Athletics

Pratt's Instant Replay: A's 2, Mariners 1

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Pratt's Instant Replay: A's 2, Mariners 1

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If you were able to watch the A's game Wednesday, you witnessed history. The A's only collected two hits -- they were both home runs. According to our A's historian David Feldman, that is the first time in Oakland A's history that has happened. The two homers were enough to give the A's a 2-1 win in Seattle. Jarrod Parker shut down the Mariners to earn his fourth win, and Ryan Cook got his sixth save.Starting Pitching ReportParker struck out a career-high nine hitters. His previous high came on May 23 against the Angels when he struck out eighth. He threw 104 pitches over seven innings. He only allowed one run, and it is the sixth time in his last seven starts that he has allowed one run or fewer.His only mistake came when John Jaso ripped a first-pitch fastball over the right field fence for a solo home run. After the homer, he ended up walking back-to-back hitters, then they advanced to second and third on a wild pitch. Parker ended up striking out Ichiro Suzuki swinging to escape the jam. The pitch he struck out Ichiro on was way above the strike zone.Parker's Achilles heel has been putting runners on base. He walked four batters on Wednesday and has 36 walks this season, which is the most by any A's pitcher.Bullpen ReportRyan Cook pitched the ninth inning for his sixth save. He got Jaso to ground out, then Brandon Inge made an error allowing Justin Smoak to reach base. Cook then fell behind 3-0 to Dustin Ackley before battling back and getting him to pop out in left field foul territory for the second out. Cook then hit Brendan Ryan with a 96-mph fastball. With runners on first and second he faced Ichiro, who struck out swinging to end the game.Grant Balfour pitched the eighth inning. He gave up a double to Kyle Seager but escaped unscathed. He hasn't allowed a run in his past 11.2 innings pitched.At the PlateCoco Crisp lead off the game with a home run to right field. It was a hanging pitch that was belt-high. The ball barely cleared the fence, landing in the front row of the right field bleachers.After Crisp's homer, Kevin Millwood had retired eight-straight A's hitters before being pulled from the game in the top of the third, after aggravating a groin injury. Hisashi Iwakuma entered in relief. The A's won the negotiating rights with Iwakuma prior to the 2010 season, but they couldn't strike a deal when Iwakuma's agent Don Nomura reportedly asked for "Zito-type money."The A's hadn't recorded a hit since Crisp's leadoff homer, until Yoenis Cespedes stepped to the plate in the seventh inning. He hammered a change-up for his ninth home run of the season, and his fifth against the Mariners, giving the A's a 2-1 lead.Both Brandon Inge and Brandon Moss have gone ice cold. Inge is 6-for-41 with 15 strikeouts over his last 12 games, and Moss has 16 strikeouts over that span.Up NextThe A's head to Arlington, Texas to take on the first place Rangers. Tyson Ross (2-7, 6.02 ERA) takes on Scott Feldman (1-6, 6.00 ERA). Feldman gave up eight runs in Oakland on June 4. He has rebounded nicely, allowing a total of eight runs in his last three starts since then.

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.