Athletics

Evaluating A's arbitration in 2018 MLB offseason: Khris Davis

Evaluating A's arbitration in 2018 MLB offseason: Khris Davis

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

Khris Davis is the best power hitter in baseball. That's not an opinion. It's a fact.

Over the last three seasons, Davis leads all of MLB with 133 home runs. He led the league with 48 homers this past season and finished second with 123 RBI. It marked the third straight year he hit 40-plus home runs and drove in more than 100 runs.

Davis, 30, slashed .247/.326/.549 for the season. Incredibly, it was the fourth straight year he hit exactly .247.

Davis earned a team-high $10.5 million and is projected to get $18.1 million in arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors.

Why he might be a bargain

It's hard to call $18.1 million a bargain, but for Khris Davis, it probably is. Davis affects the A's lineup in a way that very few other hitters can. He changes the way other A's players are pitched and can change any game with one swing of the bat.

Davis has also been extremely durable during his three seasons in Oakland. He has missed just 32 games over the course of three years, playing in 150 games or more in all three seasons. Davis' power numbers have improved each year in Oakland, from 42 home runs and 102 RBI in 2016, to 43 homers and 110 RBI in 2017, to a career-high 48 round-trippers and 123 RBI in 2018.

Why he might be too pricey

It's honestly hard to even make this argument. I guess you could say $18.1 million is too much for a designated hitter who doesn't hit for a great average.

While it's obviously a lot of money, Davis has earned whatever he gets.

Verdict

Davis will be back in Oakland next season. Executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane has already said as much. The real question is whether the A's will lock him up past 2019.

Beyond his production on the field, Davis has become a leader in the clubhouse and a fan favorite. He truly loves playing in Oakland, and Oakland loves him.

A's 2019 Projections: Franklin Barreto could make impact, if he plays

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USATSI

A's 2019 Projections: Franklin Barreto could make impact, if he plays

Editor's note: Over the next few weeks, NBC Sports California will be analyzing a different A's player each day to project their numbers for next season.

Franklin Barreto might be the toughest A's player to project for next season.

First of all, we don't have any idea where, or how much, he's going to play. With Jurickson Profar taking over the starting second baseman job, Barreto could find at-bats hard to come by.

The 22-year-old has played the outfield before and could get some action in left field, but he'll have to battle with Nick Martini, Mark Canha, and Dustin Fowler. There's also still a chance the A's could trade Barreto, possibly for a starting pitcher.

Last season, Barreto hit .233/.253/.493 with five home runs and 16 RBI in 32 games. He spent the majority of the season in Triple-A, where he hit .259/.357/.514 with 18 homers and 46 RBI in 77 games.

Barreto has shown flashes of his potential, but he is still far too inconsistent at the plate, striking out 62 times in 144 career at-bats, compared to just six walks.

Baseball Reference projects Barreto to get 224 at-bats next season and hit .241/.299/.424 with nine home runs and 32 RBI. While the slash line looks realistic, we don't see how he will be able to compile that many at-bats.

Barreto could fill in for Profar or Marcus Semien here and there, but those opportunities will be few and far between. In the outfield, he figures to be fifth, at best, on the depth chart, and that's assuming he's ahead of Fowler and Chad Pinder.

[RELATED: Semien's 2019 projections]

It could be another trying year for the talented 22-year-old, at least in terms of playing time. However, Barreto should continue to develop as a hitter and his easy power is undeniable.

Projection: .244/.306/.434, 9 HR, 23 RBI

Deion Sanders explains why Kyler Murray should pick baseball over NFL

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AP

Deion Sanders explains why Kyler Murray should pick baseball over NFL

If anyone knows what Kyler Murray is going through right now, it's Deion Sanders.

"Prime Time" is one of the most successful two-sport athletes. He played 14 seasons in the NFL with five teams, was a six-time All-Pro and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011. Sanders also played parts of nine MLB seasons with four teams, including 52 games with the Giants.

So does the NFL Network analyst believe Murray, whom the A's took No. 9 overall in last year's MLB draft, made the right choice by declaring for the 2019 NFL Draft on Monday?

"If I'm in his shoes, I'm picking up that baseball bat and I'm not looking back," Sanders told ESPN's Cari Champion on Monday night.

Why?

"Because, that's just for me," Sanders said. "Sometimes, I still have regret that I didn't give [baseball] more. But you know, I got a gold [Hall of Fame] jacket in the closet. I'm straight. But I wish I would have given [baseball] more.

"But for Kyler, that's tough at his position, and I don't think he realizes the ridicule you go through once you declare and say, 'I'm going to be a football player.' Now people start talking about your height, your size, what you can't do. He hasn't dealt with that yet."

NFL experts and scouts are torn on the Heisman Trophy winner. Several outlets have released mock drafts that project Murray as a first-round pick. But NFL Network's Ian Rapoport has spoken to some NFL scouts who believe Murray will fall to the second or third round.

Sanders is, excited, though, to see what Murray does in the future.

"I think he can do whatever he wants to do," Sanders said. "He's that type of athlete."