Athletics

MLB free agency: Nathan Eovaldi fit Red Sox price range, but not A's

MLB free agency: Nathan Eovaldi fit Red Sox price range, but not A's

The Hot Stove is starting to leave simmer and we can finally feel the heat. This free agency, it's started with pitching. And the second piece to the puzzle is Nathan Eovaldi. 

After becoming a postseason hero, Eovaldi is returning to the Red Sox, according to multiple national reports. The two sides have agreed to a four-year, $67.5 million deal, according to Mark Feinsand. 

For all he did in the Boston's World Series run, Eovaldi clearly placed himself outside of the A's and many others' price range. Between the Rays and Red Sox, Eovaldi went 6-7 with a 3.81 ERA, but then in 22 1/3 innings during the playoffs, he allowed just four earned runs. 

Perhaps no other team in baseball needs starting pitching more than the A's. Oakland essentially has no starting rotation right now -- that's not an exaggeration -- but now they can see how much top arms are costing teams. 

Patrick Corbin cost the Nationals $140 million and the Red Sox are paying Eovaldi, who has already had Tommy John surgery twice, just under $70 million. The A's are already in talks with bringing back Trevor Cahill, which won't take a big chunk out of their wallet.

After surprising everyone last season, Billy Beane has made it clear starting pitching is his No. 1 target this offseason. Does that mean taking a long look at Dallas Keuchel now that Corbin and Eovaldi are gone? 

The Red Sox are primed to make a repeat run, and if the A's want to build off last season, they're going to have to get serious about starting pitchers. 

A's catcher Beau Taylor far more confident in second big-league stint

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A's catcher Beau Taylor far more confident in second big-league stint

OAKLAND -- Beau Taylor toiled in the minor leagues for eight long years before finally getting his first big league call-up at the end of last season.

Needless to say, it was the thrill of a lifetime for the A's catcher, who wasn't sure he would ever make it to baseball's highest level.

"That's one of the greatest feelings, especially coming up with the team that drafted me,"  Taylor told NBC Sports California. "It was exciting."

Taylor only ended up getting five at-bats but did record his first major-league hit -- a double against the Angels. Even in his limited time with Oakland, he learned a great deal from his teammates.

"I didn't really know what to expect when I got up here," he said. "I mean, I've been up here during the (preseason) Bay Bridge series but didn't exactly know how it was during the season. It was eye-opening for me actually seeing how these guys get prepared each day for the game. It helped me grow as a player, knowing what they do in the weight room and just getting ready for the game mentally and physically."

Taylor, 29, earned his second major-league call-up earlier this month when Nick Hundley went on the injured list with back spasms. While Taylor was once again excited for the opportunity, it felt more like business as usual this time.

"(Last year) it still seemed like a little bit of a blur," he said. "This time, I can see a little bit more now. ... It's just more familiar. I feel like I belong. That's the best part, especially when everybody takes you in. I've caught all of these pitchers and been around these guys for a long time. It's a really good feeling."

That confidence has been reflected in Taylor's performance. He has notched three hits in 11 at-bats, belting his first career home run Tuesday night against the Orioles.

"I think since Beau has been here, this is the most comfortable we've seen him," A's manager Bob Melvin assessed. "I really have sensed a little different look in his eye and being comfortable here in the big leagues with his teammates."

Taylor's familiarity with his teammates has certainly helped him feel at home. He played alongside several current A's in Triple-A, Double-A, and even Single-A over the past few years.

"I've known a lot of these guys for a really long time," Taylor said. "It feels kind of like home, actually, being back up here. Everybody meshes well together. It feels really good to be here."

[RELATED: Semien thrives as A's leadoff hitter this season]

Taylor has also excelled defensively in his first few games, expertly managing the pitching staff and throwing out both attempted base stealers he's seen. That will definitely earn him more regular playing time as Josh Phegley's backup.

"We look to get Beau some consistent starts here, whether it's on day games, whether we have lefty-righties coming up where we can get him some good matchups," Melvin said. "I've been impressed by (him)."

A's vs. Orioles lineups: Chris Bassitt starts on the bump, Mark Canha in left

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A's vs. Orioles lineups: Chris Bassitt starts on the bump, Mark Canha in left

The A's hope to continue a winning streak against the Orioles as they conclude a three-game home series on Wednesday.

The O's decided to go with a first-time career opener in Jimmy Yacabonis. Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde did tell reporters prior to Tuesday's game that when it comes to the team's pitching "you kind of never know." So -- good luck with that. 

The Orioles lost a seventh straight game in Tuesday's 16-2 loss to the Green and Gold, so they're looking for Lady Luck to be on their side and take advantage of the team's mostly right-handed lineup. 

Baltimore will face Chris Bassitt who seeks his first win of the month following a hindering start against the Mariners on Monday. He finished his outing walking four batters which raised his walked to 15 total batters in his last five outings.

Here are how the lineups look to play out in Oakland. You can follow the action on NBC Sports California or by downloading and streaming on the MyTeams app:

Baltimore Orioles (21-52)

Jonathan Villar (SS)
Anthony Santander (RF)
Trey Mancini (1B)
Chance Sisco (C)
Renato Nunez (DH)
Rio Ruiz (3B)
Hanse Alberto (2B)
Stevie Wilkerson (LF)
Keon Broxton (CF)

Jimmy Yacabonis, P (1-1, 5.40 ERA)

Oakland A's (38-36)

Marcus Semien, SS
Matt Chapman, 3B
Matt Olson, 1B
Khris Davis, DH
Ramón Laureano, CF
Mark Canha, LF
Stephen Piscotty, RF
Chad Pinder, 2B
Josh Phegley, C

Chris Bassitt, P (3-3, 3.68 ERA)