Second half for A's: Out with the old, in with the new

Second half for A's: Out with the old, in with the new

SEATTLE — When the A’s return from the four-day All-Star break, it’s anyone’s guess as to how long their roster will remain intact.

The July 31 trade deadline is just over three weeks away, and it’s a given that some veterans will be exiting Oakland. But the second-half storyline will revolve around the development of the many young players that will continue to command playing time.

“I like where we’re trending,” manager Bob Melvin said before a 4-0 loss to the Mariners closed out the first half. “I like the fact that a lot of the guys that we’ve been looking forward to getting at some point are here now, and are performing well. … I think there’s a certain energy to having these guys here.”

A couple of those young players factored into the storyline Sunday, as the A’s settled for a four-game split with Seattle. Right-hander Daniel Gossett was steamed at himself for lasting just 4 1/3 innings and leaving so much work for his bullpen. His challenge is keeping the ball in the ballpark, having given up eight homers over his first six starts. Nelson Cruz got to him for a two-run shot in the fourth.

“Just overall frustrating,” said Gossett, 24. “It’s the same thing — giving up the homer and throwing the pitch I can’t throw. I had one job with the curve ball, and it was not leaving it up.”

Fellow rookie Matt Chapman is having big-time difficulties at the plate, off to a 5-for-38 start (.132) with 20 strikeouts in 11 games. But the third baseman made one of the best plays by an A’s infielder this season, going into foul territory to backhand Cruz’s grounder and making a terrific off-balance throw across the diamond to easily retire him.

“It’s fun to watch, I’ll tell you that much,” second baseman Jed Lowrie said. “To make a throw like that, as strong as he made it running away from the base and putting it right on the money, it’s pretty impressive.”

Lowrie is one of those veterans who isn’t likely to wear green and gold much longer. He’d have value for a contending team as a switch hitter with defensive versatility, and the A’s need to open up second base for top prospect Franklin Barreto.

“It’s a part of the game,” Lowrie said. “I’m certainly aware of what’s being said. I just try to take advantage of the opportunity that I’m given here and see where that takes me.”

Four young players — none of them with more than a year-and-a-half of big league experience — are playing regularly for Oakland right now: Chapman, catcher Bruce Maxwell, designated hitter Ryon Healy and center fielder Jaycob Brugman. Barreto will join them soon, and utility man Chad Pinder is expected back from a hamstring injury in the next few weeks. Matt Olson, a first baseman/outfield at Triple-A, also factors into the mix.

It was interesting to hear Melvin say Pinder might be a consideration for center field duty in the second half. That suggests that perhaps Rajai Davis might not be long for the A’s either.

Veteran reliever Sean Doolittle, a potential trade chip as well, knows it’s the reality when a team is stuck in last place and has a history of being a seller.

“It’d be naive to say it’s not something guys are aware of, but you try not to think about it,” Doolittle said. “There’s a good group in here, man, and you try to enjoy coming to the field every day. Everybody that puts this uniform on knows what could potentially happen.”


Report: A's agree to deal with familiar veteran pitcher


Report: A's agree to deal with familiar veteran pitcher

On the same day the Oakland A's learned they'd be without Jharel Cotton all season, they reportedly reached an agreement with a familiar face to bolster their pitching depth. 

Oakland agreed to a one-year, Major League deal with Trevor Cahill pending the results of a physical, according to's Jane Lee. 

Cahill, a 2006 A's second-round draft pick, pitched for Oakland from 2009-11. He started 96 games in three seasons with the A's, going 40-35 with a 3.91 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. Since Oakland traded him to the Arizona Diamondbacks in Dec. 2011, Cahill's pitched for six teams. 

The 30-year-old won a World Series ring with the Chicago Cubs in 2016, and pitched for the San Diego Padres and Kansas City Royals last season. In 2017, he went 4-3 in 21 appearances (14 starts) with a 4.93 ERA and 1.62 WHIP. 

A's Jharel Cotton to undergo Tommy John surgery, miss 2018 season


A's Jharel Cotton to undergo Tommy John surgery, miss 2018 season

The A's will be without starting pitcher Jharel Cotton for the entire 2018 season as he is set to undergo Tommy John surgery. 

Cotton, 26, went 9-10 with a 5.58 ERA in 2017 after a rookie season in which he went 2-0 with a 2.15 ERA in five starts. Leading up to the injury, he was 0-1 with a 3.75 ERA over four appearances in spring training.

Watch Cotton react to the news: