Athletics

MLB commissioner tells Oakland to drop lawsuit or A's could relocate

MLB commissioner tells Oakland to drop lawsuit or A's could relocate

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred was in attendance for the A's AL Wild Card Game loss to the Rays at the Coliseum, but he also has made his presence known in Oakland in even bigger ways recently. 

The San Francisco Chronicle's Phil Matier reported Sunday that Manfred told Oakland officials they need to drop their lawsuit of the Coliseum land site to the A's or risk the team relocating to another city. 

“He kind of laid down the law,” City Councilman Larry Reid, who also sits on the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority, said to the Chronicle. 

The A’s want to develop the 155-acre Coliseum site to help pay for a privately financed ballpark, which they have proposed be built at Howard Terminal near Jack London Square. One warning Manfred made to officials is that the A's could make Las Vegas their future home, just like the Raiders are. 

“The commissioner pointed out that Bay Area fans will soon be going to Las Vegas to see the Raiders and that unless things changed, Bay Area fans may be going to Las Vegas or elsewhere to see the A’s as well,” Reid said to the Chronicle. 

The A's moved their Triple-A affiliate to Las Vegas this season and saw great results. The Las Vegas Aviators led all of the minor leagues in attendance (650,934) and average attendance (9,299) in their inaugural season. 

While the $150 million Las Vegas Ballpark seats 10,000 fans, the Aviators recorded 47 sellouts in 2019 and housed a stadium record 12,111 fans on May 14. 

[RELATED: Why A's will win World Series within next three seasons]

Oakland already has lost the Warriors to San Francisco this year and will lose the Raiders to Sin City in 2020. Manfred is making it clear he doesn't want to see the same happen to the A's, but the county, the city and the A's brass all have to be on the same page. 

It feels like the three haven't come together in quite some time.

Why A's need to address bullpen this offseason, according to MLB.com

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AP

Why A's need to address bullpen this offseason, according to MLB.com

The A's bullpen relied on different faces in 2019, but it was once again strong. 

Liam Hendriks emerged as the team's closer, while one-time stalwarts Blake Treinen and Lou Trivino struggled to reach their 2018 heights. Still, the A's finished the season seventh in bullpen ERA (3.89), third in FIP (3.98) and fourth in WAR (6.9). In 2018, the A's ranked third, 11th and sixth in those respective categories. 

Oakland's relievers also led the majors in blown saves (30), and the group could be due for a lot of turnover in 2020. September call-ups Jesús Luzardo and A.J. Puk are headed to the rotation, while the A's will have to make decisions on Treinen, Jake Diekman and Yusmeiro Petit. Writing for MLB.com Friday, Will Leitch argued that the A's should embrace change in their bullpen this offseason.

"The A’s keep falling short in the AL Wild Card Game, but considering where the Astros are likely to be next year, that may be their ceiling again," Leitch wrote. "So more arms might be the answer for a team whose lineup looks to be terrific top to bottom in 2020."

Relievers like Aroldis Chapman, Will Smith and Kenley Jansen almost certainly will be out of the A's price range this winter, but there is a long list of free-agent options to re-tool their bullpen on the fly. Plus, the A's have intriguing pitching prospects in Daulton Jeffries, James Kaprielian and Grant Holmes who conceivably could follow in Luzardo and Puk's footsteps by making their big league debuts out of the 'pen.

[RELATED: Ex-Athletic Maxwell still receives death threats after protest]

Given the rollercoaster nature of relief pitching, though, standing pat is an option. Now healthy, Treinen and Trivino seem like good candidates to bounce back in 2020, and regression to their respective career means would give manager Bob Melvin more options in the later innings. 

The A's surely would like more consistency from their bullpen in 2019, but the results weren't all that far off from the group that was Oakland's strength in 2018. A few tweaks might be just what the A's need for perception to match reality.

Why A's All-Star reliever Blake Treinen could be non-tender candidate

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USATSI

Why A's All-Star reliever Blake Treinen could be non-tender candidate

The MLB offseason is fast approaching, which means it's time to prepare for moves to be made. Things will start to happen five days after the World Series champion is crowned and the weather turns cold.

MLB.com's Mark Feinsand recently put out an article detailing some surprising players who will be non-tender candidates.

Non-tendered essentially means when a club declines to give a certain player a contract for the upcoming season, making them a free agent. A club usually will non-tender a player because it feels the monetary value he would receive from arbitration would be greater than his value on the field.

A's reliever Blake Treinen is one of them.

"Treinen earned $6.4 million in his second year of arbitration-eligibility, winning his case against the Athletics last offseason," Feinsand wrote. "Treinen was fresh off of an incredible season that saw him post a 0.78 ERA, 38 saves and 0.834 WHIP, but the 2019 season was not as kind to the right-hander. Treinen, 31, had a 4.91 ERA and a 1.619 WHIP, both career worsts. Oakland could decide to cut ties with him rather than give him a raise."

As Feinsand addressed, Treinen had a completely different season in 2019 than the outstanding one he left behind in the previous season.

The typical dominant closer switched to more of a setup role. And while Liam Hendriks did a sensational job taking over those responsibilities, Treinen never recovered. He ended up exiting the season early because of back problems, which shifted Chris Bassitt to the bullpen.

MLB Trade Rumors' annual arbitration projections expect Treinen's salary figure to be $7.8 million. That's quite the gamble on someone who didn't live up to expectations in 2019.

So perhaps this isn't much of a surprise at all.

Last season, Mike Fiers was non-tendered by the A's, who were starving for starting pitching. The team ultimately signed the starter to a two-year contract, and that return on investment turned out to be successful.