Athletics

Building an A's roster for less than Bryce Harper's projected 2019 salary

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NBC Sports Bay Area

Building an A's roster for less than Bryce Harper's projected 2019 salary

No one knows where Bryce Harper will end up next season, but one thing is for sure: He'll get paid. A lot. And that's an understatement.

Many have speculated Harper could sign for as much as $400 million over 10 years, translating to a whopping $40 million per season. By comparison, the A's entered 2018 with a $63 million payroll. For the entire team!

Just for fun, here's a breakdown of Oakland's starting lineup last season, with their combined salaries, courtesy of Spotrac.com:

Catcher: Jonathan Lucroy ($6.5 million)
First base: Matt Olson ($547,500)
Second base: Jed Lowrie ($6 million)
Shortstop: Marcus Semien ($3.125 million)
Third base: Matt Chapman ($547,500)
Left field: Nick Martini ($240,260)
Center field: Ramón Laureano ($172,870)
Right field: Stephen Piscotty ($1,333,333)
DH: Khris Davis ($10.5 million)
Starting pitcher: Sean Manaea ($550,000)

Total: $29,516,463

That's the A's entire starting lineup, plus their ace, for more than $10 million less than Harper's projected $40 million per season.

Let's keep going. Here are some other players you could add to an A's roster and still remain below $40 million:

Blake Treinen ($2.15 million)
Edwin Jackson ($1.5 million)
Trevor Cahill ($1.5 million)
Brett Anderson ($1.5 million)
Ryan Buchter ($555,000)
Chad Pinder ($550,000)
Mark Canha ($518,144)
Lou Trivino ($474,660)
Daniel Mengden ($418,048)
Dustin Fowler ($341,504)
Franklin Barreto ($263,700)
Frankie Montas ($208,030)
Chris Bassitt ($167,010)
J.B. Wendelken ($164,080)
Beau Taylor ($87,900)

Total: $39,914,539

To recap, that's an entire 25-man roster for less than the $40 million that Bryce Harper could earn next season:

Starting pitchers: Sean Manaea, Edwin Jackson, Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Daniel Mengden
Relief pitchers: Blake Treinen, Lou Trivino, J.B. Wendelken, Ryan Buchter, Frankie Montas, Chris Bassitt
Catchers: Jonathan Lucroy, Beau Taylor
Infielders: Matt Olson, Jed Lowrie, Marcus Semien, Matt Chapman, Franklin Barreto
Outfielders: Stephen Piscotty,  Ramón Laureano, Nick Martini, Mark Canha, Chad Pinder, Dustin Fowler
DH: Khris Davis

Unless Harper can play every position simultaneously, à la Bugs Bunny, the A's appear to have the edge.

Editor's note: This week across the NBC Sports Regional Networks, we'll be taking an in-depth look at some of the top free agents in baseball. Monday is dedicated to Nationals slugger Bryce Harper.

Giants could use Harper money to fill numerous other needs
Phillies could use Harper's personality just as much as his big bat
Why Harper sacrificed home runs with Nationals to save his season
White Sox would have to pitch Harper on possibility of bright future
World champion Red Sox not a part of Harper's free-agent journey

A's equipment manager Steve Vucinich details opening series prep in Tokyo

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USATSI

A's equipment manager Steve Vucinich details opening series prep in Tokyo

MESA, Ariz. -- Packing for travel can be a daunting task.

Imagine doing that for an entire baseball team and then having to do that overseas.

A's longtime equipment manager, Steve Vucinich has turned what most would shy away from into something he could probably do in his sleep.

And with the team opening up the season in Tokyo against the Mariners, in order for the garb, bats, helmets, jock straps, and everything else they may need, it's a bit more detailed of a process. But nothing he can't handle.

For starters, he checks things once, then nine more times after that. 

"You can't overnight something [in Japan]," Vucinich told NBC Sports Bay Area. "If we were in Baltimore, for instance, we could probably get something in two to three days."

