Analysis: Odds of A's trading for Miami's Yelich or Ozuna

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USATSI

Analysis: Odds of A's trading for Miami's Yelich or Ozuna

Any time you hear of the A’s entering what looks to be a “quiet” offseason, be suspicious.

Rarely do they sit on their hands and do nothing. Even after an encouraging finish to the 2017 season, with the emergence of several prospects suggesting the team might lay low this winter and stay the course, there are signs that they could be open for serious business.

A report Wednesday from the San Francisco Chronicle suggested the A’s have interest in two of the Miami Marlins’ stud outfielders — Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich. The idea of acquiring either fuels the growing speculation that Oakland is considering trading Ryon Healy, which would allow Khris Davis to slide into the regular DH spot and make room to add a stronger defensive corner outfielder.

The power-hitting Ozuna, who turns 27 on Sunday, is a two-time All-Star who won a Gold Glove in left field this past season, and he’s under team control for two more seasons via arbitration. Yelich is under contract for the next four years at $43.25 million (plus a club option for 2022), a relative steal for a player who slashed .290/.373/.460 combined over the past two seasons and turns just 26 next month.

Given their lean payroll commitments right now, the A’s could absorb the contract of either. More importantly, both are young enough — and cost-controllable enough moving forward — to fit into Oakland’s current rebuilding plan.

So it all makes sense in theory. In reality, the odds of the A’s acquiring Yelich or Ozuna appear steep.

It’s no secret the Marlins are looking to shed salary and restock their farm system under new ownership. The factors that would make either player appeal to the A’s — youth and affordability — also make them appealing to many clubs who have ambitions for contending in 2018 and boast deep farm systems from which to deal. The competition will be fierce. Miami can ask for the moon and no doubt will.

This is where the A’s have to exercise judgement; weigh the pros and cons of a blockbuster deal to land either Ozuna or Yelich. The risk isn’t financial. It comes in the caliber of prospects Oakland would have to fork over. It’s hard to imagine the A’s parting with Matt Chapman, Matt Olson or other foundation pieces who have already shown they are major league contributors (with Healy an exception).

It stands to reason that in any potential deal, Miami would want a chunk of Oakland’s high-end pitching talent in the farm system. And the feeling here is that the A’s shouldn’t part with 6-foot-7 lefty A.J. Puk, their top pitching prospect. They better think long and hard before dealing other highly touted hurlers such as Logan Shore and Grant Holmes too.

The A’s have worked diligently in recent years to acquire the top arms in their farm system, and the past two seasons have shown just how fragile Oakland’s pitching depth can be due to injuries. As things stand in the organization, they can afford to part with some of their top position-player prospects more than their best young pitchers.

But it comes down to what the Marlins demand in return. Either of Miami’s terrific young outfielders would look great in green and gold. But the cost will be huge.

And if the A’s deem the price tag too high, they will pass. Given the encouraging direction they’re going with their current group, maintaining the status quo isn’t such a bad “Plan B” anyway.

Source: A's lose third base coach Chip Hale to Nationals

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AP

Source: A's lose third base coach Chip Hale to Nationals

The manager and coaching carousel around the major leagues is having a trickle-down effect on the A’s staff.

Chip Hale is leaving Oakland to become the bench coach for the Nationals under new Washington manager Dave Martinez, a source confirmed to NBCSportsCalifornia.com. It’s the second departure from Bob Melvin’s staff since the A’s announced a finalized group of coaches in mid-October. Bullpen coach Garvin Alston left Oct. 26 to take a promotion as the Minnesota Twins’ new pitching coach.

Hale was on his second stint with the A’s, sandwiched around a two-year run as the Arizona Diamondbacks’ manager. He was scheduled to shift from Oakland’s bench coach to third-base coach for the upcoming season, so the A’s will need to fill a hole for third-base coaching duties. They previously announced that Triple-A manager Ryan Christenson was being promoted to assume bench coach duties.

At the time the announcement of his staff was made, Melvin stressed that he didn’t consider Hale’s shift from bench coach as a demotion, saying he valued having someone experienced coaching third who was on the same page as him during games. But if Hale has aspirations to again be a big league manager, and he’s indicated all along that he does, taking another job as a bench coach could be the quicker route to making that happen again.

Hale also coached the A's infielders so the team will have to assign someone to fill the role.

So as free agency begins and the A’s consider which pieces they may want to add for their 25-man roster, they also have to find a new third base coach and bullpen coach.

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Outfielder Mark Canha had an arthroscopic procedure to remove a cyst from his right wrist Tuesday at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles. He’s expected to be fully healed and ready by the start of spring training.

Grand jury issues indictment against A's catcher Bruce Maxwell

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Scottsdale PD

Grand jury issues indictment against A's catcher Bruce Maxwell

A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell was indicted by a grand jury in Arizona this week, meaning probable cause was found for his felony case to move forward.

Maxwell faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct stemming from his Oct. 28 arrest in Scottsdale.

His arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday in Maricopa County Superior Court, when Maxwell will be asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.

Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a female driver who came to his door to deliver a food order. The driver called police, and according to police reports, Maxwell showed signs of intoxication during his arrest, used excessive profanity and made “anti-police” statements.

In Arizona, the crime of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon can include a sentence of anywhere from five to 15 years in prison, though many factors are taken into consideration that could bring a much less severe penalty. Regardless of what happens through the legal system, Maxwell could face punishment from Major League Baseball and/or the A’s, including suspension.

The catcher drew attention this past season in becoming the only Major League player so far to kneel during the national anthem, in protest of racial and social injustice. The A’s issued a statement supporting Maxwell in his right to do so, and taking his legal problems out of the equation, he’s considered their primary catcher looking ahead to 2018 as the roster currently stands.