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.

A's gain hope as City of Oakland drops lawsuit against Alameda County

coliseumlawsuitap.jpg
AP

A's gain hope as City of Oakland drops lawsuit against Alameda County

There's still a long way to go, but the A's are one step closer to getting a new stadium built in Oakland.

On Wednesday, the Oakland City Council directed the City Attorney to immediately drop Oakland's lawsuit against Alameda County, paving the way for the sale of the Coliseum.

"We are pleased that the Oakland City Council has directed the City Attorney to immediately drop this lawsuit," A's President Dave Kaval said in a team statement. "We are committed to the long-term success of East Oakland and the Coliseum site. We look forward to finalizing our agreement with Alameda County, and creating a mutually beneficial partnership with the City of Oakland."

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred previously had warned Oakland officials in October to drop the lawsuit for fear of losing the team to relocation.

With the lawsuit dropped, the City of Oakland and the A's can move forward on the sale of the Coliseum land, on which the A's intend to develop housing, shops, restaurants and a park that will help fund the Howard Terminal site.

A's shortstop Marcus Semien shares mental health journey in HEADSTRONG

A's shortstop Marcus Semien shares mental health journey in HEADSTRONG

For Marcus Semien, his performance on the field sometimes would impact how he felt at home.

If the A's shortstop went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, he would be frustrated and it would be difficult to turn that off.

"It's very intense," he said.

As part of NBC Sports' documentary, "HEADSTRONG: Mental Health and Sports." Semien detailed the ups and downs of playing professional baseball and how he has improved over the years with dealing with the stresses and difficulties it can bring.

Semien, who committed 35 errors in 2015, enlisted the help of Ron Washington in hopes of building his confidence and improving his defensive performance.

And improve he did. Semien cut his errors down significantly, ultimately being named an AL Gold Glove Finalist in 2018.

Still, Semien knows he can't let his focus wane.

"There's been times where you're so hard on yourself over an at-bat and you bring it out to the field and you make an error on the field and you think 'Why did I just make that error?' cuz I was thinking about my at-bat," he chuckled.

But he's working on it.

[RELATED: Semien shares reaction to being named MVP finalist]

The 2019 AL MVP finalist continues to work on the mental side of the game, and knows that he and other athletes perform at their best when they're able to keep a level head.

You can watch all of the "HEADSTRONG: Mental Health and Sports" vignettes right here. The full documentary will play all month on NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California.

Check our channel listings page for times and dates.