Athletics

Why Sean Manaea blames self for rough start in A's wild-card loss to Rays

Why Sean Manaea blames self for rough start in A's wild-card loss to Rays

​OAKLAND -- Sean Manaea sat at the table in the A's clubhouse, surrounded by teammates eating steak and pasta. 

The A's pitcher stared into space. I couldn’t tell if he had a plate of food in front of him, but it didn’t matter. I doubt he would have taken a bite.

After Oakland's devastating 5-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Wild Card Game, he was the hardest on himself. 

"It stinks," he told reporters postgame in the clubhouse. "This one sucks. I don't even know how to describe it, it's a tough loss and it's lost solely on me. I had one job and I did poorly, really poorly, and I let everyone down and it sucks. But hopefully we can learn from these kinds of things and move on from there."

Manaea gave up four hits, including three homers, in two innings Wednesday. He didn't walk any batters and struck out five, but the A's trailed 4-0 when he left the game.

Before Wednesday, Manaea was surging in his return from shoulder surgery, dominating his five September starts. He posted a 1.21 ERA, 0.78 WHIP and 30 strikeouts in 30 innings.

That's why Manaea got the ball in the one-and-done game.

"I don't know if you call it a rollercoaster, just started out of rehab and I just worked my way back up here and then -- yeah, it just sucks that it ended so quickly," Manaea said.

He added that the A's worked hard to get to October, and they trusted him to get the job done.

Manaea didn't, but the amount of hugs he received from his teammates in a somber postgame clubhouse assures they still trust him.

[RELATED: A's can't explain disappearing offense]

Those embraces had a soundtrack of Manaea's teammates using packing-tape dispensers, but he continued to look straight ahead.

He stared at nothing, but those around him could see his teammates still had his back. I doubt any of them lost sleep knowing they sent the right guy to the mound. 

A's remain in contract talks with Blake Treinen, GM David Forst says

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USATSI

A's remain in contract talks with Blake Treinen, GM David Forst says

MLB's annual Winter Meetings head to San Diego next week, and there already are some big-name free agents receiving big paychecks. 

It appears the moves are going quicker than they started last offseason. As for the A's, one of their priorities is their pitching -- particularly out of the bullpen.

"We will continue to be in conversations with relief pitchers," Forst said Thursday in a conference call with reporters. One of those relievers includes former Athletic Blake Treinen.

The 31-year-old was non-tendered on Monday making him a free agent, but Forst said they're keeping the option open to re-sign him.

"We'll continue that conversation, but there's obviously going to be a lot of interest in him."

Treinen leaves behind a rough season that was the complete opposite of his 2018 All-Star campaign.

In 2019, he finished with a 4.91 ERA with just 59 strikeouts in 58.2 innings. The season prior? A 0.78 ERA with a 0.83 WHIP. He also was in AL Cy Young and MVP talks.

The good news for Treinen is the free-agent market is very forgiving with relief pitchers. One bad season could be right ahead of something great. 

Along with Treinen, Forst also explained that bringing back Jake Diekman was a priority for the team, which the A's did Tuesday on a two-year contract.

[RELATED: Profar trade gives A's infield clarity]

But the A's are far from being done, and Forst mentioned it had been a while since the A's went with a bullpen of fewer than eight players. 

"I think it's an area we will continue to address if possible," Forst added.

A's Marcus Semien, Liam Hendriks deserving of MLB All-Team honors

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AP

A's Marcus Semien, Liam Hendriks deserving of MLB All-Team honors

Major League Baseball has initiated the first-ever All-MLB Team. This was put forth for fans to vote on their favorite players from the 2019 season's entirety.

This is a bit like the All-Star selections only that, in this case, it's not in the middle of the season, and with these, there are both first and second teams. Also, this team will not be broken up by leagues and players were previously nominated -- pretty cool, right?

I voted for my 2019 All-MLB Team and here are my results:

New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso put on a show at the plate this season and during the Home Run Derby. Sure, we dig the long ball, but we also appreciate a guy who shows his emotions when he does something great on the field, like setting a rookie home-run record with 53 dingers this season.

The middle-infielders as of late have become these gems filled with power, which is a characteristic we didn't see in the earlier eras of the game. 

For second base, Houston Astros star José Altuve proved once again why he is a constant force to be reckoned with. The six-time All-Star finished his 2019 campaign slashing .298/.353/.550 with 31 home runs and 74 RBI in 124 games. 

Marcus Semien was the vote at the shortstop position. While there were plenty that deserved the honors (Jorge Polanco and Xander Bogaerts should not go unmentioned), Semien was such a fascinating player this season.

Sure, there's a slight bias over here, but imagine having someone only get better as the season went on. Semien started in all 162 games this season and showed no signs of tiring, finishing with 33 homers and doubling last season's total. He was also third in AL MVP voting behind Mike Trout and Alex Bregman. 

Semien didn't receive All-Star honors this season, which is a shame. He deserves something after the show he put on.

Speaking of Bregman ... I voted for him at third base, the position that was the toughest to select across the roster.

He, Matt Chapman and Nolan Arenado each put up a phenomenal season and reminded you just why it's called the hot corner.

For Bregman, he was sensational across the board in each hitting category, finishing 2019 with a .296 average, 41 homers and a 1.015 OPS. Arenado matched Bregman's long-ball numbers with 41, but ya know -- Coors. 

And that energy is contagious.

Outfielders were easy to vote for.

Trout, Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich. I really hope you guys won't argue with me on those.

The starting pitchers, for the most part, hosted arms from the final two teams still playing October baseball. Justin Verlander earned his second Cy Young Award, posting a 2.58 ERA with 300 strikeouts in 223 innings and an MLB-leading 0.80 WHIP.

Well-deserved. 

Verlander's former teammate Gerrit Cole was behind him in Cy Young voting, leading the AL with a 2.50 ERA and MLB with 326 strikeouts and 13.8 strikeouts per nine innings.

I also voted for Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, and once again, I hope there are no arguments there. If there is, I have plenty of photos of them drenched in champagne celebrating a World Series championship to back me up.

Former A and current Cincinnati Red Sonny Gray didn't reach his 2015 heights, but he dropped his ERA drastically from his 2018 campaign, boasting a 2.87 ERA with the Redlegs. His season deserved to be recognized.

From the bullpen, A's Liam Hendriks got a vote because he not only put up the numbers but switched to closer role responsibilities and did it smoothly and masterfully.

He finished his 2019 All-Star season with a 1.80 ERA and 124 strikeouts in 85 innings with a 0.97 WHIP.

[RELATED: Hendriks shift in energy factors in success with A's]

How'd I do? Let me know.

The winners for first and second-team honors will be announced at this year's Winter Meetings in San Diego.