Athletics

A's have had 'preliminary talks' on Khris Davis contract extension

A's have had 'preliminary talks' on Khris Davis contract extension

OAKLAND — Khris Davis will not be a free agent until after next season, but the A's have already begun discussions about signing him to a contract extension.

"We've had some preliminary conversations about keeping him around longer," executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane said Friday. "The good thing is Khris is going to be back next year for sure, no matter what. But we're also aware of the fact that he's going to be a free agent after that. We're aware of his value to the club."

Davis, 30, is under team control for 2019 and is eligible for arbitration. Last year, the two sides avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $10.5 million.

Davis figures to get a significant raise to at least $15 million after leading Major League Baseball with 48 home runs and finishing second with 123 RBI, while incredibly hitting .247 for the fourth straight year.

"I know he's going to hit .247 next year," Beane joked. "We can count on that consistency. We also know he's going to hit 40 home runs. I'm a big fan of the home run."

Indeed Davis has hit 40 or more home runs in each of his three seasons with the A's, joining Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx as the only players in franchise history to reach that number in three straight seasons. Since 2016, he leads all of baseball with 133 homers.

Davis has said he enjoys playing in Oakland and hopes to stay with the A's for years to come.

"I envision myself winning a championship in Oakland," he told NBC Sports California earlier this season. "We've got a great group of guys I like to be around and just grow with them on a daily basis. I like where I'm at right now."

Bob Melvin supports Buster Posey's decision to opt out of 2020 season

Bob Melvin supports Buster Posey's decision to opt out of 2020 season

Buster Posey took several days of Giants training camp to deal with what was termed a personal issue. It turns out he spent that time weighing whether to play baseball this season during an ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Posey announced Friday that he would opt out and explained exactly why. Turns out he has a damn good reason.

His family adopted two twin girls born July 3 at just 32 weeks. They are in the NICU now and Posey said they will be in a particularly vulnerable state for at least four months. That’s more than the entire 2020 MLB season, even if everything goes right.

Posey made an easy decision, the right one.

That’s clear to most, including A’s manager Bob Melvin.

“In his case, I don’t know why you would want to play with what’s going on there,” Melvin said in a Friday video conference. “Each guy looks at it a little differently, so I’m not surprised that some have opted out. I’m certainly not surprised about Buster, now knowing the whole story.”

While most are supportive of easy choices like Posey’s or the less straightforward, detractors have proven vocal even in a decided minority.

A’s relief pitcher Jake Diekman has a higher risk for complications if he contracts COVID-19 due to a pre-existing condition but chose to play the season. The team is cognizant of that while strictly adhering to health and safety protocols during training camp.

[RELATED: Zaidi, Kapler support Posey's decision]

Whether someone chooses to play or not, Melvin says, that player will receive backing from around the sport.

“Whoever decides to opt out will be fully supported,” Melvin said. “There’s a lot at stake right now. It’s easy once you’re out on the field and it feels great again and everyone likes playing, but the underlying factor and issues are still there. If there’s somebody who has reservations, whether it’s Jake, who says he doesn’t have any, will be fully supported and I don’t think they’ll be criticized by the baseball community.”

A's Matt Chapman adjusts personal goals in shortened 2020 MLB season

A's Matt Chapman adjusts personal goals in shortened 2020 MLB season

Matt Chapman’s always one to raise the bar. His personal and team goals continue to elevate, even after the A’s won 97 games, he hit 36 home runs and added another platinum glove.

Those achievements are awesome in a vacuum, though losing in the A.L. wild-card game (again) and a late-season offensive slump shows room for improvement for the stacked A’s and their All-Star third baseman.

Putting it all together could mean a World Series title and an MVP award, or an offensive season for the ages at the very least.

That last part, of course, assumes a 162-game season. Numbers don’t mean the same thing in a 60-game season. Chapman, therefore, has to look at his stat line differently.

“The main goal is to stay healthy, stay on the field and then just take good at bats and do my part,” Chapman said. “I’m not going to put too much stress on the season because two months is such a small sample size. If you don’t start well, your numbers are never going to be what you want them to be. I’m hopefully not going to dig into that too much. I know that’s easy to say now, but I want to focus on the team and keep guys healthy. Hopefully we can do that and just win. Our focus should be health and making the playoffs.”

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Collectively, the A’s are focusing on winning as many games as possible in a condensed season where every game is magnified.

“I think that, from a team standpoint, the goals are still the same: win as much as we can and stress getting off to a good start,” Chapman said. “That’s extremely important now. That was our focus coming out of the spring training beforehand, but that especially key now. You can win and lose a season in two weeks it seems like, in this short schedule. You can’t fall too far behind. On the other side of it, you could also jump out to a good lead. It’s exciting because it seems like every game is going to be a playoff game.”

Chapman doesn’t have much time to ramp for this condensed 60-game season, which is now two weeks away. He has voiced displeasure over the A’s inability to start workouts at the earliest possible date, but is now focused on maximizing opportunities he has. That doesn’t mean he’s working too hard, as he and the A’s position players might have when they were finally allowed to start camp.

[RELATED: Why Chapman could win AL MVP]

It’s about working smarter in the time allotted.

“The biggest thing for me is getting quality reps and not worrying about the quantity so much and trying to play catch-up,” Chapman said. “I don’t need a million swings to get ready. I need quality swings and to avoid tiring yourself out because, when it does start, it’ll be a sprint. You can’t jam a ton into every day. We have to be smart and, right around that two-week mark [of camp], we’ll be in a good spot.”