Athletics

A's vs. Royals lineups: Ramón Laureano gets day off, Josh Phegley returns

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A's vs. Royals lineups: Ramón Laureano gets day off, Josh Phegley returns

OAKLAND -- After a disappointing 6-5 loss in Monday's series opener, the A's will try to bounce back against the lowly Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night at the Coliseum.

Oakland will be without outfielder Ramón Laureano, as the team tries to give him plenty of games off in his recovery from a stress reaction in his right shin. Robbie Grossman will replace Laureano in right field and bat eighth.

Josh Phegley returns to the lineup in the ninth position and will handle the catching duties. Phegley has already recorded a career-high 12 home runs and 59 RBI this season.

Veteran left-hander Brett Anderson takes the mound for the A's seeking his 13th win of the season, which would extend his career-high. Anderson, 31, is 12-9 with a 4.07 ERA in 29 starts. In three career outings against the Royals, he is 2-1 with an 8.16 ERA.

Kansas City counters with right-hander Jorge López. The 26-year-old is 4-7 with a 6.09 ERA in 36 games this season, including 15 starts. Lopez has only faced the A's once in his career, allowing five runs in just 1 2/3 innings last month. 

Here are the full lineups for the A's-Royals game, which will be broadcast on NBC Sports California and the MyTeams app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. PT, with first pitch at 7:07.

Kansas City Royals (56-95)
2B Whit Merrifield
SS Adalberto Mondesí
DH Jorge Soler
3B Hunter Dozier
LF Alex Gordon
RF Ryan McBroom
1B Cheslor Cuthbert
CF Bubba Starling
C Nick Dini

RHP Jorge López (4-7, 6.09 ERA)

Oakland A's (90-61)
SS Marcus Semien
3B Matt Chapman
1B Matt Olson
CF Mark Canha 
LF Seth Brown
DH Khris Davis
2B Jurickson Profar
RF Robbie Grossman
C Josh Phegley

LHP Brett Anderson (12-9, 4.07 ERA)

Why A's should bring back catcher Josh Phegley in final arbitration year

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Why A's should bring back catcher Josh Phegley in final arbitration year

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.

Josh Phegley, C

Contract: Final year of arbitration (projected to get $2.2 million after earning $1.075 million this season)

Reasons to bring him back

Phegley put together the best season of his career in 2019. The 31-year-old slashed .239/.282/.411 with 12 home runs, 18 doubles and 62 RBI in 106 games, spending most of the year as Oakland's starting catcher.

Even with top prospect Sean Murphy poised to take over the starting job in 2020, Phegley still could provide significant value as a backup. He knows the A's pitching staff well, having been with the team since 2015, and he has displayed some pop with the bat.

Reasons to let him go

Murphy long has been considered the A's catcher of the future, and the future is now. The 25-year-old is a better defensive catcher than Phegley and more productive offensively as well. Oakland could decide that $2.2 million is too much to spend on a backup catcher, or they could choose to fill that role in free agency (anyone up for a Stephen Vogt reunion?).

[RELATED: Why A's should  non-tender Blake Treinen]

Final verdict

For $2.2 million, Phegley is a bargain and should return to Oakland. He has proven to be a serviceable starting catcher, in case Murphy goes down, and he fits in well with the rest of the clubhouse. Sure, the A's could find a slightly cheaper backup catcher if they really wanted, but Phegley's intangibles, including his veteran leadership, and his production make him well worth the money.

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

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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.