Athletics

MLB rumors: Marcus Semien interested in contract extension with A's

semienusatsi.jpg
USATSI

MLB rumors: Marcus Semien interested in contract extension with A's

A's shortstop Marcus Semien had an impressive 2019 season despite not receiving any honors. As his free agency looms, both player and team appear to be interested in discussing an extension.

MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported the 2019 AL MVP hopeful "has told the A's he's interested" in an extension:

Heyman also said the A's would love to hold on to the Bay Area native and it's easy to see why.

Last season, the 29-year-old slashed .285/.369/.522 with 33 home runs and 92 RBI. He also started each of the 162 games and led the league in plate appearances. His plate disciple and defense improved as well.

In 2020, Semien will be in his final season of team control through arbitration. According to MLB Trade Rumors, he's projected to make $13.5 million.

But ...

Both parties being interested in one another doesn't mean much, especially when Semien has plenty of leverage coming off the season he just had with free agency approaching. He also just switched agencies. 

[RELATED: Gammons suggest Semien could be traded in near future]

Semien will turn 30 next September, which could worry some teams. However, he doesn't appear to be the type to wear down after blowing out 30 candles on his birthday cake. 

It's difficult to picture him signing a six or seven-year deal, especially as someone who doesn't have an expanded resume of accomplishments. He deserved more honors.

The A's could reach deeper into their pockets, but that's not a characteristic they're known for.

Ex-A's pitcher, now playing in Korea, details how league is nearing return

Ex-A's pitcher, now playing in Korea, details how league is nearing return

Real professional baseball games could be played as early as the end of the month in the Korean Baseball Organization.

They’ve been making strides in order to have the regular-season begin with exhibition games being scheduled for around April 21. 

Former A’s pitcher Dan Straily is currently in Busan, South Korea playing for the Lotte Giants in the KBO which is currently holding baseball activities at stadiums. 

“You go to your mouth, you go to your forehead, you touch your face constantly as a pitcher, I don’t know why we do, but we do,” Straily said in an interview with ESPN’s Jeff Passan. “One thing that's a little different too is they don’t rub up the baseballs, so the baseballs are basically pre-treated.”

He has a one-up on the baseball players in America, but it’s more than him playing the game. There’s a mental aspect behind it as well.

“I think it keeps me sane," Straily said. “I talked to a lot of guys that are back in the states, and they’re all curious like ‘What are you guys doing? How are things going?’ A few of them had opportunities to come over here that chose to stay in America, and at this point, looking like I made the right choice to come over here, just for the simple fact that I’m playing.”

Straily made a point that a lot of people’s purpose is to go to work, and he still gets to do that while many people in the world have that wish. 

“I’m still going to work every day, I’m working toward an Opening Day, I’m working towards a season, preparing for all that,” he said. “It gives me a lot more daily motivation to keep going.” 

Overseas, they’re making a point to ensure the safety of the public.

Straily, who was with Oakland from 2012-14, suggested how important it was to wear a mask in South Korea two weeks ago. Former MLB catcher Hank Conger was actually told to leave a bank when he walked in without a mask. Straily took a recent shopping trip and they wouldn’t let him grab a cart without it being completely disinfected first.

When he arrives at the stadium, he needs to have his temperature taken, you must have hand sanitizer, and you must go through a thermal camera. 

“If you’re too warm, you’re out of here,” Straily described. 

Straily’s wife, Amanda, is a nurse and has been dealing with her fair share of stresses due to the coronavirus pandemic. She’s lucky enough to be able to work home, but that was a recent situation.

MLB reportedly is currently working on a plan to bring the regular season back as early as May. 

The overview would mean all 30 clubs (including the newly expanded rosters that were already implemented) playing games in the Phoenix, Ariz. area

This would result in players having to isolate themselves in hotels. 

There are so many factors involved here.

[RELATED: Dave Stewart on impact of possible shortened season]

Passan says this is the “best option,” if people wanted to quarantine themselves in a hotel room for four and a half months. These athletes would be solo, without families as they would be separated from the rest of the population, including fans.

Fans would not be in attendance with this plan either. The stands would be reserved for the players to sit and be at a social-distancing length apart.

MLB released a statement on Tuesday saying no definitive plan had been implemented as of yet.

MLB rumors: A's expected to sign prospect Pedro Pineda for $4M or more

ashatap.jpg
AP

MLB rumors: A's expected to sign prospect Pedro Pineda for $4M or more

The A's aren't known for handing out large contracts and could have some tough free-agency decisions to make on Marcus Semien, Matt Chapman and Matt Olson in the coming years.

But the A's are expected to make a splash on the international market. While MLB's season continues to be on hiatus with the coronavirus pandemic, the signing period still is scheduled to open on July 2 but the league does have the ability to delay the start date until Jan. 15, 2021. 

Baseball America's Ben Badler reported Monday that the A's are likely to hand out the largest J2 international contract this year. Oakland is expected to sign outfielder Pedro Pineda out of the Dominican Republic for more than $4 million. 

Pineda, 16, already is listed at 6-feet tall and 180 pounds. Here's how Badler describes Pineda's skill set: "He's a strong, athletic, physical center fielder with a loud tool set and a power/speed threat. He's a center fielder with excellent speed, a fast bat and the power potential to hit 25-plus home runs."

Here's a video of Pineda hitting and wearing A's gear last month.

Baseball America also has a longer video of Pineda launching homers.

[RELATED: Stewart addresses how short MLB season will affect players]

The A's signed shortstop Robert Pauson, MLB.com's No. 2 international prospect for 2019, to a $5.1 million contract last July. Pauson, 17, already is ranked as the A's No. 4 prospect by MLB Pipeline. He sits behind just Jesus Luzardo, A.J. Puk and Sean Murphy, all of whom made their big league debuts last year.

The A's can only hope Pineda has as much talent as Pauson. Both players should add to Oakland's top-heavy farm system.