Athletics

A's Mike Fiers exits game vs. Rangers with right arm nerve irritation

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AP

A's Mike Fiers exits game vs. Rangers with right arm nerve irritation

For the second straight start, A's right-hander Mike Fiers couldn't make it out of the second inning. This time, however, it was due to an injury.

Fiers left Saturday's game in Texas after 1 2/3 innings with right arm nerve irritation. The 34-year-old recorded the first two outs of the second inning before allowing a single to Danny Santana. Following a balk, A's manager Bob Melvin and trainer Nick Paparesta came out to examine Fiers, who was seen rubbing his forearm.

Fiers temporarily stayed in the game, allowing a two-run home run to Rougned Odor and a walk to Delino DeShields. His fastball velocity fell from 91-92 mph to 87-88 mph in those at-bats.

[RELATED: Where FanGraphs ranks A's in wild-card race]

Fortunately, the A's have stockpiled some impressive depth in their starting rotation, with Sean Manaea, Tanner Roark, Chris Bassitt, Homer Bailey, and Brett Anderson all pitching well, in addition to Fiers.

Still, Fiers has been Oakland's best starter for most of the season, going 14-4 with a 4.09 ERA. If he is forced to miss time, it would be a significant blow to the A's down the stretch.

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

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USATSI

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.

Ex-Giant, A's third base coach Matt Williams will next manage in Korea

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USATSI

Ex-Giant, A's third base coach Matt Williams will next manage in Korea

The A's coaching staff could look much different next season. 

A source told NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic that quality control coach Mark Kotsay interviewed for the Giants' managerial opening, the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser reported Monday that bench coach Ryan Christenson is a candidate for the Pittsburgh Pirates and third base coach Matt Williams has a new job lined up. 

Williams confirmed to NBC Sports California's Ben Ross in a text message that he will manage the Kia Tigers in Korea's KBO next season. MLB Network's Jon Heyman first reported the news, and Slusser was the first to confirm Heyman's report. 

The A's hired Williams in November 2017. He previously managed the Washington Nationals from 2014 through 2015, winning National League Manager of the Year in his first season in Washington's dugout. The 17-year MLB veteran compiled a 179-145 record as a manager, but Williams was fired by the Nationals after his second season with the team. Williams, who played for the Giants for 10 seasons, covered San Francisco as a studio analyst for NBC Sports Bay Area in 2017 after serving as the Arizona Diamondbacks' third base coach in 2016.

[RELATED: A's Stay or Go candidate for 2020 season: Ryan Buchter] 

Oakland made the playoffs in both of Williams' seasons as third base coach, losing in the AL Wild Card Game each time. 2018 and 2019 marked just the fifth time the A's qualified for the playoffs in consecutive seasons since moving to Oakland.

If the A's are going to play in the postseason again next October, they're likely to have some new faces in the dugout and in the third-base box.