Athletics

A's trade former 2B prospect Joey Wendle, who never got a chance to blossom

A's trade former 2B prospect Joey Wendle, who never got a chance to blossom

The A’s swung a trade on the first day of the Winter Meetings, but it wasn’t the type of swap that’s been anticipated.

Oakland dealt second baseman Joey Wendle to the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday for a player to be named later or cash considerations. The storyline for the rest of the week is whether the A’s complete a deal for their biggest target— a right-handed hitting corner outfielder.

They weren’t involved in heavy dialogue Monday as the four-day Winter Meetings opened at the Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Fla. But they’re on the lookout for an outfielder that will allow them to shift Khris Davis from left field to designated hitter.

Billy Beane, the A’s head of baseball operations, reiterated to reporters that the team ideally wants to acquire an outfielder who’s under team control for multiple years. The Cardinals’ Stephen Piscotty fits that bill and is known to be a primary target, but the A’s have been linked to others too, including Miami’s Marcell Ozuna.

If a trade doesn’t pan out, Beane didn’t rule out the possibility of signing a free agent outfielder, but the focus is trading for one who’s signed to an affordable contract. Beyond that, the A’s seek a left-handed reliever to continue fortifying a bullpen they’ve already added to this offseason.

“We were pretty specific with who and what we want, whether it be a free agent or a trade,” Beane said of the team’s approach to the meetings. “There’s a few free agents we have interest in, a trade here and there. And if we don’t get them, we’ll just wait for the offseason” to continue.

Wendle, who saw slices of big league time in 2016 and 2017, was originally acquired from Cleveland for Brandon Moss during the 2014 Winter Meetings. He drew some comparisons to Mark Ellis for both his style of play and work ethic but found himself blocked at second base despite an impressive big league debut in September 2016.

He hit .260 that month in 28 games, and though that average doesn’t stand out, he impressed defensively and proved to be a spark plug hitting leadoff, drawing praise from manager Bob Melvin. But a shoulder injury cost the 27-year-old Wendle valuable time in spring training last season and extended into the regular season. It didn’t help his cause that Chad Pinder emerged as a second base option and valuable utility man, and that Franklin Barreto — the A’s top-rated prospect — also arrived on the big league scene for stretches.

In addition, the A’s think highly of another up-and-coming second base prospect, Max Schrock. Acquired from Washington for reliever Marc Rzepczynski in August 2016, the 23-year-old Schrock opened the eyes of Melvin’s staff last spring and hit .321 for Double-A Midland in 2017.

Jed Lowrie, of course, is the A’s veteran incumbent at second base but is a logical trade candidate at any point given Barreto’s inevitable full-time arrival in the majors.

A's overcome multiple five-run deficits, walk off on White Sox in 14-inning marathon

A's overcome multiple five-run deficits, walk off on White Sox in 14-inning marathon

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- Tired as he was, Matt Olson had enough left to get the ball past the outfielders and end the third-longest game by time in Oakland Athletics history.

Olson singled over left fielder Nicky Delmonico to drive in Marcus Semien with two outs in the 14th and the A's beat the Chicago White Sox 12-11 in a wild game that lasted nearly six hours Wednesday.

"That was awesome to be in that long of a game, kind of back and forth," Olson said. "It was just like a heavyweight fight. We kept trading blows the whole game and then finally at the end we were able to get that one."

The teams combined for 555 pitches, 33 hits and 18 walks -12 by Chicago pitchers - in a game that lasted 5 hours and 48 minutes. The White Sox fell to 4-11, matching their worst start since 1997.

The A's trailed 6-1, 9-4 and 10-8, then gave up a tying run in the ninth before scoring the winning run off James Shields(1-1) five innings later.

"You really want it to end and guys have a tendency to want to be that guy to hit a home run," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "Sometimes that's why those games go a little bit longer is you don't have your typical approach. But we did in the last inning."

Semien singled with two outs in the 14th and stole second. After Shields walked Jed Lowrie and Khris Davis, Olson lined an 0-1 pitch deep to left, and Delmonico watched it go over his head.

"The longer the game went on the better I felt at the plate," Olson said of his first career game-ending hit. "It's one of those where you just need to find a way to push one across."

Lou Trivino (1-0) pitched three innings for his first major league win. He made his big league debut in a 10-2 win over Chicago on Tuesday.

