Athletics

A's rookie Chapman most likely sidelined until next week

A's rookie Chapman most likely sidelined until next week

The A’s aren’t expecting rookie third baseman Matt Chapman to return to the lineup until next week most likely.

Manager Bob Melvin told reporters in Houston that Chapman will rejoin the A’s and work out with the team Friday when they return to begin their next homestand against the Atlanta Braves. Chapman was placed on the 10-day D.L. Thursday with a knee infection that landed him in the hospital for a couple of days.

“He has not done any baseball activity yet,” Melvin said. “We're for sure going to do a couple of days worth of baseball activity. Whether or not he goes out for a (minor league rehab) game or two, we're still deciding on that depending on how he feels Friday.”

Melvin said he’s kept in touch with Chapman via text message, which keeps him in tune with how eager the rookie is to return to the lineup. The highly touted prospect received his first major league call-up June 15 and started four games before being sidelined with cellulitis, a bacterial infection, in his knee. The A’s checked him into a hospital so he could receive an intravenous antibiotic.

“He texts me all the time, after almost every game,” Melvin said. “He tells me he feels better than some of the reports I get sometimes. He's laying in a hospital bed telling me he's ready to play, so I take that with a grain of salt."

Source: Edwin Jackson, A's not on same page in contract negotiations

Source: Edwin Jackson, A's not on same page in contract negotiations

The A's met with representatives for starting pitcher Edwin Jackson last week at the MLB Winter Meetings, but according to a source, the two sides are not close on potential salary figures.

Jackson, 35, would like to return to Oakland, but he also has drawn interest from about seven other teams, including the Mets, Reds and Blue Jays. The right-hander is coming off a phenomenal bounce-back season, in which he went 6-3 with a 3.33 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 17 starts. The A's compiled a record of 14-3 in those starts.

Most industry insiders believe Jackson is worth between $6 million and $8 million on a one-year contract, but Oakland has not yet come close to either of those numbers. Jackson might be willing to accept a slight discount to return to the A's, but he likely won't want to lower the market for other free-agent pitchers.

For reference, the Detroit Tigers recently signed right-hander Tyson Ross to a one-year deal worth $5.75 million in base salary and another $250,000 in easy incentives. Ross, 31, went 8-9 with a 4.15 ERA and 1.30 WHIP last season, all significantly worse than Jackson's 2018 stats.

The Yankees signed left-hander CC Sabathia to a one-year, $8 million contract earlier this offseason. Sabathia, 38, went 9-7 with a 3.65 ERA and 1.31 WHIP last year.

While Jackson might have benefited from pitching in Oakland at the pitcher-friendly Coliseum, his ERA actually was slightly better on the road. Overall, he limited opposing batters to a .227 batting average.

Much of Jackson's value also came in the clubhouse, where he quickly became one of the veteran leaders on the A's. He is widely considered one of the best personalities in baseball and an unselfish teammate.

The A's concern could lie in Jackson's limited innings last season. He threw just 92 frames at the big league level after starting the year in Triple A, and he has not thrown more than 100 innings since 2014.

[RELATED: A's in no hurry to sign starting pitchers]

It remains to be seen if the A's can come to terms with Jackson, but they do have some other options. Oakland reportedly has shown interest in a handful of free-agent starters, including Trevor Cahill, Clay Buchholz and Shelby Miller.

One way or another, the A's figure to add at least two more starting pitchers by the start of the season.

Why Franklin Barreto should be A's starting second baseman in 2019

Why Franklin Barreto should be A's starting second baseman in 2019

The A's have said all the right things when it comes to Franklin Barreto.

Whether it's Billy Beane, David Forst or Bob Melvin, all have expressed great optimism in the 22-year-old's big league potential. However, their actions haven't quite matched that confidence in their top prospect.

Oakland has been linked to a handful of names at second base, both free agents and trade candidates. The A's reportedly have shown interest in DJ LeMahieu, Ian Kinsler, Jurickson Profar and, of course, last year's starter, Jed Lowrie.

"The good thing is there are a lot of options for us," Beane said last week at the MLB Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. "The best thing is we have an in-house option (Barreto) if need be, somebody who we think very highly of, and time will tell which one we go with."

While those are all fine options, it's time to give Barreto his shot. For years, we've heard about the talent and potential. Let's see what he can do in a full major league season.

Melvin told NBC Sports California that he'd be comfortable with Barreto as his everyday second baseman: "I would. If that's where we go with this, absolutely. He's still only 22 years old. And there was some debate whether he was ready a year and a half ago to come up here and play every day. So you really never know until you give him the opportunity."

Barreto has displayed his ability in flashes over the last couple of seasons, in limited opportunities. He hit five home runs in just 73 at-bats last year, including a colossal 444-foot blast to dead center in Anaheim on September 30.

"He's a very talented player," Melvin said. "He's got a lot of time with the Chapmans and the Olsons and these guys, part of that Pinder group of guys who played together and had a lot of success together (in the minors). I'm a big Franklin Barreto guy. If that's where we ended up and he was the everyday guy, I'd be fine with it."

Barreto's biggest problem has been plate discipline. He has struck out 62 times in 144 career major league at-bats, a rate of 43 percent. But he has made great strides in that area in winter ball in Venezuela.

"He's having a really nice winter," Forst said. "His strikeout ratio has improved. So we're keeping tabs on that."

[RELATED: How early free agent contracts could be bad news for the A's]

Added Melvin: "We've seen, at times, him be really good about controlling the strike zone, and that's when he has tons of success. Then when he struggles some, he maybe starts to expand a little bit more. ... I think he has the ability to do it. He works really hard. He's one of the hardest working guys we had. He's got a ton of talent. He's got power and speed. There's a lot for him to offer."

Giving the everyday job to Barreto also would save the A's some serious cash. Barreto will make just $555,000 next season, where Lowrie or LeMahieu easily could cost upwards of $10 million. Think of the starting pitching Oakland could add for that amount.

Will Barreto develop into a solid major league second baseman? That remains to be seen. But the A's will never know unless they give him a chance.