Athletics

A's free-agent signing anniversary: Brandon Moss in 2012

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AP

A's free-agent signing anniversary: Brandon Moss in 2012

Exactly seven years ago, the A's signed a 28-year-old named Brandon Moss to a minor-league contract.

Moss hadn't experienced much success in his career, hitting a total of 23 home runs in five MLB seasons. But it all came together his first year in Oakland.

After starting the 2012 season in Triple-A, Moss got called up by the A's and caught fire. He belted 21 home runs and 52 RBI in 84 games, slashing a phenomenal .291/.358/.596.

Moss continued his impressive power-hitting display in 2013, notching a career-high 30 homers and 87 RBI. In 2014, he added another 25 round-trippers and 81 RBI, making his first and only All-Star Game appearance.

The Moss signing has to be considered an incredible success, as Oakland got consistent production for a very low price. Over the course of three seasons in Oakland, the A's paid him a total of just $6.23 million before trading him to Cleveland in December of 2014. Of course, Moss' second stint with the A's did not work out as well and they will still be on the hook for $1 million next season.

[RELATED: Five non-tendered players the A's could target in MLB free agency]

So what can we learn from the initial signing of Moss? First, you never know for sure when a player is going to come into his own. Countless major leaguers have failed to produce early in their careers only to put it all together several years later.

Baseball is a funny game. It's hard to explain why a player can struggle for one team only to have great success with another. Sometimes a change of scenery can make a world of difference. 

As for Moss, his career appears to be over at the age of 35. In 11 big league seasons, he amassed 160 home runs and 473 RBI.

Why Bob Melvin is confident Khris Davis will have a bounce-back season

Why Bob Melvin is confident Khris Davis will have a bounce-back season

MESA, Ariz. -- "He's a pretty confident guy." 

A's manager Bob Melvin was talking about Mr. Consistent: Khris Davis. That isn't the A's slugger's actual nickname, but it might as well be.

"Keep him healthy and he's been known to hit .247 and 40 home runs," Melvin said, smiling.

Davis walked through the clubhouse with a new hairstyle. The cornrows were gone, but his manager's confidence in him remained. 

The main goal is just to get him to Opening Day healthy, Melvin said. That goal was important because of injuries the designated hitter suffered in 2019. It was a bug he couldn't quite escape from. 

"Just trying to keep him healthy because we saw last year, the numbers didn't look like they normally do, it's more because of health," Melvin added. "Not so much being hurt, you know when he came back, more having to work around more mechanically around some of the injuries. And then once you start trying to do something differently, sometimes it's tough to find those mechanics again, and I think that's more what happened with him last year than anything else."

Melvin mentioned the A's are not in any rush to give KD a ton of at-bats at the moment, but this upcoming season is a big one for the DH.

"I'm really not thinking about him too much right now, I know he'll be here for us," Melvin said.

It's the message Melvin has preached since the beginning of Davis' decline, which really has only been for one season. Every time he was prompted on Davis' offensive struggles, the manager never seemed worried.

He said the 32-year-old had picked up the team before, and it was the team's turn to return the favor. Melvin told NBC Sports California at the end of January he admitted he, and the team, were spoiled by Davis' ability to lead the club. Whether he was hitting those 40-plus homer numbers or being that power bat, Davis' consistency has never been a concern.

[RELATED: Frankie Montas feels no pressure after PED suspension]

The Green and Gold head into the 2020 season with a lot of promise in every aspect of the roster, but Davis being at the top of his game will make that promise a reality. 

Mark Canha Q&A: A's slugger discusses favorite breakfast, grooming

Mark Canha Q&A: A's slugger discusses favorite breakfast, grooming

MESA, Ariz. -- Although he was drafted by the Florida Marlins in 2010, Mark Canha has been fortunate enough to play all significant levels of baseball in the Bay Area.
 
The San Jose native became Bellarmine College Prep’s 15th major league player. His college years were spent at Evans Diamond on Cal's campus. And since, all 445 of his MLB games have been in an A’s uniform.
 
The self-proclaimed “@bigleaguefoodie” on Instagram also is a flashy hitter, blasting a career-high 26 homers in 2019. Many punctuated with a bat flip on his way up the first base line.

[RELATED: Why A's players want to wear Kelly Green uniforms even more]
 
At Spring Training in Mesa, we gave the slugger all of the tough questions so you can get to know the real Mark Canha.
 
NBC Sports Bay Area: Teammate you would trust most to babysit your daughter?
Mark Canha: Oh, wow, that’s a thinker. Not a lot of them. You’ve got to be careful, this is no joke watching a kid. Maybe Marcus [Semien] because he’s got kids. I think he’d handle it just fine.
 
How many times can you wear the same jeans without washing them?
I usually go twice. Date night we go out and I wear them, and then there’s just the male part of me who takes a look -- didn’t spill anything -- I think I could wear them one more time without washing.
 
If you could clone yourself, what would you make that clone do?
So many things. Dishes, I hate doing them, but I do them a lot. And then I’d make him take the night shifts on waking up when my daughter gets up in the middle of the night, at three in the morning.
 
Were you named after anybody?
No, not that I know of.
 
Best smell of baseball season?
Pine tar. I put it on my helmet and the smell is oddly appealing. It makes me feel good in the [batter's] box, I can smell it. I really cake it on my helmet.
 
Can you still write in cursive?
Yes. Well, I don’t know how prevalent it is, but I can do it if I need to.
 
Teammate you would assume spends the most time personal grooming?
I think I’m the biggest personal groomer, you could ask everyone, they’d say that. It’s something I’m passionate about as I get older, and use all the face creams and moisturizers, it’s important. You’ve got to take care of your skin.  
 
Only one breakfast for the rest of your life, what’s on that plate?
Pancakes and bacon is my favorite combo.
 
If you were a media member covering the A’s spring training what would your number one story be?
In my five years here, it’s been the least amount of turnover from one season to the next, and all the youth, and so I’d try to focus on that.
 
Amount of time on average you spend preparing for the opposing pitcher?
Forty-five minutes, I’ll say, going over video and pitches, and tendencies -- charts and that stuff.
 
Can MLB players be friends with their coaches?
Yeah. I think of Bob [Melvin] as a friend, [hitting coach Darren Bush] as a friend. Good relationships and we’re not just talking business all the time.
 
If there’s an MLB player you were a fan of, you weren’t a player?
I think Matt Chapman would be my favorite player.
 
Best way to split a lunch or dinner tab with a teammate?
If we’re talking strategically, you go with a guy that has more service time. Then you don’t have to pay for anything. The guy with the most time pays it, usually.