Athletics

Breaking down A's projected contract arbitration salaries for 2019

Breaking down A's projected contract arbitration salaries for 2019

The A's have several key players eligible for arbitration this offseason. Each year, MLB Trade Rumors projects arbitration salaries for every team. Here are the numbers they project for Oakland in 2019...

Khris Davis - $18.1 million

When you lead all of baseball in home runs, you're obviously going to get paid. The A's were able to avoid arbitration with Davis last season, agreeing to a one-year, $10.5 million deal. They will try to do the same this offseason, but whatever the number is, Oakland will happily pay it. Davis has earned every penny.

Mike Fiers - $9.7 million

Fiers earned $6 million in 2018, so this would represent more than a 60 percent raise for the right-hander. Whatever the number ends up being, the A's will have a hard time letting Fiers go, especially with all the injuries they are still dealing in their starting rotation.

Marcus Semien - $6.6 million

Semien put together a stellar all-around season, improving his defense tremendously. This number would be more than double his $3.125 million salary in 2018, but the A's will likely pay it.

Blake Treinen - $5.8 million

This is the no-brainer of all no-brainers. Treinen had one of the greatest seasons by any closer in baseball history, while earning just $2.15 million. The A's will pay whatever the number ends up being.

Sean Manaea - $3.8 million

Unfortunately, Manaea is expected to miss most, if not all of the 2019 season as he recovers from shoulder surgery. Nonetheless, the A's will keep their ace around and hope he comes back as strong ever.

Kendall Graveman - $2.5 million

Graveman underwent Tommy John surgery in August, meaning he won't be able to pitch until 2020, when he is 29 years old. The right-hander was Oakland's Opening Day starter this season but struggled right from the get-go. It may be time for the A's to part ways with Graveman.

Chris Hatcher - $2.4 million

Hatcher struggled in limited action this season. It would be hard to imagine him returning to Oakland.

Cory Gearrin - $2.4 million

The A's have a deep enough bullpen where they can probably let Gearrin walk for this number.

Liam Hendriks - $2.1 million

Despite a rough outing in the Wild Card Game, Hendriks was terrific in the month of September. The A's could very well bring him back for this number, which is just $200k more than his $1.9 million salary in 2018.

Mark Canha - $2.1 million

The A's have a crowded outfield, but Canha provided some serious power against left-handed pitching, while earning just $547,500. For just a shade over $2 million, he will likely be back next season.

Chris Bassitt - $1.6 million

Bassitt provided nice depth in the rotation when the A's were hit with the injury bug, but he spent most of the season in the minor leagues. He seems unlikely to be back for this number.

Ryan Buchter - $1.3 million

This would be a bargain for Buchter, who did a great job as Oakland's lone left-handed reliever for most of the season. He only earned $555k in his first season with the A's, making his 2.75 ERA even more impressive.

Josh Phegley - $1.2 million

Phegley proved more than capable of being a solid backup catcher. He earned $905k this past season, and a raise to $1.2 million seems reasonable.

Ryan Dull - $900k

Dull bounced up and down between the minors and majors, but primarily struggled at the big league level. He likely won't return.

Jake Smolinski - $800k

Smolinski was not a factor for the A's and is unlikely to return.

Mike Fiers putting Astros cheating scandal behind him, moving forward

Mike Fiers putting Astros cheating scandal behind him, moving forward

Mike Fiers arrived at the A’s media availability on Zoom Tuesday wearing a hoodie and removed his facemask -- but it wasn’t the one he had made for the team sporting his infamous facial hair.

The facial hair caused national attention, and that spotlight is something the A’s veteran pitcher is used to. He was the one who held the national spotlight after unearthing the Houston Astros of their cheating ways back in November. Fiers revealed in an interview with The Athletic last year that his former team would steal signs electronically during their 2017 World Series run. 

He’s ready to move on from that now, however.

“Yeah, we’re not worried about that,” Fiers told reporters on Tuesday. “We’re focused on us as the A’s -- there are a lot more teams than Houston.”

“Right now, if we’re worried about that, we’re thinking in the wrong thought process going forward. We’re trying to get ready for the season, we know what we have to do to do that. Being out here, competing, practicing together and getting everything right for Day 1.”

The A’s will play the Astros this season, as they usually do, but this time around, it will feel quite different. The combination of no fans in the stands and months going by could make it feel strange.