Both bullpens got depleted. Shields was scheduled to start against Houston on Friday but instead became the 10th pitcher used by White Sox manager Rick Renteria.

The A's were down to their last reliever and even had outfielder Jake Smolinski warming up to pitch at one point.

"This game was the sign of a true fight," Renteria said. "It's a relentless effort to continually try and win every inning. Ultimately we go with James at the end."

Olson finished with four hits and three RBIs, Lowrie also drove in three and Mark Canha homered to help the A's complete the three-game sweep of the White Sox. Stephen Piscotty added two hits to extend his hitting streak to eight games.

"To keep battling through those extra innings, knowing it's approaching five hours, approaching six hours, shows a lot about the character of the guys on this team," Piscotty said.

Chicago lost its fourth straight despite a big day by leadoff hitter Yoan Moncada. Moncada hit his first career grand slam, scored three times and matched his career high of four RBIs.

BRUTAL START:
Neither starter made it out of the second inning. Oakland's Andrew Triggs retired four batters and allowed six runs on five hits with a hit batter. The right-hander had yielded five runs total in his first three starts. Carson Fulmer of the White Sox allowed a run in the first then gave up Canha's leadoff home run in the second followed by a single and two walks before getting pulled.

"We were both pretty lousy and the results showed it," Triggs said.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
White Sox: Kevan Smith (sprained left ankle) went 2 for 5 with two RBIs as part of his rehab stint with Triple-A Charlotte.

UP NEXT:
White Sox: Shields was scheduled to pitch against Houston on Friday in Chicago but that could change. Renteria said a decision has not been made yet.

Athletics: RHP Kendall Graveman (0-3, 9.87 ERA) pitches the opener of a three-game series against Boston on Friday at the Coliseum. Graveman has allowed four runs or more in each of his four starts this season.

Trevor Cahill turns back the clock in one-sided A's win on 50th anniversary night

Trevor Cahill turns back the clock in one-sided A's win on 50th anniversary night

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OAKLAND -- Jed Lowrie marked his 34th birthday with a go-ahead home run in a five-run first inning, Trevor Cahill pitched seven scoreless innings in his season debut and the Oakland Athletics beat the Chicago White Sox 10-2 Tuesday night on the 50th anniversary of the A's first game at the Coliseum.

Stephen Piscotty and Jonathan Lucroy drove in three runs apiece, and Mark Canha added three hits and two RBIs. Oakland extended its winning streak to three with its first series win this season.

The game was played exactly 50 years after the A's debut at the Coliseum following their move from Kansas City, and it attracted a crowd of 46,028. Admission and parking were free, and players from both teams wore 1968 replica uniforms. The atmosphere was markedly different from a night earlier, when the announced attendance was 7,479 and the actual crowd appeared to be half that.

Cahill (1-0) signed in mid-March, made a pair of starts in the minor leagues and was brought up Tuesday for his first big league start since Aug. 9. He gave up five hits, struck out eight and walked two.

Now 30, the right-hander was a second-round draft pick of the A's in 2006 and spent his first three big league seasons in Oakland. He split time with Kansas City and San Diego last year and ended the season as a Royals reliever.

Yoan Moncada homered for Chicago, which has lost seven of eight.

Lowrie hit a two-out solo homer off Miguel Gonzalez (0-3), Lowrie's first home run in Oakland this season. He is batting .351 and leads the AL with 26 hits and 18 RBIs.

Canha hit a bases-loaded, two-run bloop single and Piscotty had a two-run double.

Lucroy added a two-run single in the fourth and an RBI single in the seventh.

Gonzalez gave up eight runs and eight hits in three innings, raising his ERA to 12.41.

TRAINER'S ROOM

White Sox: OF Ryan Cordell, acquired from Milwaukee last season for RHP Anthony Swarzak, fractured his right clavicle during a minor league game and will miss at least eight weeks.

Athletics: RHP Yusmeiro Petit was placed on the family medical emergency list. OF Trayce Thompson was designated for assignment, and RHP Lou Trivino was recalled from Triple-A Nashville.

UP NEXT

RHP Carson Fulmer (0-1, 4.66 ERA) is to take the mound for the White Sox in his first start at the Coliseum in the finale of this three-game series Wednesday. RHP Andrew Triggs (1-0, 2.87) goes for the A's.