Athletics

MLB All-Star Game roster: A's slugger Matt Chapman selected to AL team

MLB All-Star Game roster: A's slugger Matt Chapman selected to AL team

Just as we expected (and A's fans hoped), Matt Chapman has been selected as Oakland's representative for the 2019 All-Star Game in Cleveland for the AL team as a reserve. 

The third baseman entered Sunday slashing a .264/.353/.532 line with 20 home runs and 46 RBI ... before he hit a three-run dinger against the Angels on Sunday. Last season, across 145 games he hit just 24 home runs, and he's now on pace to almost double that come season's end. 

The All-Star reserves were filled via the player ballot and the Commissioner's Office. As has been the case since 2017, the AL and NL managers have no say in any of the roster construction. 

Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman was named the starter, and he, Chapman and Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado are considered the best at the position in Major League Baseball. 

Chapman, the 2019 Platinum and Gold Glove Award winner, also made a case for himself with his glove. All year, he has saved A's pitchers from disappointment with web gem after web gem from the hot corner. 

[RELATED: Chapman would love contract extension with A's]

This is Chapman's first career All-Star selection.

We will be seeing you in Cleveland, Chappy, and congratulations. 

A's DFA RHP Jharel Cotton, add Daulton Jefferies to 40-man roster

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A's DFA RHP Jharel Cotton, add Daulton Jefferies to 40-man roster

Jharel Cotton made 24 starts for the A's in 2017. After two years ravaged from injuries, the right-hander was designated for assignment on Wednesday. 

The A's DFA'd Cotton to make room on the 40-man roster for pitching prospect Daulton Jefferies. 

Cotton, 27, went 2-0 with a 2.15 ERA over five starts as a rookie in 2016. He looked like someone primed to have a place in the rotation for years to come. But he struggled with his command and had a 5.58 ERA in 2017. 

Cotton underwent Tommy John surgery in March 2018, and looked to make his return to the big leagues this past season. He missed all of June with a hamstring injury while rehabbing in the minors, and never found his rhythm on the mound.

Over 18 minor league outings -- 14 in Triple-A, four in Advanced Single-A -- Cotton pitched just 27 2/3 innings in 2019. He finished 1-3 with a 7.16 ERA. 

The A's will be on the hunt for pitching depth this offseason, but Cotton likely will not be a part of the future anymore. 

Oakland added Jefferies to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. The Cal product put up big numbers in his first full season since Tommy John surgery. 

Jefferies, 24, underwent the surgery in 2017 after two games and tossed only two innings of Rookie ball in 2018. He was back to healthy this season and showed why he's one of the A's top prospects. 

[RELATED: Five relievers A's could target during MLB free agency]

Between Advanced Single-A Stockton and Double-A Midland, Jeffries went 2-2 with a 3.42 ERA this past season. He appeared in 26 games -- 15 starts -- and struck out 93 batters in 79 innings. 

Jefferies is ranked as the A's No. 12 prospect by MLB Pipeline, and could possibly push for his MLB debut in 2020.

MLB free agency: Five infielders A's could target this offseason

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MLB free agency: Five infielders A's could target this offseason

The A's infield appears mostly set for the 2020 season, but there are still questions to answer at second base and behind the plate. Oakland could choose to bring back Jurickson Profar and Josh Phegley, or they could instead turn to the free agent market at those positions.

With that in mind, here are five infielders the A's could target in free agency:

Stephen Vogt - C

We know that the A's have already reached out to their former catcher to discuss a reunion. Vogt is coming off a strong season with the Giants, slashing .263/.314/.490 with 10 home runs, 24 doubles, and 40 RBI in 99 games.

The 35-year-old is still extremely popular in the A's organization and among Oakland fans. He would be an excellent mentor for young Sean Murphy, with the two forming a potent platoon behind the plate.

Vogt figures to earn a raise from this year's league-minimum salary of $555K but should still be affordable for the A's, if they choose to move on from Phegley.

Jason Castro - C

Castro represents another left-handed bat to platoon with Murphy behind the plate. The 32-year-old is a Castro Valley native and played his college baseball at Stanford.

Castro posted a .232/.332/.435 slash line with the Twins this season, blasting 13 homers and 30 RBI in 79 games. He is also one of the better defensive catchers in the league, particularly when it comes to pitch framing.

Castro earned $8 million this year in the final season of his three-year contract with Minnesota. He almost certainly won't get that much money in his next contract, though he may still be more expensive than Vogt.

Eric Sogard - 2B

Sogard spent his first six major league seasons in Oakland, where he became a fan favorite, thanks in part to his distinctive "Nerd Power" glasses. This season, Sogard reminded us that Nerd Power can also translate to some serious production on the field.

The 33-year-old enjoyed the best season of his career, slashing .290/.353/.457 with 13 home runs, 23 doubles, and 40 RBI in 110 games between Toronto and Tampa Bay. If the A's choose to trade or non-tender Profar, Sogard could take over the starting second baseman job and add a much-needed left-handed bat to the lineup.

Sogard earned just $555K this year and will get a significant raise in free agency. However, he could still cost less than Profar's projected $5.8 million in arbitration.

Jason Kipnis - 2B 

Kipnis has spent his entire nine-year career with the Indians, slashing .261/.333/.417. This past season, those numbers dipped a bit to .245/.304/.410, but he still notched 17 homers, 23 doubles, and 65 RBI in 121 games.

The 32-year-old should still have some productive seasons in front of him and, like Sogard, he would provide another left-handed bat in the A's lineup, if Oakland decides to move on from Profar.

Kipnis just completed a six-year, $52.5 million deal with Cleveland but figures to come a bit cheaper now. The A's might even be able to snag him on a one-year contract.

[RELATED: Five relievers A's could target]

Ben Zobrist - 2B

Zobrist is 38 years old but can still swing the bat when healthy. The former A has a career slash line of .266/.357/.426 in 14 seasons, the last four coming with the Cubs.

Zobrist only played in 47 games this year due to personal issues, but in 2018, he hit .305/.378/.440 with nine home runs, 28 doubles, and 58 RBI in 139 games. The switch-hitter could provide the A's with an additional left-handed bat against right-handed pitching.

Zobrist earned $12.5 million this year in the final season of a four-year, $56 million deal with Chicago. With his age and uncertainty, he could be available for fairly cheap.