“Maybe, I don’t know,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter -- I guess it’s not something to think about, like I said, just the game of baseball is what we need to think about right now.”

And it appears that’s working in his favor.

He trained in the offseason/hiatus quite a bit -- in between creating TikToks and playing “Call of Duty.” And although he showed up late as a precautionary measure after training partner Jesús Luzardo tested positive for coronavirus, he has looked good, according to A’s manager Bob Melvin.

“[Fiers] has proved that he ended up being really good for this team,” Melvin said Tuesday.

“Probably not as far along as a couple of guys at this point based on the fact that he had to sit down for a couple days, but if anybody could make it up in a hurry it’s him.”

Melvin also said he watched Fiers’ bullpen yesterday and was able to get a different view, complimenting his sinker and a late cutter.

[RELATED: Khris Davis ready to move on from down 2019 season]

“You understand without the velocity, why he continues to be so consistent, and so good and is always looking to add some stuff on," Melvin added.

Fiers looks to be a part of the A’s starting rotation this season and said he will be pitching against the Giants next week during their scheduled exhibition games.

Tony Kemp overwhelmed by A's, community support on '+1 Effect' campaign

Tony Kemp overwhelmed by A's, community support on '+1 Effect' campaign

Tony Kemp arranged to have 60-70 shirts promoting his +1 Effect campaign sent to Oakland Coliseum during A’s training camp, enough for everyone on the team’s roster and staff.

The veteran second baseman may have ordered too many.

Matt Olson, Marcus Semien, Liam Hendriks, Jake Diekman and assistant hitting coach Eric Martins had already bought shirts on their own.

Kemp was moved by that. He’s relatively new to the A’s, an offseason signing who spent a few weeks with the Green and Gold before baseball shut down over the coronavirus pandemic.

He wasn’t sure how much immediate (and unsolicited) team support to expect when he started the +1 Effect, a campaign designed to snuff out racism one individual conversation at a time. That question mark was answered quickly, with manager Bob Melvin sent a text of support early in the process. Then he saw teammates lining up behind him.

“It was cool to see that they bought shirts on their own and are out supporting the cause,” Kemp said in a Monday video conference. “That’s a big deal. I’ve only been with this team for a couple of months now, and to see how people have been respecting and going after the campaign means a lot. It means your teammates have your back and have been supportive. I’m incredibly happy with that.”

Kemp pushed forward with a bold, time consuming and rewarding enterprise shortly after George Floyd was killed while in police custody. That prompted protests across the country and brought the underlying, systemic racism that exists here into mainstream consciousness.

Kemp pondered ways of joining the fight against racism and police brutality against Black Americans and decided to attack it through individual conversations. The +1 Effect quickly grew in popularity and was making an impact on an individual level. His Instagram inbox swelled as the press got hold of it, but Kemp has remained committed to this cause even with Kemp back to work in A’s camp.

“My wife and I were going through 120 message requests that I had on Instagram that we went through today,” Kemp said. “We’re still trying to push the ideas through and get our point across with the +1 campaign. It’s going well. You see a lot of people being changed. It’s a true blessing to impact people in the way that we have.”

[RACE AND SPORTS IN AMERICA: Listen to the latest episode]

Those message requests don’t receive a pamphlet. They largely get a callback and a conversation trying to change minds about topics involved with racism plain to see and issues more covert.

"When you have conversations like this, you have to have an open mind and a calm spirit,” Kemp said. “If you just start yelling at each other or one person gets upset, you just have to remain calm. I think that’s how I have been getting through to people, by saying, ‘I hear you. I understand you. But please listen to this experience, maybe watch this documentary or read this book.’

“It’s all about your tone, honestly. Being able to relay that message to them, I think that has created a better understanding because conversations they normally have with someone of another point of view is that someone gets upset and storms out, and nothing gets accomplished. Being able to be open-minded and calm with these situations show where it has been going in a positive direction.”

[RELATED: Franklin Barreto ahead in A's second base race, competition remains]

Kemp admits the campaign’s impact has exceeded original expectations and has fueled him to keep the effort going.

“It has been therapeutic to hear the responses and hear how people have been responding to it,” Kemp said. “It makes me feel great. it makes me feel that, with a platform and with a voice, you can tell people that they too have a voice even if they think they don’t. Being able to let people talk to their inner circles and understand that what we’re doing is very positive. I have been sleeping very well at night knowing that I feel like I have been helping change the world. I can say it has.”