Athletics

A's call up OF Decker; option OF Canha to Triple-A Nashville

A's call up OF Decker; option OF Canha to Triple-A Nashville

OAKLAND – The Oakland A’s selected outfielder Jaff Decker from Triple-A Nashville and optioned outfielder Mark Canha to Nashville, the club announced Saturday. To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, the A’s transferred Jake Smolinski to the 60-day disabled list.
 
Decker was batting .387 over his first eight games with Nashville and added five walks for a .472 on-base percentage.  He went 4-for-4 on April 7 at Round Rock and 3-for-5 against the Express the next day.  The 27-year-old left-handed hitter was a non-roster invitee with the A’s this spring and hit .333 in 22 games while tying for the team lead in doubles (6).  Decker has spent parts of each of the previous four seasons in the majors with San Diego (2013), Pittsburgh (2014-15) and Tampa Bay (2016) and is a .162 career hitter with one home run and four RBI in 60 games.
 
Canha was 2-for-19 (.105) with a double in six games with the A’s.  He started four games in right field and one at designated hitter.  Canha also batted .186 with no home runs and three RBI in 22 games this spring.

A's media services

Evaluating A's arbitration in 2018 MLB offseason: Mark Canha

Evaluating A's arbitration in 2018 MLB offseason: Mark Canha

(Over the next week, we will be examining each of the A's arbitration-eligible players to determine whether they will return in 2019.)

Mark Canha is coming off the best season of his career.

The 29-year-old slashed .249/.328/.449 with a career-high 17 home runs and 52 RBI. Canha also set or matched career-highs in doubles, walks, OPS, OPS+, and WAR.

The San Jose native feasted on left-handed pitching, slashing .282/.337/.604 with 13 homers in 149 at-bats. The 13 round-trippers off southpaws were tied for second in the American League.

Canha earned $547,500 in 2018 and is projected to get a healthy raise to $2.1 million in arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors.

Why he might be a bargain

Canha tears up left-handed pitching and could be a solid starting option in left field against southpaws. His versatility is valuable as well, as he can play any outfield position, not to mention first base. He can also provide a nice power option off the bench.

Canha has become a very popular player in the A's clubhouse and his excitement for hitting home runs is contagious. His "Bat Flippin' Season" t-shirts are a huge hit among players and fans alike, and his personality represents the A's well. Canha's departure would represent a significant loss both on the field and in the clubhouse.

Why he might be too pricey

The A's already have a crowded outfield and Canha is probably only a platoon player in the outfield. Stephen Piscotty and Ramon Laureano have basically locked up everyday roles in right and center, so Canha would likely only start in left field against left-handed pitchers. The A's might decide that $2.1 million is too much for that type of role, especially since they also have younger outfield options in Chad Pinder and Dustin Fowler. While Canha can also play first base, Matt Olson is extremely durable, having played in all 162 games this past season.

Verdict

We're leaning toward Canha returning to Oakland for another season. Between his power hitting ability and clubhouse personality, he provides plenty of value to the team. Canha's versatility might be his best trait, as he can fill in at any outfield position as well as first base, and you can never have too much depth. For just over $2 million, Canha is a solid bet to remain in green and gold in 2019.

Evaluating A's arbitration in 2018 MLB offseason: Blake Treinen

Evaluating A's arbitration in 2018 MLB offseason: Blake Treinen

(Over the next week, we will be examining each of the A's arbitration-eligible players to determine whether they will return in 2019.)

Blake Treinen was nearly perfect in 2018. The A's closer allowed just seven earned runs the entire season. Seven!

Treinen went 9-2 with 38 saves and a league-leading 0.78 ERA, along with a 0.83 WHIP. He notched 100 strikeouts in 80 1/3 innings, becoming the first pitcher ever to record 30 saves and 100 strikeouts with an ERA under one.

For his efforts, Treinen was named an All-Star for the first time in his career. He will likely receive votes for the Cy Young Award as well.

Treinen, 30, earned just $2.15 million in 2018 and is projected to get $5.8 million in arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors.

Why he might be a bargain

If $5.8 million does end up being the number, it would be an incredible bargain for the A's. Treinen has established himself as an elite closer, perhaps the best in the game. Not only does he have dominant stuff, but he can pitch multiple innings. The A's were nearly unbeatable when leading after seven innings last season, and Treinen was the primary reason why. His 98 mph sinker is one of the most unhittable pitches in baseball, and at just 30 years of age, the talented right-hander shows no signs of slowing down.

Why he might be too pricey

As with Khris Davis, it's hard to even make a legitimate argument here. Some people in the baseball world believe closers are unnecessary, but even they would probably admit that $5.8 million is a bargain for a pitcher as talented as Treinen. The only question is whether the two sides will agree to terms before arbitration.

Verdict

Treinen will be back in Oakland next season. He will almost certainly be back in 2020 as well, as he will again be under team arbitration control. Treinen was the MVP of the A's bullpen, and probably the entire pitching staff. He figures to be just as valuable moving forward and should have Oakland's pen near the top of baseball again. Oakland may try to lock Treinen up with a long-term deal before he becomes a free agent in 2021.