Athletics

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

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

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- The A's are now 13-2 in July and have won the four-game series with the Yankees. Oakland is a season-best six games over .500. After getting swept here by the Bronx Bombers in May, the A's now have a chance to return the favor as they won 2-1 on Saturday night.At the PlateYoenis Cespedes is at it again. He pulled a mammoth game-tying homer into the left-field bleachers. The ball didn't merely land in the bleachers either. It crashed into the fans in the seats like a meteor. Cespedes' blast extended his hitting streak to a career-high nine games.Brandon Inge displayed his power stroke as well. He blasted the go-ahead homer in the bottom of the eighth inning. It was his ninth home run and it hit the front of the bleachers over the high wall in right-center field.Derek Norris drew a walk in the sixth inning. The rookie catcher is still 0 for his last 29, but he made up for it by stealing his third base and giving the A's an opportunity with a runner in scoring position. The big man has some wheels.Starting Pitching ReportIf the A's rookie starting pitchers hadn't captured the attention of the nation yet, they certainly did after this series. Parker was the third A's rookie starting pitcher in a row to befuddle one of the best collections of hitters in the game today.Parker lasted eight innings against the vaunted Bronx Bombers lineup and got the win. He gave up just five hits and allowed one earned run. He struck out five. Like Tommy Milone last night, Parker's changeup was working well. Parker walked Curtis Granderson in the sixth inning, snapping a streak of 23 innings without a walk by a Yankee hitter in this series. What makes that start more impressive is that all three of the games in this series have been started by a rookie pitcher.Bullpen ReportWith closer Ryan Cook unavailable after pitching in three consecutive games, Sean Doolittle got to try his hand at the ninth inning. Doolittle allowed a leadoff single to Alex Rodriguez, then blew a 94-mph past Robinson Cano, snapping a 23 game hitting streak in the process. He then struck out Teixeira looking on another 94-mph fastball, and got Andruw Jones swinging on -- you guessed it -- a 94-mph fastball. He earned his first career save in style.In the FieldJemile Weeks displayed his hops robbing Rodriguez on a line drive in the first inning.Coco Crisp used his legs to snowcone catch a blooper hit by Granderson in the third inning. Crisp paused as the ball was in the air, then sprinted hard after the ball reaching down and grabbing it before it touched the ground. Somehow he managed to stay on his feet.AttendanceThe A's announced an attendance of 28,142.Dot RaceRed wins the dot race. That's three wins in a row for Red.Up NextThe A's will send Bartolo Colon (6-8, 3.88 ERA) to the mound in the series finale. It will be his 19th start of the season and he has a 2.89 ERA over his last seven starts. Colon weighs in at 265 pounds. The man opposing him, C.C. Sabathia tips the scales at 290 pounds.Sabathia (10-3, 3.27 ERA) turned 32 on Saturday. With 186 career wins he has the most wins prior to his 32nd birthday since Catfish Hunter compiled 210 wins before turning 32 in 1978.

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.