Athletics

MLB rumors: A's want to re-sign Jed Lowrie in free agency

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MLB rumors: A's want to re-sign Jed Lowrie in free agency

Jed Lowrie's age-34 season couldn't have gone much better in 2018 and the A's reportedly want to reward him for that in free agency. 

The A's want to bring back the second baseman and expect to make him an offer, according to Ken Rosenthal. In his 11th season in the bigs the veteran had a breakout year. 

Lowrie made his first All-Star Game this past season after batting .285 with 16 home runs in the first half. His numbers dropped in the second half -- .239, seven home runs -- but Lowrie continued to be a mainstay in the A's lineup throughout the season. 

Even at 34 years old nearly the entire season, Lowrie played a career-high 157 games in 2018. He finished the year slashing .267/.353/.448 and hit a career-high 23 home runs. 

Don't start thinking his age has slowed him down on defense, either. Lowrie, along with the rest of the A's infield, is an AL Gold Glove finalist at second base. If he wins, it would be the first of his career. 

In his second stint with the A's, Lowrie has hit .270 with a .767 OPS and 39 home runs the past three seasons. 

MLB free agency: Five possible left-handed outfielders A's could target

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MLB free agency: Five possible left-handed outfielders A's could target

The A's lineup was dominated by right-handed hitters this season, with only Matt Olson swinging a left-handed bat in the middle of the order.

Oakland would like to change that next year, particularly in the outfield, where Mark Canha, Stephen Piscotty, and Ramón Laureano all bat from the right side.

Here are five left-handed outfield bats the A's could pursue in free agency:

Corey Dickerson

Dickerson slashed .304/.341/.565 with 12 home runs, 28 doubles, and 59 RBI in 78 games between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia this year. The 30-year-old saw his season come to a premature end due to a broken foot, but he should be good to go next year.

In seven major league seasons, Dickerson has posted an impressive .286/.328/.504 slash line, earning a trip to the All-Star Game in 2017 as a member of the Rays. He is also a strong defensive left fielder, winning a Gold Glove in 2018 with the Pirates.

Dickerson earned $8.5 million this year and figures to see a similar salary moving forward. If the A's decide to trade Piscotty or Canha, Dickerson would be an ideal replacement.

Kole Calhoun

Calhoun has tormented the A's for the last eight years as a member of the Angels. Why not see what he could do in green and gold?

Calhoun, 32, slashed .232/.325/.467 this season with a career-high 33 homers, 29 doubles, and 74 RBI. He has played all three outfield positions during his major league career, winning a Gold Glove as a right fielder in 2015.

Calhoun completed a three-year, $26 million contract with the Angels but figures to get less than that this offseason. His bat could be a nice addition to the A's lineup.

Alex Gordon

The longtime Kansas City Royal hits the free-agent market as a 35-year-old who can still swing the bat. Gordon slashed .266/.345/.396 this year with 13 home runs, 31 doubles, and 76 RBI.

In 13 seasons with the Royals, Gordon has posted a .258/.339/.413 slash line, making three All-Star Games and winning a staggering seven Gold Gloves in left field. He can also play right and center field.

Gordon finished a four-year, $72 million deal, but at his age, he won't get anywhere near that in free agency this offseason. He could, however, contribute to the A's with both his bat and glove.

Jacoby Ellsbury

Ellsbury is the classic low-risk, high-reward free agent. He was released this week by the Yankees, who will still have to pay him $26 million next season. That means he will be available to sign for the league minimum in free agency.

Ellsbury, 36, hasn't played since 2017 due to various injuries, but his career .284/.342/.417 slash line makes him worth a flier. He slashed .264/.348/.402 with seven homers, 20 doubles, and 39 RBI in 112 games in 2017.

Again, there's virtually no risk in signing Ellsbury to a contract for the league minimum. If he can come back healthy, he can certainly impact a major league roster.

Brett Gardner

Gardner is probably the least realistic option of the group. The 36-year-old appears likely to re-sign with the Yankees. But at the very least, he's worth a look.

[RELATED: Gammons suggests A's could trade Semien]

Gardner is coming off the best season of his 12-year career, slashing .251/.325/.503 with 28 home runs, 26 doubles, and 74 RBI. He is also a stellar defensive left fielder, winning a Gold Glove in 2016.

Gardner earned $7.5 million this year and figures to get a similar salary in 2020. If the Yankees end up moving on without him, the A's should consider a call to his agent.

Peter Gammons suggests A's could trade Marcus Semien in near future

Peter Gammons suggests A's could trade Marcus Semien in near future

Marcus Semien enjoyed a career-year in just about every way imaginable this past season. The Cal product had a dream season in every sense of the word for the A's. 

But how long will the Bay Area native's tenure last in Oakland? History suggests Semien's time with the A's could be running out, which makes longtime baseball writer Peter Gammons believe the star shortstop might be on the move in the near future. 

"David Forst and Billy Beane love this A's team ... they especially love Semien, who's the leader of this team," Gammons said Wednesday on MLB Network. "He's a local guy, he was born in Berkeley right down the road. But, we still don't know what's gonna happen with the ballpark.

"It's fine to say eventually we're gonna get it, but by the time they actually get the ballpark opened, Marcus is gonna be old enough to run for president, so he might not be interested in staying in Oakland." 

Harsh but possibly true. The A's are, however, a step closer to getting a new stadium built in Oakland. On Nov. 13, the Oakland City Council directed the City Attorney to immediately drop Oakland's lawsuit against Alameda County, paving the way for the sale of the Coliseum.

"We are pleased that the Oakland City Council has directed the City Attorney to immediately drop this lawsuit," A's President Dave Kaval said in a team statement. "We are committed to the long-term success of East Oakland and the Coliseum site. We look forward to finalizing our agreement with Alameda County, and creating a mutually beneficial partnership with the City of Oakland."

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred previously had warned Oakland officials in October to drop the lawsuit for fear of losing the team to relocation.

The A's plan to open a waterfront ballpark at Howard Terminal near Jack London Square for the 2023 season. Semien would be 32 years old by then, and certainly could still be putting up huge numbers. 

This past season, Semien played in all 162 games and had career-highs across the board. He hit .285 with 33 homers, finished third in AL MVP voting and was worth 8.1 bWAR. While Semien's breakout year at the plate was huge, his improvement on defense was even more incremental. Semien used to be a detriment to the A's at shortstop, but he was a Gold Glove finalist last season. 

"Somewhere along the line, he's gonna be a fascinating person either for the future of the A's or for somebody else in the future," Gammons said.

Semien is expected to earn nearly $14 million in arbitration this offseason and becomes a free agent after next season. Signing Semien to a long-term contract would energize the fan base and help the product on the field. As we've seen many times in the past, however, it's not that easy with the A's. 

[RELATED: Where A's MVP finalist Marcus Semien wants to improve]

“That’s a first-world problem when your shortstop is pricing himself out of your market,” Beane told NBC Sports California in September.

The ball's in your court, Billy. The A's will have to pay up for Semien's services in the near future or once again face the disappointment of their fans.