Athletics

A's Matt Olson pinpoints why his entire offensive game is taking off

A's Matt Olson pinpoints why his entire offensive game is taking off

OAKLAND -- Matt Olson has rapidly become one of the best all-around first basemen in baseball.

Olson's defense has always been tremendous, as has his power-hitting ability, but now his entire offensive game has taken off. The 25-year-old went 4-for-4 with a home run and three RBI on Saturday night, extending his hitting streak to 10 games, as the A's blasted the Detroit Tigers, 10-2.

"I just feel like I'm becoming more aware of my swing," Olson said. "When something feels off, I feel like I'm addressing it sooner than I have in the past and kind of getting back on track. I feel like that's been big for me this year."

Since the All-Star break, Olson is batting .304 with 10 home runs, 12 doubles, and 35 RBI. He's hitting .390 during his current 10-game hitting streak and shows no signs of slowing down.

"He'll hit the ball the other way and he has some power the other way," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "He's got a great eye. He makes you throw the ball over the plate. I think, a couple of years ago, when he had the half that he did in the second half of the season, hitting all of those homers, he just kind of came into his own at that point and has just excelled since then."

Olson matched a career-high with his 29th home run of the season Saturday despite missing 34 games to injury earlier this year, and his .275 batting average is tied for second on the A's.

"It's pretty amazing what he's accomplished in the (limited) time and at-bats that he has," Melvin marveled. "He does it off left-handed pitching, he does it off right-handed pitching, he's durable, he's in there every day. He played 162 games last year, but to put up the numbers he has to this point with missing a significant amount of time is pretty amazing."

[RELATED: How A's plan to use Montas]

Olson is on pace to set career-highs in nearly every major offensive category this season. He believes his improvement is due to a better approach at the plate and overall knowledge of strategy.

"I have a better understanding of what (pitchers) are trying to do," Olson explained. "I've known that I've always had this kind of consistency in the tank but it's been something that I've never fully tapped into. I feel like I'm just starting to do it and hopefully can continue it as long as possible."
 

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

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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

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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.