Athletics

Beau Taylor's first major league home run sparks A's blowout vs. Orioles

Beau Taylor's first major league home run sparks A's blowout vs. Orioles

Last September, A's catcher Beau Taylor was so excited to get his first career major league hit, he tripped over first base on his way to second.

On a chilly night at the Coliseum on Tuesday, Taylor just wanted to avoid doing the same thing on his first career major league home run.

"I kind of blew at it trying to get it to go,” Taylor told The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser following Oakland's 16-2 rout of the Orioles. “I was thinking, ‘Touch the base. Touch second, touch third. OK, you did good.’ Home plate was easy."

Taylor successfully completed his trip around the bases after launching a solo homer to center field in the bottom of the third inning off Baltimore starter Gabriel Ynoa. It proved to be the first of many for the A's, who took full advantage of an Orioles staff that has struggled mightily with the long ball. 

Ramon Laureano pounded a three-run homer in the fourth. Robbie Grossman's two-run shot in the sixth was followed by three-run bombs from Khris Davis and Stephen Piscotty, respectively, for Oakland's first 10-run inning at the Coliseum in nearly 23 years. And in the seventh, Chad Pinder pinch-hit for Matt Chapman and promptly deposited a two-run homer in the left field bleachers.

The six home runs were the most the A's hit in a single game since June 17, 2008, at Arizona, and their most at the Coliseum since Sept. 11, 2003.

"We’ve got the ability to do that,” Bob Melvin said of his team's penchant for the long ball. “Got some good counts, got some good swings and on a night where early on it didn’t look the ball was going anywhere, we ended up squaring a few up."

It certainly didn't hurt matters that the A's were facing Baltimore, as the Orioles have now given up a league-leading 147 home runs in 73 games this season, well on pace to break the MLB record of 258 given up by the Reds in 2016.

[RELATED: How Semien has thrived as A's leadoff hitter this season]

After struggling against last-place teams as of late, it was a promising sign to see the A's pile on against an inferior opponent Tuesday night. If they can continue hitting homers in bunches, they're bound to open up some breathing room between themselves and the .500 mark.

Why A's should either trade or non-tender All-Star Blake Treinen

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Why A's should either trade or non-tender All-Star Blake Treinen

Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine 10 A's players who may or may not return to Oakland next season. For each player, we will provide reasons why the A's should bring him back and reasons why they should not, followed by a final determination.

Blake Treinen, RHP

Contract: Final year of arbitration (projected to get $7.8 million after earning $6.4 million this season)

Reasons to bring him back

In 2018, Blake Treinen enjoyed one of the greatest seasons in MLB history. The right-hander went 9-2 with 38 saves and a 0.78 ERA, notching 100 strikeouts in 80 1/3 innings.

Unfortunately, Treinen followed that up with the worst season of his career, going 6-5 with a 4.91 ERA in 2019, ultimately losing the closer job to Liam Hendriks. Still, Treinen's stuff looked dominant at times and he could certainly bounce back in 2020.

Treinen is still just 31 years old and should have some productive years ahead of him. His fastball averaged 97 mph this season with explosive movement. If he can improve his command, Treinen could still be a productive reliever moving forward.

Reasons to let him go

Treinen is coming off an incredibly disappointing season. He entered the year as one of the top closers in baseball, but quickly lost his closer job due to injury and poor performance.

Treinen's 4.91 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, and 5.14 FIP were all career worsts, as were his 37 walks in just 58 2/3 innings. He saw his season come to a premature end when an MRI revealed a stress reaction in his back. And pitchers and back injuries don't mix well (see: Marco Estrada). Tendering Treinen a contract would be a major risk.

Final verdict

Treinen could very well return to being an effective relief pitcher, but the A's can't afford to take that chance for nearly $8 million. That money would be better spent on multiple relievers to help shore up the team's shaky bullpen.

[RELATED: A's stay or go candidate for 2020 season: Jake Diekman]

Between Treinen's on-field struggles and the injury concerns, Oakland would be better off seeking an offseason trade of its former All-Star closer. If the A's can't get a deal done, look for a non-tender.

Why Jake Diekman's command issues could mean A's move on in offseason

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Why Jake Diekman's command issues could mean A's move on in offseason

Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine 10 A's players who might or might not return to Oakland next season. For each player, we will provide reasons why the A's should bring him back and reasons why they should not, followed by a final determination.

Jake Diekman, LHP

Contract: $5.75 million mutual option for 2020 ($500,000 buyout)

Reasons to bring him back

Diekman's stuff is undeniable. The 32-year-old left-hander boasts a 96-mph fastball along with a wicked slider, making him a tricky at-bat for right-handed and left-handed hitters alike.

Despite a 1-7 record and 4.65 ERA this season, Diekman notched 84 strikeouts in just 62 innings. For his career, he has averaged 11.2 punchouts per nine innings.

Another reason to keep Diekman is Oakland's lack of left-handed relievers. Jesús Luzardo and A.J. Puk both figure to move to the starting rotation next year and Ryan Buchter's return is far from certain. As a result, Diekman could be the only southpaw in the A's bullpen.

Reasons to let him go

While Diekman's strikeout numbers were highly impressive, his lack of command became a major issue down the stretch. He walked 39 batters this season, including 16 in 20 1/3 innings with the A's.

That contributed significantly to Diekman's disappointing 1.42 WHIP and 4.65 ERA. For $5.75 million, you'd have to think the A's would want someone more consistent and reliable in the late innings.

[RELATED: A's 3B coach Williams will manage in Korea next season]

Final verdict

Oakland is unlikely to bring Diekman back next season for a couple of reasons. Far too often, he just doesn't know where his pitches are going. Throughout his career, Diekman has averaged five walks per nine innings. That's a serious problem for a setup man.

The other factor is Diekman's $5.75 million price tag. That is a high figure for any non-closer, but particularly worrisome for a setup man who has proven to be inconsistent.

The A's would probably be wise to spend that money elsewhere.