Athletics

A's infielder Corban Joseph excited to face Yankees, team that drafted him

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A's infielder Corban Joseph excited to face Yankees, team that drafted him

OAKLAND -- On June 5, 2008, the New York Yankees used their fourth-round draft pick to select a 19-year-old infielder from Tennessee named Corban Joseph.

Now, more than 11 years later, Joseph's career comes full circle as he faces those same Yankees as a member of the Oakland A's.

"It's pretty cool to be on the other side," Joseph told NBC Sports California. "I know a lot of people over there. It will be good to catch up with them."

Joseph's professional career hasn't gone exactly as he had planned. He made his major-league debut with the Yankees in 2013, but only got to play in two games, a double-header against the Indians. He went 1-for-6 with a double and a walk before being optioned right back down to Triple-A.

Joseph wouldn't get another chance in the big leagues for five years. That came in 2018 as a member of the Baltimore Orioles. He went 4-for-18 with a double and three RBI, but he ultimately was sent back to the minors again.

He joined the A's organization this past offseason in the Rule 5 Draft. Despite leaving the Yankees' organization nearly five years ago, Joseph still has a couple of good friends on the team.

"Austin Romine was my roommate for years," Joseph noted. "I got to see him get a shot and do well. Brett Gardner treated me really well when I was up there. So seeing those two guys will put a smile on my face."

The Yankees arrive in Oakland with a record of 83-43, the best in all of baseball. Of course, the A's also are right in the mix for a postseason berth. So while it will be fun for Joseph to see some familiar faces, he is well aware of what's at stake in this series.

"We're all competing," he said. "During the game, it's straight business. We're trying to win a ballgame."

[RELATED: Report: A's to call up top prospect Puk for Yankees series]

Since joining the A's, Joseph has started five straight games at second base, going 5-for-20 with a home run and two RBI. He's also given Oakland some defensive stability at second base.

"He's put together some really good at-bats," A's manager Bob Melvin said."He's been right in the middle of some wins for us right away. That just makes you feel that much more confident. ... It's been impressive to see. He's got a good stroke, he puts balls in play and doesn't try to do too much."

Why A's should either trade or non-tender All-Star Blake Treinen

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Why A's should either trade or non-tender All-Star Blake Treinen

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.

Blake Treinen, RHP

Contract: Final year of arbitration (projected to get $7.8 million after earning $6.4 million this season)

Reasons to bring him back

In 2018, Blake Treinen enjoyed one of the greatest seasons in MLB history. The right-hander went 9-2 with 38 saves and a 0.78 ERA, notching 100 strikeouts in 80 1/3 innings.

Unfortunately, Treinen followed that up with the worst season of his career, going 6-5 with a 4.91 ERA in 2019, ultimately losing the closer job to Liam Hendriks. Still, Treinen's stuff looked dominant at times and he could certainly bounce back in 2020.

Treinen is still just 31 years old and should have some productive years ahead of him. His fastball averaged 97 mph this season with explosive movement. If he can improve his command, Treinen could still be a productive reliever moving forward.

Reasons to let him go

Treinen is coming off an incredibly disappointing season. He entered the year as one of the top closers in baseball, but quickly lost his closer job due to injury and poor performance.

Treinen's 4.91 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, and 5.14 FIP were all career worsts, as were his 37 walks in just 58 2/3 innings. He saw his season come to a premature end when an MRI revealed a stress reaction in his back. And pitchers and back injuries don't mix well (see: Marco Estrada). Tendering Treinen a contract would be a major risk.

Final verdict

Treinen could very well return to being an effective relief pitcher, but the A's can't afford to take that chance for nearly $8 million. That money would be better spent on multiple relievers to help shore up the team's shaky bullpen.

[RELATED: A's stay or go candidate for 2020 season: Jake Diekman]

Between Treinen's on-field struggles and the injury concerns, Oakland would be better off seeking an offseason trade of its former All-Star closer. If the A's can't get a deal done, look for a non-tender.

Why Jake Diekman's command issues could mean A's move on in offseason

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Why Jake Diekman's command issues could mean A's move on in offseason

Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine 10 A's players who might or might 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.

Jake Diekman, LHP

Contract: $5.75 million mutual option for 2020 ($500,000 buyout)

Reasons to bring him back

Diekman's stuff is undeniable. The 32-year-old left-hander boasts a 96-mph fastball along with a wicked slider, making him a tricky at-bat for right-handed and left-handed hitters alike.

Despite a 1-7 record and 4.65 ERA this season, Diekman notched 84 strikeouts in just 62 innings. For his career, he has averaged 11.2 punchouts per nine innings.

Another reason to keep Diekman is Oakland's lack of left-handed relievers. Jesús Luzardo and A.J. Puk both figure to move to the starting rotation next year and Ryan Buchter's return is far from certain. As a result, Diekman could be the only southpaw in the A's bullpen.

Reasons to let him go

While Diekman's strikeout numbers were highly impressive, his lack of command became a major issue down the stretch. He walked 39 batters this season, including 16 in 20 1/3 innings with the A's.

That contributed significantly to Diekman's disappointing 1.42 WHIP and 4.65 ERA. For $5.75 million, you'd have to think the A's would want someone more consistent and reliable in the late innings.

[RELATED: A's 3B coach Williams will manage in Korea next season]

Final verdict

Oakland is unlikely to bring Diekman back next season for a couple of reasons. Far too often, he just doesn't know where his pitches are going. Throughout his career, Diekman has averaged five walks per nine innings. That's a serious problem for a setup man.

The other factor is Diekman's $5.75 million price tag. That is a high figure for any non-closer, but particularly worrisome for a setup man who has proven to be inconsistent.

The A's would probably be wise to spend that money elsewhere.