Athletics

Sean Manaea considering wearing mask in starts during 2020 MLB season

Sean Manaea considering wearing mask in starts during 2020 MLB season

With baseball activities picking back up over the weekend, we've seen most players wearing a mask during drills at ballparks around the country.

A's starter Sean Manaea is considering taking the precautionary measure a step further.

While speaking with media in Oakland on Sunday, the left-handed pitcher admitted he's considering wearing a mask during his starts this season.

While MLB isn't forcing players to wear a mask while playing, Manaea's action would go a long way to protecting himself and his A's teammates.

Masks have become a hot-button subject around the country, but baseball players know that they are walking a fine line between playing the 2020 MLB season and having it canceled because too many players contracted the coronavirus.

Even with the season cut down from 162 to 60 games, the A's have high expectations this year, and Manaea's presence on the field will go a long way to determining if they can achieve their goal of winning the World Series or if they will fall short again.

[RELATED: Diekmans appreciate Melvin's message to A's]

Manaea, 28, is expected to be one of the leaders of the A's rotation, along with veteran Mike Fiers. Last season, Manaea pitched in only five games after recovering from left shoulder surgery. But in those five starts, he was dominant, to the tune of a 1.21 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 29 2/3 innings.

The A's need that version of Manaea this season, and if it means wearing a mask during his start, it's a move he's willing to consider.

MLB rumors: Ramón Laureano suspension reduced from A's-Astros brawl

MLB rumors: Ramón Laureano suspension reduced from A's-Astros brawl

After an appeal, A's outfielder Ramón Laureano will have his suspension reduced from six games down to four, league sources told ESPN's Jeff Passan on Friday morning.

Laureano was suspended after charging toward the Houston Astros dugout Sunday following an exchange of words with coach Alex Cintrón. Laureano just had been hit by a pitch for the third time in the series. Cintron was suspended 20 games for his role in instigating the incident.

Laureano told reporters after the game that Cintrón had said something about Laureano's mother that prompted him to charge toward the dugout. Cintron denied the allegation, but MLB's suspension of Cintron for a third of the Astros' games seems to indicate he said something objectionable.

Houston has been a target of much frustration around MLB following the revelation of a systemic sign-stealing scheme the Astros utilized during the 2017 season, one in which they went on to win the World Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

[RELATED: Why A's will greatly miss Laureano during his suspension]

Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly was suspended eight games earlier this season after throwing at multiple Houston hitters and mocking shortstop Carlos Correa after a strikeout, prompting the benches to clear.

As Passan noted above, Laureano's suspension will carry through all three games of this weekend's Bay Bridge Series against the Giants, and the first game of Oakland's next series in Arizona against the Diamondbacks. The outfielder won't miss any divisional contests.

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]
 

Scott Boras discusses Matt Chapman's contract status, A's philosophy

Scott Boras discusses Matt Chapman's contract status, A's philosophy

A’s third baseman Matt Chapman is really good at baseball. That could complicate things down the line.

The two-time Platinum Glove Award winner and 2019 All-Star is one of the best third basemen in the game, and according to his agent, Scott Boras, he should be treated as such.

Boras spoke to The Athletic’s Alex Coffey about how MLB's shortened 60-game season could pertain to Chapman and his upcoming arbitration process. If this were a normal 162-game year, the A's star could have been paid anywhere from $10-12 million via arbitration or with an agreement with the team.

But Chapman, playing on a minimum contract, just has adjusted season salary of $230,926, according to Spotrac. 

Yes, the guy who led all of baseball with 32 Defensive Runs Saved last season is making that little. This is the same guy who carries a .920 OPS this season after accumulating 8.3 WAR in 2018 and 2019.

It’s no secret he wants to get paid, and it’s even less of a secret he needs to get paid.

“Matt’s a star player,” Boras told Coffey. “He’s a franchise player. The right of arbitration means more to franchise players than anybody, no doubt.”

Boras also made it a point to list other prominent third basemen in the league. And there are plenty. Colorado Rockies’ third baseman Nolan Arenado, a childhood friend of Chapman, has an adjusted salary of almost $13 million this year. 

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

It’s the same story for the Kris Bryants and Alex Bregmans of the world, who will be making eight figures per year under their current contracts.

The A’s have spoken for years about building a new stadium, which would then allow the team to spend more money on their players. But Boras believes the stadium itself is secondary to Chapman.

“You build the stadium,” he said, “and then it’s ready to start. But you forgot to plant the grass. So you build the stadium, it’s beautiful, but you look at the field and you forgot to plant the grass. The grass is the players. Now you’ve got a beautiful stadium and you’ve got no grass. No one wants to go watch it. The players have to precede the stadium. That’s the rule.”

[RELATED: Chapman believes the defensive game deserves more respect]

Chapman will be a free agent after the 2023 season, which might seem far off in the distance right now, but we know quickly these things go by.

He wants to stay with Oakland and A’s fans want nothing more than for that to happen. While the pandemic threw a wrench in more than just the game itself, it's still yet to be determined what his future might be in Oakland.