MLB rumors: A's interested in four-time All-Star catcher Matt Wieters


MLB rumors: A's interested in four-time All-Star catcher Matt Wieters

The A's catching situation remains up in the air despite Josh Phegley and Chris Herrmann looking at platooning behind the plate in 2019.

And even with Stephen Vogt holding workouts for interested teams, we don't know if the A's are one of the teams of interest. On Thursday, Matt Wieters is a name that was brought forth as a possible candidate to take up those responsibilities:

The current free agent will enter his 11th year in the majors this season, spending the last two with the Nationals. In 2018, he only played in 76 games, posting a .238/.330/.374 slash line with eight home runs and 30 RBI. His season before wasn't exactly brag-worthy, either. 

For now, let's think about his time with the Orioles where across eight seasons he boasted a .256 batting average with 117 home runs. He also won four All-Star selections, two Gold Glove Awards, and was even in MVP talks in 2012.

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Wieters turns 33 in May, so you could imagine he would be seeking a one-year deal, perhaps in the $4 to $5 million range. He still has value as a veteran, and the A's could use a player of his capability. With the A's having other capable catcher as well, he wouldn't be overworked in the squat, too.

Joakim Soria rewarding A's offseason faith during MLB playoffs push

Joakim Soria rewarding A's offseason faith during MLB playoffs push

OAKLAND -- To say that this season hasn't gone as Joakim Soria had hoped would be an understatement.

The A's had high expectations when they signed the veteran reliever to a two-year, $15 million contract in the offseason. After all, Soria recorded a 3.12 ERA in 66 games last season between the Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers in 2018, striking out 75 batters in 60 2/3 innings.

This year has been a completely different story. Soria, 35, is just 1-4 with a 4.50 ERA, the worst of his 12-year career. Recently, however, Soria has shown glimpses of his All-Star days.

After missing nine games earlier this month with inflammation in his elbow, Soria has looked like a completely different pitcher. In two appearances since returning, the right-hander has tossed two perfect innings with four strikeouts.

"I felt good," Soria told NBC Sports California on Friday after the A's 8-0 win over the Texas Rangers at the Coliseum. "Everything was working right and hopefully it continues that way."

Soria's velocity was up as well Friday, even hitting 95 mph with his four-seam fastball. He was dominant on back-to-back nights.

"I think it was getting healthy," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "His workload was extreme. You know, this is not a 21-year-old. He's (had two) Tommy John (surgeries). We used him a lot. I think the break did help him. Obviously, we don't want to see anyone get a little nicked up like he was, but I do think the break helped him and it looks like all of his pitches are fired up again."

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If Soria could find his old form, it would provide an incredible boost for the A's bullpen down the stretch and into the postseason. It certainly wouldn't be the first time a pitcher has struggled during the regular season only to catch fire during the playoffs -- think Barry Zito with the Giants in 2012.

"It's always good to get back healthy and throw good outings," Soria said. "It's really good for your mental point of view."

Soria now has has struck out six in 4 2/3 scoreless innings in September, allowing just one hit and one walk. Sure, that's a small sample size, but it's still a promising development for the A's ahead of their playoff push.

Mike Fiers makes case to start AL wild-card game in A's win vs. Rangers


Mike Fiers makes case to start AL wild-card game in A's win vs. Rangers

OAKLAND -- I guess it's safe to say that Mike Fiers' hand feels just fine.

After leaving his last start early with numbness in his pitching hand, the right-hander responded with eight scoreless innings Saturday night, allowing just two hits with five strikeouts, as the A's shut out the Rangers, 8-0.

"I felt fine," Fiers confirmed after the game. "Just a sigh of relief that everything was good, so now (I have) peace of mind that I can go back out there and pitch."

Fiers improved to 15-4 on the season, marking the most wins by an A's pitcher since Scott Kazmir won 15 in 2014. He also looked like the Mike Fiers we've seen for most of the year, following three straight disappointing outings where he allowed 16 earned runs in 7 2/3 innings.

"The last three starts haven't been ideal, so I wanted to show these guys I've still got it," Fiers said. "When you have those starts back-to-back-to-back, only going one inning in two of those games, it just looks bad. It's a bad look. Everyone's throwing well, so if I do that, it might set in their mind that, 'Hey, we need to get this guy some more work.' So coming out today, I needed to make a statement and show them I could still pitch and (I'm) still the guy out there fighting."

Fiers, 34, has been especially effective at the Coliseum this season. In 16 home starts, he has gone 9-1 with a 2.54 ERA.

"(He has) a lot of confidence," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "When he takes the mound here, you know he feels good, and the numbers would suggest that. It's a really good ballpark for him. When he's got all his pitches going like he did tonight -- his slider and changeup with his fastball and curveball -- he's a tough guy to deal with."

"I like pitching here. I feel comfortable," Fiers said. "The weather's great. It's not humid. It just feels like home and I love pitching here. I think the confidence is just a little bit higher. I love it here."

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That certainly makes Fiers an intriguing option to start the AL Wild Card Game, especially if it's in Oakland. While the A's lead the Rays and Indians by just two games in that race, Fiers admits to looking forward to that opportunity.

"Everyone wants to make it tough on Bob (Melvin) to choose who it's going to be or what plan we're going to go with," Fiers said. "But it's all about winning that game today."