Athletics

Beane, Forst in for long haul with A's after promotions

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Beane, Forst in for long haul with A's after promotions

OAKLAND – Billy Beane and David Forst received promotions within the A’s power structure Monday, moves that involve a change in title more so than a major change in responsibilities.

Beane slides into the role of executive vice president of baseball operations, with Forst, his longtime assistant, taking over as the general manager. It follows a growing trend in the hierarchy of major league teams, with the Giants having made a similar move with Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans in April.

“This sort of makes public how we’ve been operating,” Beane said in an informal media session at the Coliseum. “David has a lot of autonomy, he had it before, he’ll continue to have that. It’s a promotion he deserves and we want to make sure we can keep David here with the A’s.”

That indicates Beane, 53, -- probably the majors’ most famous front office executive thanks to the movie “Moneyball” -- will remain the lead man in the A’s baseball business. But he pointed out how much he’s shared the heavy lifting in recent years with the 39-year-old Forst, a Harvard grad who just completed his 16th season with the organization and had been an assistant general manager for the past 12.

Dan Kantrovitz, who also holds an assistant GM title and recently interviewed for the Milwaukee Brewers’ GM position, is the No. 3 man in charge of baseball operations.

Michael Crowley remains the A’s president, in charge of the business side. Both he and Beane hold small ownership stakes in the team.

[RELATED: A's announce front office promotions for Beane, Forst]

One change Beane does see in his day-to-day duties – he wants to be more heavily involved in the draft and player development process. The A’s hold the sixth pick in the June draft, their highest draft position since 1998, when they took Mark Mulder with the No. 2 overall selection.

After a 68-94 finish this season that ties for the fourth-worst in Oakland history, the A’s are shifting their focus to upgrading the farm system and planning for the future, a process that really began with the trades of Scott Kazmir, Tyler Clippard and Ben Zobrist in July.

“To be honest, I’d like to be more involved than I have been the last few years as it relates to the draft and player development,” Beane said. “When Brian did the same thing in San Francisco I think he felt the same way. That’s sort of the grass roots of the business. After a while you get separated from it and you like to re-connect with it. Those areas are going to be critical for us.”

Forst long has been highly regarded in major league circles, and his name often has been connected with prior GM openings around the game. He has stuck with the A’s, gradually taking on more responsibility within the front office. It helps that Forst and his wife, Rebe, who have two young children, love the Bay Area.

“Billy brought me in and from Day 1 included me in everything, and every opportunity that has come up, it’s always come back to the fact that I wanted to be here,” Forst said. “Working for (owners) Lew (Wolff) and John (Fisher), working with Billy, for Mike, it’s what I always wanted. My family loves it here. I’m thrilled to have this happen, to know I’m gonna be here for a while.”

They’ve each cultivated their own relationships with executives from other teams when it comes to trade talks, to the point where Forst knows some GMs around the game better than Beane does.

“I know he was in some cases the No. 1 (target for other GM openings), and had he put his hat in the ring he would have received the positions in previous years,” Beane said.

Khris Davis contract extension 'an ongoing conversation' with A's

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USATSI

Khris Davis contract extension 'an ongoing conversation' with A's

LAS VEGAS -- While the A's focus at the 2018 MLB Winter Meetings understandably is on free agents, they haven't forgotten about their most valuable player.

Khris Davis is set to become a free agent after next season, and A's general manager David Forst said Monday that the team still is discussing a contract extension.

"It continues to be an ongoing conversation," he said. "Khris is going to be here in 2019 no matter what, so the sense of urgency right now is making sure we build the rest of the roster. But Khris is a huge priority for us, and that conversation is always ongoing."

Davis earned a team-high $10.5 million last season, and he's expected to receive a major raise in arbitration. MLB Trade Rumors projects the number to be $18.1 million.

While completing next year's roster is the focus right now, Forst has made it clear to Davis that he is a top priority.

"His representatives know," Forst said. "Not that much time has passed since the last time I talked to Khris' representatives. So it is constantly ongoing."

Davis, 30, has recorded 40 or more home runs and 100 or more RBI in each of his last three seasons, joining Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx as the only two players in A's history to accomplish the feat. Since 2016, Davis leads all of baseball with 133 homers.

"I envision myself winning a championship in Oakland," Davis told NBC Sports California last season. "We've got a great group of guys I like to be around and just grow with them on a daily basis. I like where I'm at right now."

MLB rumors: Jonathan Lucroy, A's far apart in contract negotiations

MLB rumors: Jonathan Lucroy, A's far apart in contract negotiations

LAS VEGAS -- A's general manager David Forst said the team definitely will add another catcher this offseason, but it's looking like it might not be 2018 starter Jonathan Lucroy.

Lucroy and the A's are far apart on potential salary figures, The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser reported Monday, citing sources. According to Slusser, the 32-year-old would accept a one-year deal for the right price, but the A's are offering under $5 million, and he wants more than that.

Lucroy earned $6.5 million from the A's last season, but Spotrac lists his current market value at just $2.3 million because of his subpar offensive numbers. He slashed .241/.291/.325 with four home runs and 51 RBI in 126 games.

Of course, Lucroy's value goes far beyond his offensive production. Last season, he helped Oakland's pitching staff navigate through numerous injuries, and he provided stellar defense behind the plate. Lucroy led the majors in runners caught stealing, though he also allowed the most stolen bases.

[RELATED: A's staying patient in pitching pursuit as MLB Winter Meetings begin]

Lucroy has shown he is willing to be patient in free agency. He didn't sign with the A's until March last offseason. But this year's catcher market is much deeper, and he could struggle to get his desired salary from anyone.

Some of the other free-agent options at catcher include Wilson Ramos, Yasmani Grandal, Martin Maldonado, James McCann, Matt Wieters and Nick Hundley. The A's also could pursue a catcher via trade.

Currently, Josh Phegley is the only catcher on Oakland's 40-man roster, though the A's have Sean Murphy and Beau Taylor under contract in the minors.