Marcus Semien was a revelation for the A’s in 2019. The San Francisco native finished third in AL MVP voting and was a Gold Glove finalist at shortstop.
However, after back-to-back seasons ending in an AL Wild Card Game loss, Oakland knows it needs more to reach the next level.
Jorge Mateo, the A’s No. 4 prospect, is a promising shortstop with an 80-speed grade and a strong arm. However, the 24-year-old is out of minor league options and isn’t anywhere close to cracking the A’s starting lineup with Semien looking like a potential cornerstone if Oakland chooses to re-sign him.
That and Mateo’s legs make him an intriguing trade chip, according to MLB.com, as a team needing some top-of-the-line speed and fielding on the bench might be captivated enough to make a move for him. Oakland did that in 2017, when it acquired Mateo from the Yankees in 2017 as part of the Sonny Gray trade.
The A’s have a strong lineup coming back, but they will need to shore up their pitching staff, especially the bullpen, after a season in which they blew 31 saves, tied for the most in MLB.
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Mateo had 62 extra-base hits and stole 24 bases a season ago, and he could be part of a package for a significant upgrade to the major league roster.
The A's aren't playing it safe with 2019 first-round draft pick Logan Davidson.
The No. 29 overall pick is among 10 non-roster players the A's invited to spring training Friday.
Davidson, a shortstop, isn't on the A's 40-man roster, but the invite will give him a chance to compete in big league camp. Barring an incredible showing in the Cactus League, the A's No. 7 prospect won't break camp with the A's. But this opportunity allows him to try to impress A's coaches.
In 54 games with the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters, Davidson slashed .239/.345/.332 with seven doubles, four homers and 12 RBI.
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The other invitee to keep an eye on in camp is A's No. 6 prospect Nick Allen. While small in stature, the middle infielder is an incredible defensive player and could find himself playing for the A's at some point in 2020. While Marcus Semien is blocking Allen's path at shortstop, the 21-year-old could get a look at second base if none of the other in-house options pan out for Oakland.
Three other top-30 prospects were invited to spring training: Outfielder Greg Deichmann (No. 17), right-handed pitcher Brian Howard (No. 22) and right-handed pitcher Parker Dunshee (No. 24).
Sergio Romo might be headed back to the Bay Area -- just to the opposite side.
The former Giants relief pitcher is a free agent, and according to MLB Network's Jon Morosi, the A's reportedly are interested in acquiring his services.
Romo, 36, is a 12-year veteran who spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Giants, playing a major role in helping San Francisco win three World Series titles in a span of five years. Over 60 1/3 combined innings with the Marlins and Twins last season, he posted a 3.43 ERA and 1.11 WHIP with 60 strikeouts and 20 saves.
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Liam Hendricks has Oakland's closer spot locked down, but with Blake Treinen being non-tendered, there could be one or more openings in the A's bullpen. Given that Romo has filled just about every possible role within a major league bullpen over the course of his career, he could be an ideal fit if the price is right.