Athletics

Despite stadium uncertainty, Beane stands by long-term plan for A's youngsters

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USATSI

Despite stadium uncertainty, Beane stands by long-term plan for A's youngsters

The deterioration of ballpark talks at the Peralta site won’t affect the A’s grand plan on the baseball side of things.

At least that’s what vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane told reporters Monday as the Winter Meetings opened in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

The A’s promoted a number of highly regarded minor leaguers last season who showed promise that they could be future foundation pieces. Along those lines, Beane and his staff planned to target some of those youngsters for long-term contract extensions, with an eye toward generating momentum as a new ballpark was built near downtown Oakland.

The A’s will still look to lock up some of those players, Beane said, even after last week’s news that the Peralta Community College District board halted negotiations for the team to build a new ballpark on land that sits near Laney College.

“I think it’s still a strategy we try to embark on,” Beane said of signing young players.

Consider third baseman Matt Chapman and first baseman Matt Olson, who both entrenched themselves last season as rookies, as two obvious candidates for long-term deals at some point. But they aren’t the only two.

When could the first deals come?

“Realistically, the sooner the better,” Beane said. “Certainly we’ve got between now and spring training to introduce the idea. But probably more sooner than later.”

It’s an uncertain time for this franchise. Will the A’s look elsewhere to build in Oakland? They don’t seem thrilled with the idea of revisiting the current Coliseum site or Howard Terminal as possible locations. Could majority owner John Fisher consider selling? And if so, does that open the door to the franchise leaving the Bay Area? It doesn’t seem any scenario should be counted out right now.

No one representing the club, including team president Dave Kaval, has spoken publicly about ballpark plans since the Peralta talks abruptly ended Wednesday.

As far as baseball operations go, it only makes sense to continue down the path that they recently committed to. The only bad course of action for the A’s is not to take any action at all.

Beane and general manager David Forst need to stay the course and continue their commitment to young players, crossing their fingers that the business side of the operation can pivot and find a new direction for building a ballpark.

Jeurys Familia joins the A's at perfect time and picks up win in debut

Jeurys Familia joins the A's at perfect time and picks up win in debut

Jeurys Familia didn't have a whole lot of time for introductions. The newest Oakland A's reliever arrived at the Coliseum just over an hour before first pitch Sunday, less than 24 hours after being acquired from the New York Mets.

A few hours later, the 28-year-old reliever made his A's debut, with the game on the line, no less. Familia entered a 5-5 tie in the ninth inning and proceeded to pitch two scoreless frames, earning the win when Matt Chapman singled home Marcus Semien in the bottom of the 10th, giving the A's a 6-5 victory over the Giants. 

"When you have that kind of a trade and you come to a new team, first impressions are important," A's manager Bob Melvin admitted in his postgame press conference. "When you pitch the way he did, it makes you feel like part of the team very quickly. He was terrific."

"Unbelievable," Sean Manaea marveled from the A's locker room. "I remember watching him in the World Series a couple years ago, and just watching him today, his stuff is nasty. I'm super excited to have him."

Familia joined the A's at the perfect time, as closer Blake Treinen was unavailable to pitch Sunday after throwing 41 pitches the night before. A former All-Star closer, Familia will primarily be used in a setup role moving forward, but he has no problem with that.

"I'm not really concerned with it," he told reporters after the win, through an interpreter. "Whether I pitch the seventh, eighth, or ninth inning, i just want to help the team win."

Added Melvin: "To come into a tie game, you have to be perfect. To do it two innings in a row, for the first time in front of the fan base and in front of your team, there were probably some nerves involved. It certainly didn't show. It was big."

Prior to this weekend, Familia had spent his entire career in the Mets organization. He was understandably emotional when he found out about the trade.

"It was really difficult," he said. "I spent 11 years there, six years in the big leagues. It was really tough to say goodbye to some of those guys."

But Familia is excited to be on a contender and help form one of the best bullpens in all of baseball. The A's are the only team in MLB without a loss when leading after seven innings (39-0), and now they've added another All-Star closer to the mix. Good luck coming back against that.

A's walk off Giants to clinch 'The Bridge' in trophy's first year

A's walk off Giants to clinch 'The Bridge' in trophy's first year

The Oakland A's won on a walk-off against the San Francisco Giants for the second straight game on Sunday, and picked up a trophy in the process. Sunday's win clinched the Bay Bridge Series, and thus "The Bridge," the trophy designed to commemorate the rivalry. 

"The Bridge" was on the line on Sunday. While the Giants couldn't have won the season series, they still could have won the trophy. Although the Bay Bridge Series would have been tied 3-3, San Francisco would have won "The Bridge" by virtue of winning the series' last game. 

Andrew McCutchen gave the Giants a one-run lead with a solo home run in the eighth inning, but A's slugger Khris Davis erased it with a solo shot of his own (and his second homer of the day) in the next half-inning. 

Oakland first baseman Matt Olson appeared to all but clinch "The Bridge" with a sixth-inning solo homer, his second on Sunday, to give the A's a 4-1 lead. But Pablo Sandoval cut the lead to one with a pinch-hit RBI double in the seventh inning, then Alen Hanson flared a pinch-hit single to run two at-bats later to tie the game 4-4.

"The Bridge," a trophy made from steel of the original San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, commemorates the interleague rivalrly between the Bay Area's big-league baseball teams. It is awarded to the winner of each year's regular-season series.