Athletics

Maxwell's arrest on gun charge leaves his baseball future uncertain

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USATSI

Maxwell's arrest on gun charge leaves his baseball future uncertain

Details remained sparse Sunday afternoon and the future uncertain for A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell, who was arrested the night before in Arizona for allegedly pointing a gun at a female food delivery driver.

Maxwell was transferred from the Scottsdale city jail to Maricopa County jail Sunday morning, a Scottsdale Police Department spokesperson said, after being arrested on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. It wasn’t immediately known when Maxwell might make his initial court appearance.

The woman making the allegation claimed Maxwell pointed a gun at her Saturday night, and Maxwell was taken into custody at his Scottsdale home at roughly 6 p.m. that night.

After drawing attention as the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustice, Maxwell’s offseason has gotten off to a very turbulent start. Earlier this week, he told TMZ Sports that he and two friends were refused service at an Alabama restaurant because of a waiter’s disapproval with his decision to kneel. That drew a direct denial from restaurant employees, leaving it unclear whose version of the story is the truth.

But his weekend arrest is much more serious, and how the legal process unfolds obviously could impact not only his baseball future but his life in general. In Arizona, any assault with a deadly weapon charge is considered “aggravated” and listed a Class 3 felony, with Class 1 the most serious on a scale of 1-6.

Penalties for a Class 3 felony in the state can include anywhere from five to 15 years in prison plus a fine up to $150,000, though a number of factors are taken into consideration that could reduce sentencing, including whether the defendant has any prior criminal history. Right now, it’s not even clear if the charges will be carried forth against Maxwell toward a potential trial, and if so, whether he could plea bargain to lesser charges.

Maxwell’s agent, Matt Sosnick, declined any comment when contacted Sunday afternoon.

Aside from his legal issues, it stands to reason that Maxwell could face separate punishment from Major League Baseball over his arrest.

At the very least, this latest incident will reflect poorly on Maxwell’s reputation. That’s unfortunate for the 26-year-old catcher in that — regardless of where people stood on his polarizing decision to kneel during the anthem — he seemed to win respect from A’s teammates and many around baseball for his intelligent, genuine explanation for why he chose to kneel in the first place.

Maxwell joined A’s president Dave Kaval and manager Bob Melvin for a trip to Santa Rosa recently to bring gifts to a young boy who lost all of his baseball memorabilia in the North Bay wildfires. Afterward, Maxwell tweeted about how impactful it was for him personally to visit with fire victims.

After the regular season wrapped up, A’s executive VP of baseball operations Billy Beane praised Maxwell’s on-field performance in 2017 and said the rookie set up nicely as Oakland’s primary catcher looking ahead to 2018. But again, how things unfold from a legal standpoint likely will impact his status with the A’s.

“We were disappointed to learn of the allegations,” the A’s said in a press release Sunday. “We take this situation and ongoing investigation seriously. We are gathering information from the proper authorities and do not have further comment at this time.”

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.