Athletics

Report: Barton, A's agree on one-year deal

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Report: Barton, A's agree on one-year deal

OAKLAND -- No player elicits a stronger reaction amongst the A's fan base than Daric Barton. So the San Francisco Chronicle's report that he has signed a one-year deal in advance of Major League Baseball's deadline to tender contracts naturally set the A's-osphere abuzz. Barton, 27, was under team control and eligible for arbitration. While he was considered a possible non-tender candidate, his potential return shouldn't come as much of a surprise. The A's have shown a lot of faith in the young first baseman throughout the years, and he might not see the sum of that one-year deal if he doesn't earn a job this spring because the contract is not guaranteed money. In a sense, it is Barton's final opportunity to try and recapture a job with the A's, live up to the hype he had as a top prospect, and back up the success he had in his 2010 season. During the A's stretch run, Barton was used primarily as a defensive replacement at first base. He didn't make the A's playoff roster. With Chris Carter and Brandon Moss at first base, it will be tough for Barton to crack the roster and earn the reported 1.1 million dollars he signed for. So, in short, the move isn't worth the wide-spread panic or criticism it netted online. In 2010, Barton led the American League with 110 walks, hit 10 home runs, and had 57 RBIs. Since then, he has 79 walks, one homer, and 27 RBIs. Barton has received ample opportunity to once again find his way in Green and Gold. Part of the vitriol the A's fans have for him is because he was given more chances than most; this might be his last. The A's have already signed pitcher Pat Neshek to a one-year contract, and after the Barton news becomes official Oakland will have five more players that are arbitration eligible. Those players all need to be tendered a contract by midnight Eastern time tonight. Jerry Blevins, George Kottaras, Brandon Moss, Adam Rosales, and Seth Smith are the remaining players.

Oakland also announced that pitcher Jim Miller has been claimed on waivers by the New York Yankees. Miller was designated for assignment on Nov. 20. The right-handed pitcher was 2-1 with a 2.59 ERA in four stints with the A's in 2012. Miller and Brandon Moss were the two most talkative guys in the A's clubhouse last season. Their clubhouse stalls were next to each other and it was hard to talk to one of the two without the other chiming in. Together they provided lots of entertaining exchanges.

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.