What A's can learn from previous MLB free agency bargains


What A's can learn from previous MLB free agency bargains

Billy Beane and the A's have made a habit of finding productive under-the-radar free agents to sign at a reasonable price.

This past season was no different, with tremendous contributions from Edwin Jackson, Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Jonathan Lucroy, and Nick Martini.

With free agency underway this offseason, we look back at five successful A's bargain deals over the last several seasons to see if there is anything to learn. We'll define "bargain" as $5 million or less, so Lucroy just misses the cut at $6.5 million.

Dec. 1, 2011: Brandon Moss

The A's signed Moss to a minor league contract after the 2011 season and he proceeded to slash .291/.358/.596 in 2012. He launched 21 home runs in just 84 games, driving in 52 runs.

Moss went on to have two more stellar seasons in Oakland, even making the All-Star Game in 2014.

Jan. 24, 2012: Bartolo Colon

Oakland signed Colon to a one-year deal worth $2 million dollars, along with some incentive bonuses. Colon went 10-9 with a 3.43 ERA in 2012 before being suspended for violating MLB's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

The A's gave him another chance in 2013, bringing him back for $3 million, and Colon made it worth their while. The right-hander finished the season 18-6 with a 2.65 ERA and was named an All-Star for the third time in his career.

Jan. 26, 2012: Jonny Gomes

Gomes signed a one-year deal with the A's worth just $1 million and put together a strong season in 2012. In 99 games, Gomes slashed .262/.377/.491 with 18 home runs and 47 RBI.

March 19, 2018: Trevor Cahill

The A's signed Cahill to a one-year, $1.5 million contract and the right-hander proved to be a pleasant surprise in 2018. Cahill finished the season 7-4 with a 3.76 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 21 appearances, including 20 starts.

June 6, 2018: Edwin Jackson

Oakland signed Jackson to a minor-league deal with the 2018 season already underway. The veteran right-hander was soon called up to the big leagues, where he went 6-3 with a 3.33 ERA in 17 starts.

2019 NFL Draft: Kyler Murray, Antonio Brown work out together in Texas


2019 NFL Draft: Kyler Murray, Antonio Brown work out together in Texas

Two of 2019's most-talked-about football players are working out under one roof. 

Yes, will-he-or-won't-he all-stars Antonio Brown and Kyler Murray put in some offseason work together this weekend. The embattled Pittsburgh Steelers receiver posted a video of him catching a pass from the Heisman Trophy winner (and Oakland A's prospect ... for now). 

The two worked out at Allen High School in Allen, Texas, which is Murray's alma mater. Not to be confused with Murray's college alma mater, the University of Oklahoma, but you'd be forgiven after seeing the indoor field where the pair worked out. 

Also in attendance -- at least based on Brown's tweet -- was cousin Marquise Brown. Marquise played with Murray at Oklahoma, and was his favorite target. The younger Brown caught 75 passes for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns, and is entering the 2019 NFL Draft alongside Murray.

Recent mock drafts have the junior receiver going in the mid- to late first round, and he offers plenty of intrigue himself for teams in need of a receiver. Two of those teams reside in the Bay Area, but the eyes of fans here surely are on the other guys in Allen.

A's fans probably are wondering why Murray isn't taking swings off a tee with spring training just over three weeks away, while 49ers fans (and Jon Gruden, reportedly) are salivating about that kind of speed running along the sideline. Of course, it's also possible neither Murray nor Brown will ply their trade in the Bay in 2019.

Marquise Brown wouldn't be a bad consolation prize, though.

Patrick Mahomes' dad, Pat, was MLB pitcher Bay Area fans might remember


Patrick Mahomes' dad, Pat, was MLB pitcher Bay Area fans might remember

Not many NFL teams could slow down Patrick Mahomes in 2018. The second-year Chiefs quarterback had one of the most successful seasons in league history, and he's likely on his way to winning MVP honors. 

If you want to know how to get the best of Mahomes, just ask Oakland and San Francisco. No, not the Raiders and the 49ers, but the A's and the Giants.

In three games this season -- two against the Raiders and one against the 49ers -- Mahomes totaled 890 passing yards, nine touchdowns, one interception and three wins. But take out the "rick," and you have Pat Mahomes, aka the gunslinger's father, who pitched 11 years in Major League Baseball and didn't enjoy such success against Bay Area teams.

The elder Mahomes was a sixth-round draft pick by Minnesota in 1988, and wound up pitching for six different teams -- the Twins, Red Sox, Mets, Rangers, Cubs and Pirates. Two of his least favorite teams to face were the A's and the Giants.

Over 18 games, the A's had Pat Mahomes' number, to say the least. He posted a 7.00 ERA against Oakland, the third-highest mark of all teams he faced at least 10 times. In 54 innings pitched, he allowed 19 home runs, the most any team hit against him.

The Giants faced Mahomes much less than the A's did, but he had just as much success. In Mahomes' five appearances out of the bullpen, San Francisco scored five earned runs in 6.1 innings pitched, good for a 7.11 ERA. 

Mahomes only struck out one Giant in his career.

So, if the Patriots want to slow down Patrick Mahomes and the explosive Chiefs offense in the AFC Championship Game, they shouldn't play it safe. They should swing for the fences.