Athletics

Free agents Jed Lowrie, Jonathan Lucroy projected to earn different salaries

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AP

Free agents Jed Lowrie, Jonathan Lucroy projected to earn different salaries

Despite earning similar salaries in 2018, Jed Lowrie and Jonathan Lucroy will likely sign for vastly different amounts as free agents this offseason.

Lowrie, 34, made $6 million in the final season of a 3-year, $23 million deal. Lucroy, 32, earned $6.5 million on a one-year contract.

But according to Spotrac, Lowrie's estimated market value in free agency is $12.6 million, while Lucroy's is just $2.3 million.

Spotrac calculates its market value figures by comparing a free agent to a group of similar players, based on stats, age, and contract status. Lowrie is compared to Ben Zobrist, Nelson Cruz, Kendrys Morales, and David Freese when they were similar ages. Lucroy's comparables are Kurt Suzuki, Stephen Vogt, Jose Reyes, and Chris Young.

Lowrie is coming off the best season of his career. He slashed .267/.353/.448 with 23 home runs and 99 RBI, earning a trip to his first All-Star Game. He also performed well defensively, committing just four errors the entire season.

Lucroy slashed .241/.291/.325 with four homers and 51 RBI. He had an excellent defensive season, leading MLB with 31 runners caught stealing.

If these projected market value numbers are even close to accurate, the A's would re-sign Lucroy without hesitation. He provided tremendous value beyond the stats with his ability to manage Oakland's pitching staff, keeping them on track through numerous injuries.

While the A's are high on 24-year-old catching prospect Sean Murphy, he is not yet ready to take over the reins and could benefit from a full season in Triple-A. Re-signing Lucroy for anything near $2.3 million would be a gift.

Lowrie's future becomes a little more complicated. A $12.6 million salary, while well-deserved, would be more than twice what he earned last season. With talented 22-year-old Franklin Barreto waiting in the wings and Chad Pinder also capable of playing second base, Oakland may elect to let Lowrie go for that price.

Of course, when you add Lowrie and Lucroy's estimated market values together, it's only about $2.4 million more than the duo earned in 2018, giving the A's a realistic shot to re-sign both veterans.

A's closer Liam Hendriks a finalist for AL Reliever of the Year award

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USATSI

A's closer Liam Hendriks a finalist for AL Reliever of the Year award

A's closer Liam Hendriks is one of three finalists for the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award.

Hendriks is joined by Astros closer Roberto Osuna and Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman. The NL finalists are Josh Hader, Will Smith, and Kirby Yates.

Hendriks, 30, enjoyed a breakout season in 2019, recording a 1.80 ERA and 0.96 WHIP. The right-hander notched 124 strikeouts in 85 innings, an A's franchise record for relievers, compared to just 21 walks.

Hendriks took over closing duties from Blake Treinen in the middle of the season and finished with 25 saves, along with eight holds. His 124 punchouts led AL relief pitchers and his 1.80 ERA ranked second among AL relievers with at least 40 innings.

Osuna posted a 2.63 ERA and 0.88 WHIP, with 73 strikeouts in 65 innings. Chapman finished with a 2.21 ERA and 1.11 WHIP, striking out 85 in 57 innings.

[RELATED: Hendriks' energy a big part of A's success]

The voting will be conducted by a panel of eight all-time great relief pitchers: Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, Bruce Sutter, Lee Smith, John Franco, and Billy Wagner. Both the AL and NL awards will be presented on October 26, before Game 4 of the World Series.

Why A's should move on from Robbie Grossman in final arbitration year

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USATSI

Why A's should move on from Robbie Grossman in final arbitration year

Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine 10 A's players who may or may not return to Oakland next season. For each player, we will provide reasons why the A's should bring him back and reasons why they should not, followed by a final determination.

Robbie Grossman, OF

Contract: Final year of arbitration (projected to get $3.3 million after earning $2 million this season)

Reasons to bring him back

Grossman provides versatility as a switch-hitter who can play all three outfield positions. He also has a strong record of reaching base, maintaining a .351 on-base percentage throughout his career.

The A's lineup is extremely right-handed heavy and they could certainly use another left-handed bat, particularly in the outfield. For $3.3 million, Grossman could add some value as a fourth or fifth outfielder.

Reasons to let him go

Grossman is coming off his worst season since 2015, hitting just .240/.334/.348 with six home runs and 38 RBI in 138 games. The 30-year-old has never provided much power, averaging just six homers per season in his career, with a high of 11 in 2016.

Oakland already has a crowded outfield with Ramón Laureano, Mark Canha, Stephen Piscotty, and Chad Pinder. The A's also have Dustin Fowler, Skye Bolt, and Seth Brown awaiting their opportunity in the minor leagues. Grossman isn't necessarily an upgrade over any of those names.

Final verdict

Due to their excellent outfield depth, the A's should move on without Grossman in 2020. That $3.3 million could be better spent in other areas -- relief pitching, as an example.

[RELATED: A's stay or go candidate for 2020 season: Josh Phegley]

If Grossman were to return, he would almost certainly be a bench player, and as we've noted, Oakland has plenty of other options to fill those fourth and fifth outfielder roles for far less than $3.3 million.