Athletics

A's trade Ryon Healy to Mariners for two players

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A's trade Ryon Healy to Mariners for two players

The rumors were indeed true. Ryon Healy was on the trade block.

And now Healy has been traded...to the Mariners.

The two teams announced the trade Wednesday evening.

Oakland will receive right-handed pitcher Emilio Pagan and shortstop Alexander Campos.

Healy burst on to the scene in 2016 with 13 home runs and 37 RBI in 72 games. This past season, he finished second on the A's with 25 home runs and 78 RBI. But he had become the odd man out in the A's lineup with Matt Olson and Matt Chapman solidifying the corner infield spots.

The 25-year-old is familiar with the Pacific Northwest as he attended the University of Oregon.

Pagan, 26, made his major league debut during the 2017 season. In 34 relief appearances with the Mariners, he posted a 3.22 ERA and struck out 56 batters in 50.1 innings. Against the A's, Pagan allowed one run in 5.1 innings over three outings. A native of South Carolina, Pagan was drafted by the Mariners in the 10th round of the 2013 MLB Draft.

Campos appears to be the prize of the trade, though he's a bit further away from reaching the major leagues. Just 17 years old, Campos signed out of Venezuela in 2016 and made his professional debut this past season. In 59 games for the Mariners' Domincan Summer League team, Campos hit .290/.413/.367 with 10 doubles, two home runs and 26 RBI.

MLB Pipeline ranked Campos as Seattle's No. 15 prospect.

A's fans need more than two months of wins to earn your affection

A's fans need more than two months of wins to earn your affection

Matt Chapman’s urgent postgame plea Monday for more fans at the Oakland Coliseum to watch the Athletics wasn’t all that urgent, and it wasn’t all that much of a plea. It was, however, an understandable and heartfelt misunderstanding about how Oakland plays.
 
The A’s third baseman spiced up his postgame interview on NBCSports California, in which he doubled three times and helped the Elephants outlast Seattle, 7-6, was actually fairly matter-of-fact, to wit:
 
“I just want to use this time to just encourage people in Oakland to come out, man. All the fans and support we can get, we can really appreciate it. Tonight, we’re fighting until the very end against the Mariners and I just wish we can get some people out here, man. We’re fun to watch. We really want our fans to come out and support us, it’d be great.”
 
Nothing wrong with any of that, really, especially since the A’s have been playing .740 baseball for the last 50 games and are now a serious postseason player for every possible berth save the best record and Central Division champion. It did, however, make the same erroneous assumptions that most people make when talking about Oakland’s meager attendance figures (28th and holding) – one, that simply playing well is the solution, and two, that organized marketing is the solution.
 
The answer he might have wanted to give in hindsight is this:
 
“We’ll keep winning, and eventually they’ll come. We are fun to watch, and frankly, you can’t beat fun.”
 
But we must be fair here: Chapman as a 25-year-old player who hasn’t been in Oakland that long hasn’t had time to understand the phenomenon of A’s crowds – namely, that they turn up when they turn up and not before.

[RATTO: Here's what fans missed in the A's come-from-way-ahead-to-damned-near-behind win over M's]
 
There is, after all, the long and troubling history of the team trying to leave town and slagging off their ballpark at every opportunity in the interim, a message that, having been delivered often enough, has finally reached the fan base at its core. There is a long history of roster churn, of moving familiar and even popular players for prospects, or money, or both. The word-of-mouth view of the A’s, rightly or wrongly, is, “They don’t want to be here, and they tell us the ballpark sucks. Okay, we believe them. Plus, who are these guys?”
 
Chapman and Company are beginning to change that. The trade deadline decisions were made as buyers rather than sellers, which helps, and now they have all the closers in the world, even ones who have their AARP card. They are making the stand on the roster they have, as they did in 2014, and before that in 2006. This is the new core – we think.
 
