Athletics

Why new MLB rules could mean A's won't bring back Ryan Buchter in 2020

buchterus.jpg
USATSI

Why new MLB rules could mean A's won't bring back Ryan Buchter in 2020

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.

Ryan Buchter, LHP

Contract: Second year of arbitration (projected to get $1.8 million after earning $1.4 million this season)

Reasons to bring him back

Buchter did exactly what the A's brought him in to do -- retire left-handed hitters. The 32-year-old southpaw limited lefties to a .238 batting average, with 33 strikeouts and seven walks.

Buchter's overall numbers were respectable as well. He went 1-1 with a 2.98 ERA and 1.43 WHIP in 45 1/3 innings. That follows a 6-0 record in 2018 with a 2.75 ERA and 1.20 WHIP.

Reasons to let him go

With MLB changing its rules next season to require a pitcher to face a minimum of three batters, Buchter will lose a lot of value. The so-called LOOGY (left-handed one-out guy) role will disappear and lefty specialists will have to face some right-handers as well.

Right-handed hitter batted .274 off Buchter with 17 strikeouts, compared to 16 walks. While his overall ERA was under 3.00, Buchter allowed 15 of his 36 inherited runners to score, a rate of 41.7 percent. That's nearly 10 points higher than the league average of 32 percent.

Final verdict

Buchter had some good stretches over the past two seasons, but with rule changes and his high walk and hit rate, it's probably time for the A's to move on without him.

[RELATED: Why A's reliever Treinen could be non-tender candidate]

Right-handed hitters notched a .904 OPS against Buchter this season in 83 plate appearances. That will be an even bigger problem next year. Oakland can find better relievers for that $1.8 million price tag.

While $1.8 million is an affordable number, Oakland seems unlikely to bring Buchter back in 2020.

Why Rickey Henderson should be seen as one of Michael Jordans of MLB

Why Rickey Henderson should be seen as one of Michael Jordans of MLB

There will never be another Michael Jordan. But there could be those who hold a prominent role in the sport they play. The “Michael Jordan” of baseball, for instance. 

Bleacher Report composed a list of MLB’s G.O.A.T.s, and yes -- Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout was mentioned. You can’t create a greatest of all time without mentioning him, but the A’s have an MJ of their own in Rickey Henderson.

Not only did the BR writeup mention the numbers that put the Man of Steal on the map (1,406 stolen bases, 2,295 runs, both MLB records), but it’s a great reminder of his “greatest of all-time speech.”

That iconic moment wasn’t initially supposed to happen in the way it played out. When he took the microphone after breaking St. Louis Cardinals star Lou Brock’s base-stealing record, Henderson went off-script

The original hand-written speech that was folded up on a piece of paper, and in Rickey's uniform didn’t happen, and it certainly didn’t possess the words saying he was the greatest -- even though the Hall of Famer was. He was caught up in the moment and said the epic words which solidified such a strong career.

[RELATED: Veteran pitcher Bartolo Colon still wants to play]

Henderson simply forgot about the original words.

Henderson also had a certain swag and attitude about him -- remind you of anyone else?

Daniel Mengden on track to pitch for A's when 2020 MLB season starts

Daniel Mengden on track to pitch for A's when 2020 MLB season starts

A’s starter Daniel Mengden would have missed all the regularly scheduled MLB games in April and May, anyway.

“I had three surgeries this offseason, it was fun,” Mengden sarcastically told NBC Sports California via FaceTime on Wednesday.

Two procedures were necessary to address a digestive issue, and the third was arthroscopic surgery on his throwing elbow in February.

The good news: Mengden should be on track to return, if MLB can.

“I’m about 95 percent,” Mengden said. “Throwing all pitches in bullpen sessions right now. For me, I’ve been on the high side, because I’m trying to get my arm back and feeling good.”

His offseason began in October with an undiagnosed intestinal issue which saw him quickly lose about 25 pounds.

“My doctor here thinks it was some sort of tapeworm that was eating away at me,” Mengden said.  “I don’t know if you saw me [in Arizona], or if I looked a little smaller. Right about spring training I was on the climb back up.”

[RELATED: How Grossman envisions walk-offs]

The mustached righty is eager for baseball to resume games, but also recognizes the realistic hygiene challenges baseball can’t avoid, specifically for a pitcher via saliva and sweat.

“It comes so natural to some of us,” Mengden said. “I’m touching the ball with my hands. I’m wiping my forehead off. As a pitcher, we’re putting ourselves all over this baseball in a sense.“

MLB and the players association are currently hoping to secure a plan where a second “spring training” can begin in June, with games scheduled around July 4.