Bruce Maxwell

Potential court trial for A's catcher Bruce Maxwell set for April

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AP

Potential court trial for A's catcher Bruce Maxwell set for April

A potential court trial for A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell has been scheduled for April, which would take Maxwell away from the team during the regular season if his felony case in Arizona makes it that far.

There remains a strong possibility, however, that Maxwell agrees to a plea deal and avoids a trial for his October arrest on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct in Scottsdale.

Maxwell’s initial pretrial conference took place Thursday morning in Maricopa County Superior Court. According to a court spokesperson, there was discussion of a possible settlement conference in the near future in the hopes of avoiding a trial.

Maxwell’s next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 29. His pretrial conference would be April 3 with the actual trial date April 10. There’s no indication of when the potential settlement conference would take place, but a plea deal can happen anytime leading up to the trial.

Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery driver who arrived at his home with an order on Oct. 28.

The A’s report to spring training in mid-February and open the regular season March 29 at home against the Los Angeles Angels.

They don’t appear poised to add any catching help as insurance. General manager David Forst has expressed confidence that Maxwell will be with the team when spring camp begins.

“We’re expecting Bruce to be ready to go the first day of spring training and to be with us,” Forst said during the winter meetings. “I’m not getting involved in the legal side of this, but no one has said anything to me that makes me believe he won’t be ready to go.”

The A’s have two other catchers besides Maxwell, Dustin Garneau and Josh Phegley, on their 40-man roster. They also have a highly regarded prospect behind the plate in Sean Murphy, though he has yet to play above Double-A ball.

Bruce Maxwell enters plea on assault and disorderly conduct charges

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Scottsdale PD

Bruce Maxwell enters plea on assault and disorderly conduct charges

A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell pleaded not guilty in superior court Tuesday to charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct in Arizona.

An initial pretrial conference is scheduled for Dec. 28, with a comprehensive pretrial conference set for Jan. 29. A plea deal presumably could be worked out before the felony case ever makes it to trial.

Maxwell was arrested Oct. 28 in Scottsdale after he allegedly pointed a gun at a delivery driver who was bringing food to his home. According to police reports, Maxwell showed signs of intoxication when officers showed up, used profanity and made anti-police statements during his arrest.

The A’s have not commented on Maxwell’s legal troubles since issuing a press statement the day after his arrest, which said the team was gathering information from authorities and withholding further comment.

In Arizona, an assault-with-a-deadly-weapon charge can carry a sentence of anywhere from five to 15 years in prison, though several factors are considered that could bring a less severe punishment, including whether the defendant has any prior criminal history.

Regardless of how the legal process plays out, Maxwell could be subject to punishment either from the A’s or Major League Baseball. It’s also unknown how, or if, this incident will affect Maxwell’s roster status with Oakland.

In September he became the first and so far only Major League player to kneel for the pregame national anthem, in protest of racial and social injustice. Before his arrest in October, A’s officials said they viewed Maxwell as their primary catcher looking ahead to 2018. With just one year of major league service time, Maxwell is on a year-to-year contract with Oakland right now and would make in the neighborhood of the major league minimum next season. Therefore, there’s no financial downside for the club were it to cut ties with Maxwell. But such a move certainly would spur the A’s to look for outside catching help.

Josh Phegley and Dustin Garneau are the only other catchers on the 40-man roster. Both hit right-handed and would probably best be used as part of a platoon.

There are some quality veteran catchers available in free agency, including Jonathan Lucroy, Alex Avila (who, like Maxwell, bats left-handed) and Welington Castillo.

The A’s could also explore a trade for a catcher. The switch-hitting Yasmani Grandal, who figures to at least be shopped by the Los Angeles Dodgers, would be an attractive target, though he hits free agency after next season.

The A’s have a catching prospect they think highly of in Sean Murphy, but considering Murphy split last season between Single-A and Double-A ball, he probably isn’t a candidate to make the big league club out 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.