The ballpark is a different issue, and food trucks and treehouses and new season ticket schemes don’t change that. The A's do hate the Coliseum, but rather than advertise it as a weapon for good (“Nobody wants to play us here, so let's make their stay really unpleasant”) as the Giants did in the early ‘90s, they are marked as ditherers who cannot figure out where to put a new park, let alone how to make it a cash dairy.
 
The trick with A’s fans, then, isn’t to ask them to come out, but to do what the A’s have been doing for two months – letting the word of mouth do the talking. Monday’s announced crowd of 10,400 was uninspiring, but by game’s end those who were there made the noise of 20,000, and it came across on the air, and became a chatting point on the gab shows, and suddenly the talking point isn’t “Look what they drew,” but “Hey, that looks like it might be a hoot. Maybe we should go.”
 
This isn’t the scientific method or Marketing 101, but it is the method that has always worked in Oakland. In 2002, they won 20 games in a row, and because of a 10-game road trip stuck in the middle of the run, they didn’t catch the people’s collective fancies until Game 16. All their other successful seasons began with sub-optimal crowds as well, because A’s fans need to be shown the team being placed before them is worth the effort. It is, frankly, the way all fan bases should work – the onus should be on the entrepreneur to make a desirable product, not the customer to desire it.
 
And finally, it takes a lot of data to shift public opinion, rather than like an ocean liner reversing course. Two months isn't enough in this town, and never has been.

For Matt Chapman, winning baseball ought to be sufficient to win the day, and for him, the answer he gave is correct. He wasn’t wrong to say what he did from his perspective, and he wasn’t whiny or snippy in saying it. He’d like to do his work before more folks is all, and that’s a perfectly reasonable request.
 
But Oakland doesn’t play that easily with its affections, and never has. It needs something more permanent than two months of winning and a year of good marketing intentions. The club’s on- and off-field history in the post-Haas world proves that, again and again.
 
So the trick, if there is one, isn’t to say, “We’d like you to come out because we’re winning.” It’s to say, “We’ll be here and loaded for bear when you’re ready to come watch a game.Your friends will come too. We're a party just getting started.” It’s a subtle difference, but it is a real one. Fifty games is a healthy chunk of any season, but in the work of changing viewing, listening and spending habits in a town that has been told how inadequate it is for too long, it is but a moment.

Matt Chapman makes public plea to A's fans after win over Mariners

Matt Chapman makes public plea to A's fans after win over Mariners

OAKLAND -- The Oakland A’s are good. In fact, they might be really good, but you wouldn’t know it by the number of fans streaming in the turnstiles. While the vibe around the team is amazing, the players are starting to notice the lack of support and they are starting to get vocal about the issue.

Matt Chapman is the latest A’s player to step up and make a public plea to the Oakland fanbase. After posting multiple highlight reel defensive plays to go with three doubles, three runs and a pair of RBI, the second-year third basemen topped his night off with a pointed message.

“I just want to use this time to just encourage people in Oakland to come out, man,” the 25-year-old star said on the A’s telecast following the A’s 7-6 win on Monday night. “All the fans and support we can get, we can really appreciate it. Tonight, we’re fighting ‘til the very end against the Mariners and I just wish we can get some people out here, man. We’re fun to watch. We really want our fans to come out and support us, it’d be great.”

Chapman is 100-percent correct. This is an exciting and fun team to watch. They play hard. They hit home runs. They hustle all over the field and they have one of the best bullpens in major league baseball.

The announced crowd of 10,400 fans is not what you would expect to see when a team is in the thick of a postseason chase. With the win, the A’s moved to 71-48 on the season. They trail the Houston Astros by just two games for the lead in the West and they have a 2.5 game lead over Seattle for the wildcard.

Chapman is on the cusp of being the next superstar. He’s a player that fans would love to see play his entire career in green and gold. There is a history of players like him leaving long before they should, but at some point fans need to show up and appreciate him for the special player he is and the unique team that the A’s front office has assembled. 

This club is pacing for 97 wins. They have momentum and they are in the midst of a long homestand against division rivals fighting for a playoff spot. It’s probably time for the fanbase to come to the ballpark and show them the love and respect they deserve.