But beyond that, Vucinich said it's not as complicated as it may sound, or how I initially thought it would be.

"Since we're leaving spring training and we're not coming back here, they don't have to pack as much stuff as they do for a regular road trip," he said. "No. 1, we're in a controlled environment with the dome, so we don't need all this extra layered stuff."

That makes things easier -- kind of.

"Opening Day in Japan makes things, I don't want to say 'complex,' but you just have to watch everything and as we're leaving, I'm going to have one of my guys check off every bag."

"First, we're going to do security here and the dogs will sniff everything -- after that, it'll be put on to the truck."

Will he have to pack a few extra things? Of course. 

"Maybe a few extra helmets ... a guy like Chapman, somehow his helmet breaks more than anyone else's," he smiled.

An A's staff member told me on Friday Vucinich has been around since day one. And since then, equipment needs have changed, maybe not the jockstraps so much, but the style of clothing and the number of bats they take along with them. 

"When I first started, you would have two bags of bats -- maybe four dozen," he explained. "Nowadays, every position player has his own bat bag that can hold up to a dozen bats."

That doesn't mean they do, necessarily, but it's nice to know they have that option.

"Since birch and maple wood has been approved, those don't break as much." 

Vucinich said they travel with a few less than they did ten years ago, but "definitely more than we did 30 years ago."

Progress. I like it. 

And when Vucinich arrives in Japan, he's the first one off the plane. That's when the fun stuff begins.

"We'll be the first off the plane and we'll go through the immigration customs procedure and they'll take us downstairs and we'll wait for customs to clear all of the equipment."

He's not completely solo on this mission though -- not that he couldn't handle it on his own. MLB provides him with the funds to have an extra pair of hands to join him as they follow the equipment truck in a car to the Tokyo Dome.

"They will have a staff there to unpack and hopefully have a good interpreter," Vucinich said.

Despite it being a bit more laidback in the states, there are still the same TSA requirements, and I doubt TSA PreCheck can be implemented in this scenario.

[RELATED: Daniel Mengden adopts puppies he rescued from storm drain]

Talking to him for a just a few minutes, you can tell Vucinich been doing this for a while, it's quite extraordinary. 

"There are more details that go into it in Tokyo," he said.

Details he has down to a science. 

Bob Melvin has patience, excitement in top A’s prospect Jesús Luzardo

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USATSI

Bob Melvin has patience, excitement in top A’s prospect Jesús Luzardo

MESA, Ariz. -- Blame it on the rain -- among other things.

Everywhere you stepped at Hohokam Stadium managed to be in the form of a puddle -- and that could have impacted the way A's manager Bob Melvin was evaluating players. Oakland's spring training opener on Thursday against the Mariners lasted just an inning and a half. To say that hindered the chance to watch players is an understatement.

"We told them early on once we get into the games, that's when we start evaluating," Melvin told media members on Friday. "Yesterday may have been more difficult because of the conditions, but everyone that runs out there gets evaluated now so in that case, the heat's on a little bit more."

With the wet climate and shortened spring, Melvin knew it would be tough, especially when it came to assessing MLB Pipeline's No. 1 left-handed prospect, Jesús Luzardo. But his opportunities mirrored that of A.J. Puk and what he got last year.

"The talk early on coming into camp I don't think we were looking at Puk for the rotation and the way he pitched and the injuries he had -- I think Luzardo even more so," Melvin said. "I think he's a guy we're going to be careful with. If we feel like he needs a little bit more, then that's what we're going to do."

But the entire package the A's would get with Luzardo excites Melvin.

"A lot of fanfare comes with him -- and certainly with the stuff he has, it's warranted."

[RELATED: Luzardo's star potential]

The three-time Manager of the Year said Luzardo would soon get his chance to start.

It appears that fanfare from the 21-year-old could be something A's fans will get to witness on the big stage in the near future.

Be ready.