Athletics

A's, Khris Davis avoid arbitration, but is this a long-term union?

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USATSI

A's, Khris Davis avoid arbitration, but is this a long-term union?

The A’s took care of a big piece of business with their top run producer, signing slugger Khris Davis to a one-year contract Wednesday and avoiding arbitration.

FanRag’s Jon Heyman reported the sides settled on a $10.5 million salary. That’s more than double the $5 million Davis made last season in his first trip through the arbitration process, but a huge raise was expected after Davis put up more monster numbers in his second year with Oakland.

His 43 home runs in 2017 ranked second in the American League and he was third in RBI with 110. Consider that Davis is the only major leaguer to crack the 40-homer mark in each of the past two seasons, and only Giancarlo Stanton has more total homers during that span (86 to Davis’ 85).

That obviously makes the 30-year-old Davis a valuable commodity.

“Back to back 40-homer years in this ballpark. You guys don’t talk about it enough,” A’s executive VP of baseball operations Billy Beane said in October. “When we acquired him (in a trade from Milwaukee) we knew we got a guy with a lot of power. I think we were thinking a 30-homer guy. The fact he’s gone 40 back-to-back is pretty amazing. He fits in perfectly here. I think having that big bat that Khris brings helps guys like (Matt) Olson and (Matt) Chapman.”

So it’s clear the A’s value Davis, and that’s why he hasn’t been traded thus far, as many around the game speculated he might be this winter. But where do things go moving forward?

He’ll be eligible for arbitration one more time next winter before he’s able to test free agency heading into the 2020 season. If you’re an A’s fan, you know where this is going. If July hits and the A’s are floundering in the standings, Davis no doubt will be a trade candidate. He’d have appeal as a proven slugger who would remain under team control for 2019.

But Davis is a rare breed. He loves playing in Oakland and doesn’t hide that fact. The pitcher-friendly Coliseum has done nothing to suppress his power. In fact, he’s thrived. His 26 home runs at the Coliseum in 2017 fell one short of Jason Giambi’s Oakland record for homers by a home player.

It would seem he’d be open to a long-term extension, and the sides reportedly have held past discussions about one. The A’s have designs on signing some of their younger core players to extensions. But you’d have to rank it as a surprise were they to actually complete an extension with Davis, given the money he would command.

More than likely, Beane and his staff will evaluate the team through the first half of the upcoming season, weigh the pros and cons of dealing him, and if he stays, enter through this arbitration process again next winter, knowing that he’ll command even more bucks on another one-year deal.

An ‘X’ factor is how Davis adjusts to his shift from left field to designated hitter. He told NBC Sports California in November that he prefers the outfield but will fill whatever role is best for the team.

The feeling here is that he’ll put up the same numbers that fans have grown accustomed to, and the ball will be in the A’s court as to how long he remains in green and gold.

A's outfielder Mark Canha: 'I'm not really sorry' about bat flip in Bay Bridge Series

A's outfielder Mark Canha: 'I'm not really sorry' about bat flip in Bay Bridge Series

Mark Canha is Bay Area born and bred. The San Jose native played college baseball at the University of California, Berkeley and has many fond memories going to games at AT&T Park. 

No memory is greater for Canha than what he did to the Giants on Saturday night. 

With the A's down 3-2 to the Giants in the top of the seventh inning in Game 2 of the Bay Bridge Series, Canha came off the bench and unloaded on a 93 mph fastball from Tony Watson to hit a two-run shot halfway up the left-field bleachers. The blast gave the A's a 4-3 lead and eventual win. 

What really grabbed headlines though was Canha's celebration. In more of a bat toss than flip, Canha flipped the script on the Giants and showed exactly how much this Bay Bridge Series means to him. 

And he has a message for those who think he somehow disrespected a game by having fun. 

"People getting offended by bat flips is so silly. I'm not sorry. I'm not really sorry. It's part of our game. Everybody does it," Canha said after the A's win. 

Will the Giants look for retribution and throw at Canha when he steps to the plate on Sunday? Canha couldn't care less. 

"If somebody's gonna throw at me -- I've been thrown at in the past, this season. I clearly didn't learn my lesson. So if you're offended by that, I don't care," Canha. 

The versatile outfielder is now batting .259 with 12 home runs and a .797 OPS this season. 

A's tie up Bay Bridge Series with win at AT&T Park

A's tie up Bay Bridge Series with win at AT&T Park

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Pinch-hitter Mark Canha hit a go-ahead home run in the seventh inning and the Oakland Athletics continued their late-game success, rallying to beat the San Francisco Giants 4-3 on Saturday night.

Stephen Piscotty and Marcus Semien had two hits apiece. Khris Davis added a sacrifice fly to help the A's improve to 20-6 since June 16, tied with Boston for the best record in the majors during that stretch.

Buster Posey, Steven Duggar and Chase d'Arnaud had two hits apiece for the Giants.

One night after being limited to three hits in a 7-1 loss, Oakland again struggled early until breaking out in the seventh.

Josh Phegley hit a leadoff single against Tony Watson (2-3). Canha followed with his 12th home run, a towering two-run blast, and emphatically flipped his bat and stared into the A's dugout before trotting around the bases.

It's Canha's first career pinch-hit home run and helped the A's avoid their first back-to-back losses since a season-high, four-game skid June 12-15.

Oakland has scored 173 runs in the seventh inning or later this season, tied with Houston for second-most in the majors.

Yusmeiro Petit (4-2) retired eight batters to win. All-Star closer Blake Treinen pitched the ninth for his 24th save.

The Giants led 3-2 after Gorkys Hernandez hit an RBI double and scored on pinch-hitter Austin Slater's single off Oakland starter Brett Anderson in the fourth.

Giants first baseman Brandon Belt was ejected after the bottom of the fourth inning and had to be physically restrained from going after third base umpire Greg Gibson. Belt was upset over being called out on a checked swing and argued with Gibson as he took the field between innings. Gibson immediately ejected Belt, who angrily slammed his glove to the ground and began walking toward the umpire before teammates intervened.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: All-Star 2B Jed Lowrie struck out looking as a pinch hitter in the ninth after being held out of the lineup with a bone bruise and calf bruise in his left leg following a scary collision with Piscotty in right field Friday. . Reliever Santiago Casilla was designated for assignment. . 2B Franklin Barreto was recalled from Triple-A Nashville. RHP Ryan Dull was optioned down. RHP Daniel Mengden was sent to Nashville to begin a rehab assignment.

UP NEXT

Oakland LHP Sean Manaea (8-6, 3.44 ERA) goes for his fourth consecutive win on Sunday. Manaea is holding opponents to a .217 average over his last seven starts. LHP Andrew Suarez (3-5 3.75), who has allowed two runs or fewer in his previous six starts, pitches for San Francisco.