Athletics

Matt Chapman would love contract extension with A's if deal is right

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USATSI

Matt Chapman would love contract extension with A's if deal is right

Matt Chapman has made a name for himself, not only as the A's steadfast third baseman but as one of the better defenders in all of Major League Baseball.

With all of Chapman's recent success and the latest contract extension given to designated hitter Khris Davis, could he be the next long-term deal for the Green and Gold? Well, maybe. But we won't know for a while.

“I’d be lying to you if I told you I didn’t think about it,” Chapman recently told The San Francisco Chronicle in a podcast. “It’s one of those things that would be a dream come true. It’s something I’ve worked my whole life for is to play baseball, and ensure myself and my family are taken care of, and all I have to worry about is going out there and getting better and helping my team win, which to me sounds like a dream come true."

Chapman, of course, knows there's a business side to it as well.

"I have to take advice from my agent and my family to try to figure out what’s best for me and my future," he told Chronicle reporter Susan Slusser. "I do want to be a part of this team, and I would love to be extended and play a long time. But it has to be fair for both sides. Hopefully, we can get something done.”

Chapman's agent, Scott Boras, is no stranger to making sure these deals take place. He's also not known for having one of his clients re-sign with a team. But Boras spoke to Slusser earlier in the week about it all, and there was some promise behind his comments.

“People say we don’t do them, but I have a number of examples that we do,” Boras said Monday. “But they’re major economic commitments when you’re talking about players of that ilk. We keep our ears open and listen and talk to ownership regularly about it, and Oakland is in a place where they have a lot of promise that requires definition, that requires sureties that they’re going to have a stadium.”

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When the A's signed Davis to that two-year extension, it appeared the team was headed toward a future full of commitment. Sure, the A's got a phenomenal deal on the 31-year-old, who said many times that he loves playing in Oakland, but Chapman could be a different story.

And if the new stadium goes as planned, that could be the perfect selling point to not only make sure Chapman, who is a free agent in 2024, stays with a team whose fan base simply adores him. It also could assist in bringing even more talent to The Town.

A's starters are struggling vs. elite teams, and it could cost them

A's starters are struggling vs. elite teams, and it could cost them

Through all the injuries, suspensions, and question marks, the A's starting rotation has actually performed relatively well this season.

Oakland's starters have compiled a 4.17 ERA, 12th-best in the majors and sixth in the American League. Mike Fiers, Brett Anderson, and Chris Bassitt all own earned run averages under four, while Daniel Mengden's is under five.

Those numbers would suggest that the unit is, at the very least, serviceable. However, that hasn't been the case against the league's better teams.

Just look at Mengden and Homer Bailey's last two starts. Mengden limited the last-place Mariners to one run on four hits in seven innings last Tuesday. But in his next start, the first-place Twins knocked him around for four earned runs on six hits in just 3 1/3 innings.

Bailey's Oakland debut also came against the Mariners, and it went well. The right-hander allowed just two runs in six innings, earning the victory. On Monday night in Houston, however, Bailey surrendered nine runs in two innings.

For the season, Bailey is 4-1 with a 3.91 ERA when facing opponents under .500. Against teams that are .500 or better, he is just 4-6 with a 6.75 ERA. Mengden's numbers are similar. Against sub-.500 clubs, the right-hander is 3-0 with a sparkling 2.31 ERA. However, against winning squads, Mengden is 1-2 with a 6.67 ERA.

Bassitt has experienced the same type of success against losing teams, posting a 3.28 ERA. But against plus-.500 opponents, his ERA shoots up to 4.81.

Fiers and Anderson have been the exceptions in the A's rotation. Not surprisingly, they have been Oakland's only two consistent starters throughout the season, not including the suspended Frankie Montas.

Fiers is 4-2 with a 3.52 ERA against losing teams and 5-1 with a 3.74 ERA against winning squads. Anderson is 5-3 with a 3.88 ERA against sub-.500 opponents and 4-2 with a 3.77 ERA against plus-.500 clubs.

[RELATED: Houston makes statement with 11-1 win]

Over the next month, the A's will face an extremely challenging schedule. Including the current series against Houston, nine of Oakland's next 10 opponents currently own a record of .500 or better.

Fiers and Anderson have proven capable of succeeding against the league's best. Now it's Bassitt, Mengden, and Bailey's turn to step up against tougher competition.
 

Astros issue statement in rout vs. A's that AL West belongs to Houston

Astros issue statement in rout vs. A's that AL West belongs to Houston

Just five days ago, the A's pulled within 4 1/2 games of the Astros for first place in the AL West. All of a sudden, there were murmurs around the league of a legitimate pennant race out west.

Houston sure silenced those talks in a hurry. The Astros won their sixth game in a row Monday night, obliterating the A's, 11-1, to push their division lead back to 7 1/2 games.

This was more than just a victory. It was a statement. The Astros pulled out their megaphones and declared to the world that the AL West still runs through Houston, as it has the past two seasons.

Houston is now 8-1 against Oakland this season, with a run differential of 53-21. The A's have made plenty of strides the last two years, but clearly, they're not yet in the same class as the Astros.

The most glaring difference between the two clubs is obviously pitching. Despite losing Charlie Morton to free agency and Lance McCullers Jr. to injury, the Astros' starting rotation is far superior to Oakland's.

Houston features two legitimate aces in Justin Verlander and Monday's winning pitcher Gerrit Cole, as well as a strong number three starter in Wade Miley. The A's, on the other hand, have had to piece together a rotation which is comprised of too many inconsistent arms.

On Monday, Oakland's newest starter Homer Bailey got absolutely rocked, allowing nine runs in just two innings of work. That followed a subpar outing Sunday from Daniel Mengden, who only lasted 3 1/3 innings in Minnesota, giving up four runs.

Houston has multiple starters who can go out and win a game without much run support. The A's have to rely solely on their offense in many cases, simply asking their starters to keep them close.

[RELATED: Report: A's have inquired on trades for Stroman, Minor]

The Astros' bullpen has also been more effective than Oakland's this year, with Ryan Pressly, Will Harris, and Roberto Osuna all maintaining ERAs under 2.40. As good as Liam Hendriks has been for the A's this season, he and Yusmeiro Petit have really been the only reliable relievers in Oakland's bullpen. With Blake Treinen, Lou Trivino, and Joakim Soria all having down-years, the A's pen has not been the strength they expected it to be.

Despite the A's mammoth struggles against the Astros this season, they still find themselves in great position to earn a wild-card bid for the second straight year. That's where the focus should be right now. Forget about the division -- that belongs to Houston.