Athletics

What the A’s will do this offseason, if they know what's good for them

What the A’s will do this offseason, if they know what's good for them

The Oakland A's have done the easy thing in re-upping their baseball operations people. Now comes the rest of the winter, and the bigger decisions they can, should and will make to overthrow the Boston Red Sox.

Or undercut the Chicago White Sox. With the A’s, progress always is a nerve-wracking thing.

Anyway, here’s the A's offseason agenda, which will be met or there will be hell to pay.

Get all the starting pitchers

The A’s are known for their contrarian notions as regards to zigging and zagging, and with relief pitchers being the market’s new hyper-efficiency, Billy Beane and David Forst can start collecting starters at distressed prices -- and then use them as openers, or second-through-fifth-inning specialists. I can see Clayton Kershaw or Nathan Eovaldi here, if only for name-recognition purposes.

Figure out which player or players will autocorrect to previous seasons

They got better seasons than they could have expected from a number of players, including Steven Piscotty, Marcus Semien, Matt Olson, Ramon Laureano and Blake Treinen, and some of them are less likely to repeat their 2018 seasons because, well, because baseball.

Beane can gold-plate his genius plaque by guessing ahead of time which players will revert, which only requires that he be able to see into the future -- and at these prices, he damned well ought to be able to do just that.

Time-share Bryce Harper

The A’s need a gate boost to make their games appointment attending as the next course adjustment toward filling the new stadium, tentatively called Peet’s Coffee Mythical Pastures Of Joy. Beane could find another team to sign half of Harper, and the two clubs could time-share the outfielder for home games as he regains his mojo (we’d suggest the Giants for geographical reasons, but that wouldn’t fly for psychological ones).

Pick a place to have a future

Speaking of PCMPOJ, the day of site reckoning is upon us, and the A’s have to do something they have been unable to do for at least a decade.

Pick a place that will have them.

North of the Coliseum didn’t work. South of the Coliseum didn’t work. Fremont didn’t work. San Jose didn’t work. Peralta College didn’t work. Portland won’t be permitted.

In short, time’s up, Johnny Boy. Time to name a spot that will accommodate your shovels, and build without complaint. You’re not leaving town because either you or Lew Wolff decided to vote against Rob Manfred in the commissioner’s election, and Manfred remembers things. In any event, get on with it.

Make Billy watch

Beane gets too nervous during games and either leaves the stadium, rides a stationary bike or otherwise amuses himself by avoiding the game that determines what he does as head of the baseball operations department. Thus, the obvious promotion this year is to put him in a glass booth and make him watch the game or escape the booth.

Money goes to the A’s Community Fund, or the John Fisher Revenue Sharing Augmentation Consortium, whichever comes first.

Bring in a real elephant

Stomper has more than run its anthropomorphic course, and the time has come to retire it with Thunder and Krazy Krab and all the other lint cartoons of their long past-it time. The elephant is a great logo, and the kids will love the real thing, especially if it has to ride into the field in that miserable little car. Plus, it can stay in the treehouse on road trips.

Oh, and bring back the '60s sleeveless jerseys -- though not on the elephant.

And finally, take advantage of the moment

The Giants are in one of their occasional fallow periods, which means the A’s can claim to be the place where the cool baseball fans go. Taking the high road never has worked for Oakland audiences, so sticking the knee into the nethers of the boys across the bay not only is a base line for marketing, but it must be ratcheted up, along the lines of hiring Klay Thompson to do a commercial with the line: “This is what happens when you flog past glories and forget the future. We are the future. Go watch the A’s.” Or Kevin Durant saying: “I’m staying, but mostly it’s to watch the A’s.” Or Steve Kerr: “I grew up liking the Dodgers, but I’m off them now because childhood memories are crap. Go watch the A’s.”

Maybe they can even hire Larry Baer to read some ad copy. I mean, opportunities like this shouldn’t be missed, and even if he says no, you can say you reached out, you cheeky bastards. The audience will love it.

Khris Davis is hoping to stay with the A's for 'at least three more years'

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Khris Davis is hoping to stay with the A's for 'at least three more years'

Khris Davis is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, but if he has his way, he'll remain in Oakland for years to come.

"I want to stay here at least three more years," Davis told the Associated Press and other reporters Sunday in Arizona. "I’d like to be here. I hope something gets done."

Davis, 31, agreed to a $16.5 million salary for this year to arbitration. He has previously expressed his desire to sign a long-term deal with the A's, and Oakland general manager David Forst has confirmed that discussions are ongoing.

"We've had more multi-year conversations with Khris," Forst said last month. "He knows that it's continuing."

Last season, Davis led all of baseball with 48 home runs and ranked second with 123 RBI. His 133 homers over the last three years also led the MLB. But Davis has taken notice of the slow free agent markets the last two offseasons, with stars like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado still unsigned into spring training.

"It’s not a good thing being a free agent right now," Davis told reporters. "For my security, it’s going to impact a lot. That’s the way the business is. I’m already 31 so I don’t know if I’m too old."

Davis also knows the way the A's tend to operate, and if they fall out of contention this season, there's a chance he could get traded. That's just more motivation for him to lead the team back to the playoffs.

[RELATED: Revisiting A's signing of Céspedes seven years ago]

“I don’t think they’ll trade me as long as we’re doing good," he told reporters. "So we better do good so I don’t get traded.”

Of course, Davis' value goes far beyond the numbers. His presence in the cleanup position impacts the entire lineup. When he missed nine games last May due to injury, the A's went 3-6, scoring a total of 15 runs. That's not a coincidence.

Davis has also become a tremendous leader in the clubhouse, not to mention a fan favorite, and despite all of his accolades, he has never had an ego. Talk about a perfect fit for Oakland. The A's would be wise to get a multi-year deal done as soon as possible.

Rickey Henderson wanted to play for Raiders, but A's wouldn't let him

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Rickey Henderson wanted to play for Raiders, but A's wouldn't let him

This isn't the A's first go-around with a two-sport star.

Long before Kyler Murray spurned Oakland in favor of pursuing his NFL dreams, Rickey Henderson had ideas of starring on both the baseball diamond and football field.

According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, Henderson had the approval of Raiders owner Al Davis to play for the Oakland football team, but the A's shut it down.

"When Bo Jackson first came into the league, I went to Al Davis to go play football and he was going to let me be a two-way player,” Henderson said. “The Oakland A’s said, ‘Oh, no way. You’re not going out there. That’s not going to happen.’

"That was my chance and I missed it," Henderson continued. "I always used to tell Bo (Jackson) and Deion Sanders, ‘I could have done that, played both sports, but the A’s said they weren’t going to let me.’ That was my dream."

Henderson, who is serving as a visiting instructor for the A's at spring training, was looking forward to spending some time with Murray, but he doesn't blame the reigning Heisman Trophy winner for pursuing a career as a professional quarterback.

"It’s always a tough choice,” Henderson said of the two-sport predicament. “It’s really what you love, and his love really was football. People try to compare his decision and my decision, but mine was different. I came out of high school and I had time to grow in baseball and he came out of college, he didn’t have as much time with baseball."

Henderson won't be working with Murray this spring, but he's not ruling it out altogether. He sees Murray's decision to pursue an NFL career now as coming with some theoretical insurance, and remember, the A's retain his rights.

[RELATED: As Murray chooses NFL, A's 'don't regret the pick at all']

"So he can see if it works out with his love, and if not, he can fall back on baseball."

Surely, Murray is hoping things work out for him in the NFL. But if not, perhaps baseball is where he's supposed to be.

Despite his dreams, that certainly proved to be the case for the Man of Steal.