-arb players?

Although the A’s could target a veteran – reportedly they’ve held past talks with Khris Davis and Marcus Semien about extensions – I tend to think it’s the younger guys they would focus on locking up. Yes, I do think they would consider multi-year deals for pre-arbitration players. The question is when. I think they want to give it a little time to evaluate just who they should sink their money into. Any number of players could be targets. Trying to forecast right now, I think Matt Chapman and Matt Olson would make sense to sign as power hitters who play impact defense at the corner infield spots. These look like anchor-type guys to me. But Ryon Healy, Chad Pinder, Bruce Maxwell, Sean Manaea and others could warrant consideration too.

@OaklandABooster -- Any chance the A’s might bid on CC Sabathia in the offseason?

I’ve heard people speculating on this one. The A’s could use a seasoned veteran in their rotation. And given Sabathia is a Vallejo native, finishing his career in the Bay Area could be the perfect ending for the 37-year-old. So it makes some sense on the surface. But being that he pitched to a 3.69 ERA and 14 wins over 148 2/3 innings with the Yankees this season, expect there to be plenty of competition for his services on the open market. As usual, it will come down to dollars. But I could see the A’s making a play for him.

@dongodile -- What's gonna happen to Chris bassitt -- bullpen or rotation?

I’m pretty curious about this myself because there’s a fit for him somewhere on this staff if healthy. Bob Melvin said, in his season-ending media chat, that Bassitt could pitch in relief next season simply because he logged just 50 2/3 innings in 2017 after returning from Tommy John surgery. He feels comfortable relieving, and let’s face it, this bullpen needs reinforcements. He’s a wild card worth watching in spring training.

@mrjoesiler -- What do you see for the DH position in 2018?

I think this one’s on a lot of people’s minds. Things could very well remain status quo. Matt Chapman and Matt Olson appear locked in at the corner infield spots, and with Khris Davis manning left field, Healy would remain the DH. There’s been speculation that perhaps Healy could be dangled in a trade. I see the logic … moving him means Davis could slide to DH and the A’s could field a stronger defensive outfield that potentially has Matt Joyce in left, whoever wins out in center and Chad Pinder in right. But boy, you have to like the chemistry that’s developing with this young nucleus, and Healy is a part of that. Do you want to subtract a piece from that at this early juncture? Being that the A’s have stuck with Davis in left field for two seasons now despite his subpar throwing arm, I could see them staying the course in 2018 and Healy remaining the DH.

@J_M_C_74 -- With the recent trade acquisitions of SSs Jorge Mateo and Sheldon Neuse, does Marcus Semien become a trade candidate in the next 1 -2 years?

First thing’s first – the A’s have to be convinced they’ve got a better shortstop who’s ready before they would even consider dealing Semien. Both prospects you mention made a nice early impression, but it’s too early to tell if either will be playing shortstop in the bigs. Mateo is a terrific athlete but he could also be a center field option. From what I’m told, Neuse has adequate tools for short but is probably best suited for third base. I’ve long thought Richie Martin, the A’s first-round pick in 2015, would have the glove to eventually take over as the big league shortstop. But Martin’s bat is the concern right now, and he finished the season at Single-A after Mateo was acquired and took over shortstop at Double-A.

Downloading a new Font: A's acquire reliever from Dodgers

Downloading a new Font: A's acquire reliever from Dodgers

The A's are taking a flier on a journeyman reliever.

Wilmer Font, a 27-year-old right-handed pitcher was acquired from the Dodgers on Wednesday.

Font has had a rough beginning to the 2018 season. In six appearances with Los Angeles, he allowed 18 hits, 13 earned run and five home runs in 10.1 innings for an ugly 11.32 ERA.

For the moment, Font is not on the A's active roster, but a move could be made soon to give him on the 25-man roster.

Oakland is sending minor league left-handed pitcher Logan Salow back to the Dodgers. A 2017 sixth-round pick, Salow made four appearances for the Low-A Beloit Snappers and posted a 1.59 ERA.

A's keep rolling, beat Rangers to run winning streak to four games

A's keep rolling, beat Rangers to run winning streak to four games

BOX SCORE

ARLINGTON -- Jed Lowrie hit a tiebreaking double in the seventh inning and the Oakland Athletics beat the Texas Rangers 3-2 on Tuesday night, tagging Cole Hamels with his fourth loss before the end of April for the first time in the left-hander's career.

Texas slugger Adrian Beltre exited with a left hamstring strain in the eighth after pulling up at first base on what would have been a double but was instead a single for his 3,075th career hit.

Lowrie's liner over the glove of diving center fielder Delino DeShields came against reliever Matt Bush after two doubles off Hamels in an inning that included a pair of Oakland baserunners getting thrown out at third base.

Andrew Triggs (2-0) allowed one run in six innings with six strikeouts, and former closer Santiago Casilla pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save.

Oakland rookie Lou Trivino struck out two batters to finish the eighth after coming in cold when Blake Treinen took a line drive from Shin-Soo Choo off his right leg and had to leave the game.

Trivino was called up from Triple-A Nashville earlier in the day when Yusmeiro Petit went on the bereavement list following the death of his mother in Venezuela. Petit was away from the team for four days earlier this month to spend time with his mom.

Hamels (1-4) gave up two runs in 6 1/3 innings and plunked three batters, matching the 2008 World Series MVP's career high set on April 20, 2016, in a 2-1 win against Houston. Rangers reliever Jake Diekman also hit a batter with a pitch.

The Rangers clinched their fifth straight series loss at home, the most to start a season since the franchise moved to Texas in 1972.

Mark Canha broke a scoreless tie in the sixth with his third homer, a solo shot that went in and out of leaping right fielder Nomar Mazara's glove just above the fence. Matt Olson hit an RBI double in the eighth.

Beltre's liner to the gap when he was injured was a single that scored Choo from first. The 39-year-old in his 21st season limped to first and went immediately to the dugout. Beltre had two hits and both Texas RBIs, driving in the first run on a sacrifice fly.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Athletics: RHP Liam Hendriks was to have a procedure to remove a cyst in his right hip, with a plasma injection for a muscle tear. Hendriks was already on the disabled list because of a right groin strain. He should be throwing off a mound in a few weeks.

Rangers: RHPs Tony Barnette (right shoulder inflammation) and Tim Lincecum (blister) threw live bullpen sessions. Manager Jeff Banister said Barnette probably won't return before Friday. Lincecum is on the 60-day DL.

UP NEXT:
RHP Kendall Graveman (0-4, 10.07 ERA), Oakland's opening day starter, has allowed at least four runs without throwing more than five innings in all five starts, the longest such streak to start a season for an A's pitcher since at least 1908. RHP Doug Fister (1-2, 3.59) is scheduled for Texas in the series finale as he returns from a right hip strain. His most recent start was April 9.