Athletics

Pratt's Instant Replay: Angels 4, A's 0

837393.jpg

Pratt's Instant Replay: Angels 4, A's 0

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- Jered Weaver has collected a win in his last nine starts. His latest victim - the Oakland A's. Weaver's winning streak is the second longest in Major League Baseball this season (R.A. Dickey, 11). The Angels ace tormented the A's bats over nine innings of shutout ball.With the A's 4-0 loss they are now in third place in the American League West and they don't hold either of the two A.L. Wild Card spots.At the PlateThe A's couldn't muster any offense against Weaver. He faced the minimum twelve hitters through the first four innings striking out nine.Coco Crisp did a good job battling Weaver in a 10-pitch at-bat. Weaver finally got Crisp to ground out to shortstop Eric Aybar after Crisp wasted about an inning worth of Weaver's bullets.Brandon Inge collected half of the A's hits against Weaver. He hit a single in the third inning and smacked Oakland's only extra-base hit of the evening. Derek Norris was the only non-Brandon to collect a hit off Weaver, as Brandon Moss hit a single in the fifth.Starting Pitching ReportJarrod Parker started the game by plunking Mike Trout who stole second base and promptly advanced to third on a fly out. The A's dodged a bullet though when Albert Pujols hit a one-hopper straight to Brandon Inge who caught Trout in a rundown between third and home.In the second inning Kendry Morales led off with a double off the high portion of the right field wall. Josh (Spider-man) Reddick attempted to scale the wall to make the catch but just missed it. Parker retired the next two hitters, getting the inning's second out on a perfect slider to strike out Howie Kendrick swinging. The next three batters hit two-out singles though, giving the Angels a 2-0 lead.Parker really settled down over the next four innings facing one batter over the minimum. He got in trouble again in the seventh inning after allowing back-to-back singles, after which he was able to get Trout to ground out, but both runners moved over on the play. With two outs he faced Torii Hunter in what would be the biggest at-bat of the game. Hunter singled up the middle on a 1-2 slider that was left up in the zone, the hit drove in both runners making the score 4-0. That would end Parker's night.Parker ended up with four earned runs over six and one-third innings pitched. He allowed nine hits and walked one batter, striking out six Angels.Fresh off a trip to the disabled list Erick Aybar went 3 for 3 against Parker.Bullpen ReportPat Neshek entered in relief of Parker with two outs in the seventh. He skimmed Albert Pujols' jersey on an inside pitch giving him a free trip to first base. The righty with the funky delivery then struck out Mark Trumbo swinging to end the seventh inning.Pedro Figueroa tossed two scoreless innings. He struck out two batters and only allowed one hit.In the FieldTrout hit a ball into the right field gap that Reddick fielded before firing the ball to second base. Trout attempted to stretch his single into a double and was out at second by a fingertip as Sogard's glove skimmed across the top of Trout's fingers on the swipe tag. Trout was livid after the play. Mike Scoscia had to separate his young player and second base umpire Bill Miller.Reddick's 13 outfield assists now lead Major League Baseball. The last A's outfielder to have 13 assists was Matt Stairs in 1999.AttendanceThe A's announced an attendance of 13,341.Dot RaceBlue wins the dot race. Don't tell me you thought Red would win with the Angels in town.Up NextThe A's will send Bartolo Colon (8-8, 3.55 ERA) to the mound. Colon will be making his 22nd start of the season. He hasn't allowed a run in his last 16 and two-thirds innings pitched.He will be opposed by C.J. Wilson (9-7, 3.27 ERA). Wilson hasn't won a game since June 26. That is a span of seven starts.

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

marcell-ozuna-marlins-ap.jpg
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?

khris-davis-funnylook-usatsi.jpg
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.