Athletics

2019 A's projections: Marco Estrada should benefit from move to AL West

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2019 A's projections: Marco Estrada should benefit from move to AL West

Editor's note: For the past few weeks, NBC Sports California has been analyzing a different A's player each day to project their numbers for next season.

The A's are counting on Marco Estrada to have a bounceback season in 2019 and stabilize the top of their starting rotation.

Oakland signed the 35-year-old to a one-year, $4 million contract last week despite his struggles last year in Toronto. Estrada went 7-14 with a 5.64 ERA and 1.43 WHIP, striking out 103 and walking 50 in 143 2/3 innings.

But the A's are confident the veteran right-hander can get back to his 2016 form, when he was an All-Star.

"(He) pitched through some back and hip issues and lost a little bit of velocity," said A's general manager David Forst. "But his command is as outstanding as ever. His changeup has always been one of the best pitches in the league."

Added Oakland manager Bob Melvin: "I think a lot of (last year's struggles) had to do with some issues with his back. He was going out there and I think pitching not healthy. He's got such a good changeup and off-speed arsenal. He's a veteran guy who's going to be good for us."

Baseball Reference isn't as optimistic, projecting an 8-10 record with a 4.83 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. They predict Estrada to record 129 strikeouts and 56 walks in 151 innings.

We expect Estrada to perform a bit better than that. He has a career ERA of 4.24 in 11 Major League seasons. The biggest question will be his health. Back issues tend to stick around, especially for pitchers at the age of 35.

According to Forst, Estrada looks and feels great: "We've seen his workouts the last couple of weeks. He says he feels great."

[RELATED: A's counting on Estrada to be top-of-rotation starter]

As previously noted, Estrada's changeup is still highly effective. Getting out of the AL East should certainly help, as will pitching at the Coliseum with a great defense behind him.

Projection: 10-9, 3.91 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 131 K, 52 BB, 162 IP

Mark Canha's bat flip vs. Angels named best of 2019 by MLB Network

Mark Canha's bat flip vs. Angels named best of 2019 by MLB Network

There are two types of people in the world: Those who love bat flips in baseball, and those who are wrong to dislike them. This post is not for the latter.

A's outfielder Mark Canha received some very prestigious honors. He possessed the No. 1 bat flip of the 2019 season according to MLB Network.

During the bottom of the fourth on a 2-1 count against the Angels on March 30, Canha got ahold of a Felix Peña pitch and sent a ball over the fence at the Oakland Coliseum.

It was a beaut:

That's not the best part. It was what he mouthed following the homer that sealed the deal:

[RELATED: Marcus Semien reiterates hopes to stay with A's]

It's bat flippin' season baby -- every season.

That was the best flip of the year which only means the next season brings more competition -- and if you're familiar with Canha's ways -- there will be more flips.

We look forward to that.

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Why blockbuster Corey Kluber trade from Indians to Rangers is bad for A's

Why blockbuster Corey Kluber trade from Indians to Rangers is bad for A's

Teams in the AL West continue to make moves this offseason, while the A's watch from afar. The latest is a two-time Cy Young award winner reportedly joining the Texas Rangers. 

The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Sunday that the Rangers have acquired starting pitcher Corey Kluber from the Cleveland Indians for outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. and pitching prospect Emmanuel Clase. Levi Weaver of The Athletic also reported there are expected to be more players sent to Cleveland. 

Kluber, who turns 34 years old in April, was limited to just seven games last season due to injuries and put up the worst numbers of his eight-year career in limited innings. But when healthy, the right-hander still is one of the best arms in all of baseball. 

Prior to Kluber's injury-riddled 2019, he had averaged 31 starts per year and 206 innings pitched from 2013 to '18. In that six-year span, he also averaged 227 strikeouts and only 43 walks. 

The Rangers now have added Kluber, Jordan Lyles and Kyle Gibson to their rotation this offseason. As they move into their new stadium, the Rangers are expected to continue making moves, too. 

[RELATED: Three biggest winners, losers from MLB Winter Meetings]

Adding Kluber clearly is a positive for the Rangers, but it's another negative for the A's. He has a 2.29 career ERA against Oakland in nine appearances -- eight starts -- but now will face them much more in 2020. 

While the A's are more focused on keeping their young core intact long-term, the Angels added star third baseman Anthony Rendon and the Rangers traded for Kluber. The AL West has been owned by the Astros and A's in recent seasons, but the rest of the division is coming for them.