Athletics

How Mariners' trades make AL West a two-team race between A's, Astros

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How Mariners' trades make AL West a two-team race between A's, Astros

The Seattle Mariners are selling off assets faster than a company going in the tank, and that's interesting news for the Oakland A's.

Despite winning 89 games last season, the Mariners have decided to go in full rebuild mode. In just the last few weeks, they've traded away James Paxton, Edwin Diaz, Robinson Cano, Jean Segura, Juan Nicasio, Mike Zunino and Alex Colome.

With the M's fire sale, the Rangers still years away from contention and the Angels toiling in mediocrity, the American League West appears to be a two-team race between the A's and Astros for the foreseeable future.

Over the last four years, the Angels have failed to win more than 85 games. Despite Mike Trout's brilliance, Los Angeles has made the postseason only once since 2010.

The next two years will be critical for the Angels, as Trout is scheduled to become a free agent in 2021. If they continue to underachieve, Trout almost certainly will sign somewhere else.

[RELATED: Non-tender players who might interest the A's]

Oakland and Houston, meanwhile, have a wealth of young talent, and both figure to remain near the top of the AL standings for years to come. The A's can build around current and future stars such as Matt Chapman, Matt Olson and Ramón Laureano, not to mention Khris Davis and a deep bullpen. They also can construct a starting rotation around top prospects Jesús Luzardo and A.J. Puk.

The Astros continue to restock their farm system, and even if they lose a couple of pieces from the current roster, they're built to last. All-Stars Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman and George Springer all are under 30 years old.

The Mariners' rebuild should help both the A's and Astros in terms of strength of schedule, too. Each team gets to play Seattle 19 times each year, giving them an opportunity to pile up wins within the division.

Make no mistake, though: Houston still is the class of the division. The Astros will be extremely difficult to dethrone, but at least now there is one fewer challenger.

A's sign free-agent outfielder Robbie Grossman to one-year contract

A's sign free-agent outfielder Robbie Grossman to one-year contract

Spring training is here and the A's are adding to their depth in the outfield. 

The A's have officially signed outfielder Robbie Grossman, the team announced on Friday. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic was first to report the news on Wednesday.

Grossman, 29, hit .273 with a .751 OPS last season for the Twins. He was also worth 1.5 bWAR. 

[RELATED: Brett Anderson re-signs with A's on one-year contract]

The switch-hitter also brings versatility on defense. Grossman has experience at all three outfield positions. In 2018, he played 52 games in right field, 34 in left field and served as the DH 36 times. 

A's should target a pair of pitchers as Marlins' fire sale continues

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A's should target a pair of pitchers as Marlins' fire sale continues

At the rate they're going, the Marlins might not be able to field a team on Opening Day.

Last week, Miami traded talented young catcher J.T. Realmuto to the Phillies, continuing their seemingly never-ending fire sale. As ESPN's Sam Miller pointed out, the Marlins have now traded 23 of their top 25 players in franchise history, based on WAR.

With Miami clearly tanking this year, there might be an opportunity for the A's to add some talent before the season starts. CBS Sports' R.J. Anderson listed nine players who could soon be shipped off by the Marlins. We've selected two the A's should target:

José Ureña - SP

José Ureña would have a chance to be the A's number one or two starter. The 27-year-old right-hander is coming off a solid 2018 season with the Marlins, going 9-12 with a 3.98 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 174 innings.

Ureña was even better in 2017, finishing 14-7 with a 3.82 ERA. He has always had great stuff but has struggled a bit with his command. Getting out of Miami would probably serve him well, and what better place to pitch than the Oakland Coliseum?

Ureña will earn just $3.2 million this season and is under team arbitration control through 2021, making him even more attractive to a team like the A's. With Oakland's wealth of outfielders and prospects, a trade for Ureña wouldn't be unrealistic.

[RELATED: A's manager Melvin praises Luzardo's wicked breaking ball]

Dan Straily - SP

Dan Straily is another starter who could help solidify the A's rotation. The veteran right-hander began his career in Oakland, spending three seasons with the A's from 2012-14.

Last year, Straily went 5-6 with a 4.12 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 122 1/3 innings. The 30-year-old has a career ERA of 4.23 in seven Major League seasons.

Straily is scheduled to make $5 million this season and has one more year of arbitration control. He could potentially slot in as the A's number three or four starter and likely wouldn't cost a whole lot to acquire.