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.

Why Tony La Russa believes 1989 A's are best Bay Area team ever assembled

Why Tony La Russa believes 1989 A's are best Bay Area team ever assembled

The 1989 A’s were something special.

They were crowned World Series champions after defeating the Giants in four games that bookended the devastating Loma Prieta earthquake. Oakland also finished the regular season with a 99-63 record. And for Tony La Russa, the team’s manager at the time, he dubbed it the best Bay Area championship team ever.

“I’m a great believer in not disrespecting anybody, whether it’s a great 49er team, or the Warriors, or the Giants, but there isn’t any team that would be better than the ‘89 A’s,” La Russa said in a recent interview with 95.7 The Game. “Because they were absolutely complete in every way. Not just talented checking every box, but also in their attitude about teammates playing hard, playing tough.”

NBC Sports Bay Area asked fans last week to vote for the best Bay Area dynasty of all time. While the mid-1970s A's team was included, the late-1980s A's were not.

Still, the 1989 A's were pretty good.

Mark McGwire was 25 years old and hit a team-leading 33 home runs that season with infielder Carney Lansford hitting a .336/.398/.405 line with 185 hits. 

This team also had Dave Henderson and Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson roaming the outfield. Rickey would end the season leading the league with 77 swiped bags. World Series MVP Dave Stewart was a dominant starter. Out of the bullpen, Dennis Eckersley collected 33 saves on the season, boasting a 1.56 ERA.

“So, the ‘89 team had, not only was it a really good team, almost great, but once you added Rickey, then we became truly great, and we added Mike Moore, which added an outstanding starting pitcher to the rotation, but it had something else man, it had a fever going,” La Russa said.

La Russa named every aspect of the team that brought them back to the Fall Classic that season. The infield, the outfield, the pitching staff, and of course, the coaches.

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The team also possessed the perfect balance of rookie and veterans to get to the big stage and win it all. 

“It was the perfect team,” he said.

Just about. 

Dave Stewart explains how shortened MLB season could affect players

Dave Stewart explains how shortened MLB season could affect players

MLB’s Opening Day has been pushed back multiple times, and currently, there is no set date for when the regular season will begin due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

That being said, the league made an agreement with players that the season’s beginning would entirely depend on recommendations set forth by the Centers for Disease Control.

And while players have been open about wanting to play the entirety of a 162-game season, both sides hope to play at least 100. A shortened season could be imminent. 

Dave Stewart, a former A’s pitcher and now an analyst at NBC Sports California, recently spoke to Brodie Brazil about what could happen if the season were to have less than what we’re used to. Stewart compared it to the 1981 strike in certain ways.

“In 1981, we went on strike, and we lost 60 games, so we played 102 games that year,” Stewart said. “It actually worked out pretty well. We played the seasons in halves, it was a round-robin playoff, it worked well.”

“Once you start looking at 100 [games] -- in that range, I think the season puts itself in jeopardy,” he added.

The monetary losses were astronomical during the ‘81 strike, but a compromise was reached at the end of July that year.

The season was split into two (before, and after the strike) which worked out for certain teams, but also forced promising teams to miss out on playoff hopes.

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MLB has laid many ideas out on the table for what could happen should the season begin in 2020. Seven-inning double-headers have been discussed in order for the season to reach as close to that 162 number as possible with mid-May being the best-case scenario to start. 

Recently, MLB and the MLB Players Association agreed the 2020 season could not begin while there are still travel bans, mass gatherings bans that limit the ability to play in front of fans, and until medical experts determine the games would not pose a risk to the health of teams and fans.