Athletics

A's make it official -- Gio to Nationals

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A's make it official -- Gio to Nationals

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Billy Beane and the A's will host a conference call Friday evening at 6:30 p.m. Listen in as we stream the call live on CSNCalifornia.com!

News broke Thursday that the A's traded all-star pitcher Gio Gonzalez to the Nationals for four prospects.

NEWS: A's deal Gonzalez to Nats for four prospects

The A's and Nationals made the news official Friday, when they sent out the press release. Below is the text included:

OAKLAND -- The Oakland As acquired right-handed pitchers A.J. Cole and Brad Peacock, left-handed pitcher Tom Milone and catcher Derek Norris from the Washington Nationals in exchange for left-handed pitcher Gio Gonzalez and right-handed pitcher Rob Gilliam, the club announced today.

The As acquired three of the Nationals top nine prospects, according to Baseball America. Peacock was ranked number three this year after he was slotted number 10 prior to the 2011 season. Cole has been ranked fourth in each of the last two seasons and Norris was ranked ninth this year after back-to-back seasons as the Nationals number two prospect.

Cole was 4-7 with a 4.04 ERA in 20 games, 18 starts, for Single-A Hagerstown last year. He struck out 108 batters and walked just 24 in 89.0 innings. The 19-year-old right-hander yielded just six home runs. Cole was selected by Washington in the fourth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of Oviedo High School in Florida.

Milone made his Major League debut with Washington last September, logging a 1-0 record and a 3.81 ERA in five starts. He spent the balance of the season with Triple-A Syracuse, where he went 12-6 with a 3.22 ERA in 24 starts. The 24-year-old left-hander ranked second in the International League in strikeouts (155), tied for third in wins and sixth in ERA. He walked just 16 batters for a league-low 0.97 walks per nine innings. Milone also fashioned a strikeout to walk ratio of 9.75 and has a mark of 5.53 strikeouts per walk in his career. The native of Saugus, Calif. was the Nationals 10th round pick in the 2008 draft out of the University of Southern California.

Norris batted .210 with 20 home runs and 46 RBI in 104 games with Double-A Harrisburg last year. He ranked third in the Eastern League with 77 walks and his average of 16.70 at bats per home run was the best mark in the league. The 22-year-old also threw out 39 of 97 (40.2) attempted base stealers, which was the highest figure among EL catchers. Norris was originally drafted by Washington in fourth round in 2007. He is a .249 hitter in 431 career minor league games, but has walked 344 times for a .403 on-base percentage.

Peacock also made his Major League debut in 2011, posting a 2-0 record and a 0.75 ERA in three games, two starts, during a September call-up with the Nationals. He also combined for a 15-3 record and a 2.39 ERA in 25 games, 23 starts, with Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse. The Palm Beach, Fla. native tied for second in all of minor league baseball in wins and ranked seventh in strikeouts (177). Peacock also had the 11th best ERA among pitchers in full season leagues. The 23-year-old right-hander was originally selected by the Nationals in the 41st round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft out of Palm Beach Central High School.

Gonzalez registered a 16-12 record and 3.12 ERA in logging 202.0 innings over 32 starts last season, earning him a spot on the 2011 American League All-Star team. He tied for fourth in the AL in wins, ranked ninth in strikeouts (197) and opponents batting average (.230), and 10th in ERA. The 26-year-old left-hander has posted a 31-21 record and 3.17 ERA in 65 starts with Oakland during the past two seasons. He owns a Major League career mark of 38-32 with a 3.93 ERA in 95 games, including 89 starts, since making his debut with the As in 2008. Gonzalez was acquired by the As prior to the 2008 season in a four-player trade with Chicago in which Oakland sent Nick Swisher to the White Sox.

Gilliam was 12-7 with a 5.04 ERA in 28 starts for Single-A Stockton last year. He fanned 156 in 164.1 innings and allowed a .263 opponents batting average. The 24-year-old right-hander was originally selected by the As in the eighth round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.

Courtesy Oakland A's media services

New Cardinals OF Marcell Ozuna takes jab at A's during media event

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AP

New Cardinals OF Marcell Ozuna takes jab at A's during media event

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.’”

Ouch.

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.

A's, Khris Davis avoid arbitration, but is this a long-term union?

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USATSI

A's, Khris Davis avoid arbitration, but is this a long-term union?

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.