Athletics

How A's plan to use Frankie Montas when he returns from suspension

frankiemontasusatsi.jpg
USATSI

How A's plan to use Frankie Montas when he returns from suspension

OAKLAND -- Before his 80-game PED suspension, Frankie Montas was the A's best starting pitcher, and quite frankly, one of the best starters in all of baseball.

In 15 outings, the right-hander went 9-2 with a 2.70 ERA, notching 97 strikeouts in 90 innings. While he won't be eligible for the postseason, Montas will be allowed to return for the A's final five games of the regular season, beginning Sept. 25.

Those games are likely to be critical, with Oakland, Tampa Bay, and Cleveland all battling for two AL wild-card spots. Montas, 26, could certainly give the A's a nice boost in that final week.

"We've had Frankie working out in Arizona since he got suspended," A's general manager David Forst told Chris Townsend on A's Cast. "He's thrown a number of simulated games down at Fitch Park (in Mesa), basically pitching four or five innings every fifth day."

Forst also mentioned that Montas is eligible for a rehab assignment starting on Sept. 10. If either Triple-A Las Vegas or Double-A Midland advances to the next round of the minor-league playoffs, he would make a start on Tuesday.

When Montas does return to Oakland, the A's could either use him as a starter for one of the final five games or as a reliever to help their struggling bullpen.

[RELATED: Melvin hints at A's using Luzardo]

"We expect those to be meaningful games and we've kept him stretched out in case we want him to start one of those five," Forst told Townsend. "But Frankie has obviously pitched out of the pen in his career as well. Sure, run him out there five nights in a row, why not? But no, when we get closer, we'll figure out the right role for him. But he's going to be active for those five games and he'll be a part of the group."

Even though Montas won't pitch in the postseason this year, he could definitely help the A's get there.

MLB rumors: A's in talks with Stephen Vogt's agent during free agency

vogtgiantsus.jpg
USATSI

MLB rumors: A's in talks with Stephen Vogt's agent during free agency

Stephen Vogt could be staying in the Bay Area after all. But the catcher might choose a reunion over the option to continue wearing a Giants jersey.

The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser reported Monday morning that the A's have contacted the agent for the free-agent catcher.

Vogt, 35, proved to be fully healthy after what was once seen as potentially career-threatening shoulder surgery. After missing the entire 2018 season, Vogt was one of the Giants' most reliable bats this past season. 

The veteran catcher signed a minor league contract with the Giants in February, and went on to be a steal for San Francisco. He played in 99 games, hitting .263 with 10 homers and 40 RBI as a spot starter and backup to Buster Posey. Vogt also played seven games in left field last season. 

Vogt became somewhat of a cult hero over his four-and-a-half seasons in Oakland. He broke through as a 30-year-old for the A's in 2015 when he made his first of back-to-back All-Star Game appearances. 

The left-handed hitting catcher had a .255 batting average with 49 homers in 458 games with the A's. Even as someone who turned 35 on Nov. 1, he could be the perfect fit for an Oakland reunion. 

Adding Vogt likely would be the end of the Josh Phegley era. The A's have one of the best young catchers in the game in Sean Murphy, and could pair the 25-year-old right-handed hitter with Vogt, a veteran lefty. 

[RELATED: Vogt's championship desires might hinder Giants return in 2020]

Vogt could start games here and there behind the dish, as well as at DH, play left field and even first base, while being an incredibly serviceable bat off the bench. He hit .325 with two homers in 43 games off the bench for the Giants last season.

At this stage of his career, Vogt has one thing on his mind: A World Series ring. The A's could fit his desires while keeping him in the Bay Area on the team that truly gave him his first chance.

MLB free agency: Why reliever Daniel Hudson, A's might be good fit

hudsonusatsi.jpg
USATSI

MLB free agency: Why reliever Daniel Hudson, A's might be good fit

It's free agency time, baseball fans -- you know what that means. Well, if history has a way of repeating itself, it means some lulls in the winter months.

For now, we get to speculate and dissect rumors as they come. For the A's, that means concentrating on pitching acquisitions. 

Every team needs pitching whether they're starving for it or not. Oakland is no different, but they have a tendency to concentrate on bullpen arms and are willing to pay up as MLB.com's Mark Feinsand points out. 

Daniel Hudson is one of Feinsand's pitching free-agent targets for the A's and for good reason.

The 10-year veteran was a big part of the World Series champion Washington Nationals' success as he recorded the final out of the Fall Classic. His 2019 campaign had him boasting a 1.44 ERA in 24 games and 23 strikeouts in 25 innings. If you're into pitching wins (some of you are, it's OK to admit it) he was undefeated last season with a 3-0 record.

[RELATEDJesús Luzardo intriguing candidate for 2020 Rookie of the Year]

Hudson never wanted the closing spot, he believed it was too much pressure, because of his ability to throw too many strikes and allowing too much contact. Hudson more than made up for those doubts in himself, but knowing he could potentially be a set-up man and assist in the closing department if needed could benefit the A's.

Liam Hendriks did a fabulous job last season transitioning to the closer role. Adding Hudson to that could be fun to watch.