Athletics

Two A’s named to Arizona Fall League Top Prospects Team

manaea-sean-as-white.jpg

Two A’s named to Arizona Fall League Top Prospects Team

The A's tough 2015 may be ending on a much higher note compared to where they sat just months ago. 

Oakland's front office already added bullpen arms in Liam Hendriks, Marc Rzepczynski, and Ryan Madson, along with a new bat in first baseman Yonder Alonso. On Monday, two young A's looking to make the majors were honored while representatives are at the Winter Meetings looking to improve the club. 

The Arizona Fall League revealed its 2015 Top Prospects Team on Monday, with two players in the A's farm system making the cut. Starting pitcher Sean Manaea and infielder Chad Pinder were named to the list. 

Manaea, 23, was the crown jewel of a package that was sent to the A's for utility man Ben Zobrist. At the AFL, Manea lived up to the hype. 

The left-hander started on the hill in the "Fall Stars Game" where he struck out four in two scoreless innings and was named AFL Pitcher of the Week only 10 days later. Manaea led the AFL in strikeouts with 33 in only six games started. 

Even at his young age -- he'll be 24 in February -- Manaea could very well find a spot in the A's rotation at some point during the 2016 season.

[STIGLICH: Will 'dazzling' Manaea get shot at A's rotation in spring?]

“He throws in the mid-90’s, good secondary pitches. For a lefty, he pitches inside to righties, and he’s not just a change-up guy against them. I’m really, really impressed. You can tell this guy’s got a real high ceiling," A's manager Bob Melvin said after seeing Manaea start an AFL game. 

In those six games Manaea started, he finished with an 0-2 record and 3.86 ERA in 25.2 innings pitched. 

Not to be forgotten, Pinder, 23, showed power and solid defense at second base. In 13 games, he hit .235/.316/.549 with 12 hits and also blasted four home runs. 

Pinder also played in the league's All-Star Game.

Why A's should either trade or non-tender All-Star Blake Treinen

treinenusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Why A's should either trade or non-tender All-Star Blake Treinen

Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine 10 A's players who may or may not return to Oakland next season. For each player, we will provide reasons why the A's should bring him back and reasons why they should not, followed by a final determination.

Blake Treinen, RHP

Contract: Final year of arbitration (projected to get $7.8 million after earning $6.4 million this season)

Reasons to bring him back

In 2018, Blake Treinen enjoyed one of the greatest seasons in MLB history. The right-hander went 9-2 with 38 saves and a 0.78 ERA, notching 100 strikeouts in 80 1/3 innings.

Unfortunately, Treinen followed that up with the worst season of his career, going 6-5 with a 4.91 ERA in 2019, ultimately losing the closer job to Liam Hendriks. Still, Treinen's stuff looked dominant at times and he could certainly bounce back in 2020.

Treinen is still just 31 years old and should have some productive years ahead of him. His fastball averaged 97 mph this season with explosive movement. If he can improve his command, Treinen could still be a productive reliever moving forward.

Reasons to let him go

Treinen is coming off an incredibly disappointing season. He entered the year as one of the top closers in baseball, but quickly lost his closer job due to injury and poor performance.

Treinen's 4.91 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, and 5.14 FIP were all career worsts, as were his 37 walks in just 58 2/3 innings. He saw his season come to a premature end when an MRI revealed a stress reaction in his back. And pitchers and back injuries don't mix well (see: Marco Estrada). Tendering Treinen a contract would be a major risk.

Final verdict

Treinen could very well return to being an effective relief pitcher, but the A's can't afford to take that chance for nearly $8 million. That money would be better spent on multiple relievers to help shore up the team's shaky bullpen.

[RELATED: A's stay or go candidate for 2020 season: Jake Diekman]

Between Treinen's on-field struggles and the injury concerns, Oakland would be better off seeking an offseason trade of its former All-Star closer. If the A's can't get a deal done, look for a non-tender.

Why Jake Diekman's command issues could mean A's move on in offseason

diekmanusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Why Jake Diekman's command issues could mean A's move on in offseason

Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine 10 A's players who might or might not return to Oakland next season. For each player, we will provide reasons why the A's should bring him back and reasons why they should not, followed by a final determination.

Jake Diekman, LHP

Contract: $5.75 million mutual option for 2020 ($500,000 buyout)

Reasons to bring him back

Diekman's stuff is undeniable. The 32-year-old left-hander boasts a 96-mph fastball along with a wicked slider, making him a tricky at-bat for right-handed and left-handed hitters alike.

Despite a 1-7 record and 4.65 ERA this season, Diekman notched 84 strikeouts in just 62 innings. For his career, he has averaged 11.2 punchouts per nine innings.

Another reason to keep Diekman is Oakland's lack of left-handed relievers. Jesús Luzardo and A.J. Puk both figure to move to the starting rotation next year and Ryan Buchter's return is far from certain. As a result, Diekman could be the only southpaw in the A's bullpen.

Reasons to let him go

While Diekman's strikeout numbers were highly impressive, his lack of command became a major issue down the stretch. He walked 39 batters this season, including 16 in 20 1/3 innings with the A's.

That contributed significantly to Diekman's disappointing 1.42 WHIP and 4.65 ERA. For $5.75 million, you'd have to think the A's would want someone more consistent and reliable in the late innings.

[RELATED: A's 3B coach Williams will manage in Korea next season]

Final verdict

Oakland is unlikely to bring Diekman back next season for a couple of reasons. Far too often, he just doesn't know where his pitches are going. Throughout his career, Diekman has averaged five walks per nine innings. That's a serious problem for a setup man.

The other factor is Diekman's $5.75 million price tag. That is a high figure for any non-closer, but particularly worrisome for a setup man who has proven to be inconsistent.

The A's would probably be wise to spend that money elsewhere.