Athletics

A's, Yankees release starting lineups for AL Wild Card Game

A's, Yankees release starting lineups for AL Wild Card Game

NEW YORK — The A's and Yankees announced their starting lineups for Wednesday night's American League Wild Card Game, with no real surprises on either side.

Nick Martini leads off for the A's, as he typically does against right-handed pitchers. The two-through-six spots also remain the same for Oakland. Rookie Ramon Laureano gets the nod over Marcus Semien in the seven spot, and Jonathan Lucroy rounds out the order.

[ROSS: A's remain calm, loose]

For the Yankees, former Giant Andrew McCutchen will lead off, which he has become accustomed to doing this season. Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton and Luke Voit provide a ton of power in the middle of New York's order. The bottom of the lineup also has plenty of home run potential with Didi Gregorius, Miguel Andujar and Gary Sanchez lurking.

Earlier Wednesday, the teams released their full AL Wild Card Game rosters.

Mark Canha likely will pinch-hit for the A's at some point if the Yankees bring in a left-hander out of the bullpen. Franklin Barreto also made Oakland's roster and could provide value as a pinch-runner late in the game.

[RATTO: A's biggest weakness on full display]

On the pitching side, Edwin Jackson is the only starter on the A's roster, meaning Oakland almost definitely will employ a full bullpen game. Jackson will provide as insurance for potential extra innings.

The Yankees carry three starting pitchers on their roster, which would seem to indicate that Luis Severino will be on a very short leash. New York also carries three catchers on their roster, along with some power and speed on the bench.

Evaluating A's arbitration in 2018 MLB offseason: Ryan Buchter

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USATSI

Evaluating A's arbitration in 2018 MLB offseason: Ryan Buchter

(Over the next week, we will be examining each of the A's arbitration-eligible players to determine whether they will return in 2019.)

While other A's relievers may have earned more notoriety, Ryan Buchter was an important part of the bullpen in 2018. The 31-year-old southpaw went 6-0 with a 2.75 ERA in 39 1/3 innings in his first season with Oakland.

Buchter was especially effective against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .169/.231/.265 slash line. He finished the season extremely strong, allowing just two runs in his final 24 appearances.

The fourth-year pro earned $555k in 2018 and is projected to get $1.3 million in arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors.

Why he might be a bargain

Buchter spent almost the entire year as Oakland's only left-hander in the bullpen. Manager Bob Melvin relied on him to retire opponents' best left-handed hitters, and Buchter did a tremendous job of that. He also faced a number of right-handed batters and held his own against them.

For $1.3 million, the A's would be wise to bring Buchter back, especially since there is a good chance they will lose Jeurys Familia, Fernando Rodney, and Shawn Kelley.

Why he might be too pricey

Some might argue that $1.3 million is too much money to spend on a left-handed specialist. Most of Buchter's outings lasted less than an inning, as he was typically only asked to retire one or two batters.

Even if the A's do end up losing Familia, Rodney, and Kelley, they still have solid right-handers to turn to in Blake Treinen, Lou Trivino, J.B. Wendelken, and Yusmeiro Petit.

Verdict

For just over a million dollars, Buchter is absolutely worth bringing back for another season. He proved to be a reliable left-handed option out of the bullpen and only got better as the season progressed. While Oakland has other reliable arms in the pen, Buchter is their only left-hander and would be especially valuable against AL West lefties like Robinson Cano, Kole Calhoun, Josh Reddick, and Joey Gallo.

Evaluating A's arbitration in 2018 MLB offseason: Khris Davis

Evaluating A's arbitration in 2018 MLB offseason: Khris Davis

(Over the next week, we will be examining each of the A's arbitration-eligible players to determine whether they will return in 2019.)

Khris Davis is the best power hitter in baseball. That's not an opinion. It's a fact.

Over the last three seasons, Davis leads all of MLB with 133 home runs. He led the league with 48 homers this past season and finished second with 123 RBI. It marked the third straight year he hit 40-plus home runs and drove in more than 100 runs.

Davis, 30, slashed .247/.326/.549 for the season. Incredibly, it was the fourth straight year he hit exactly .247.

Davis earned a team-high $10.5 million and is projected to get $18.1 million in arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors.

Why he might be a bargain

It's hard to call $18.1 million a bargain, but for Khris Davis, it probably is. Davis affects the A's lineup in a way that very few other hitters can. He changes the way other A's players are pitched and can change any game with one swing of the bat.

Davis has also been extremely durable during his three seasons in Oakland. He has missed just 32 games over the course of three years, playing in 150 games or more in all three seasons. Davis' power numbers have improved each year in Oakland, from 42 home runs and 102 RBI in 2016, to 43 homers and 110 RBI in 2017, to a career-high 48 round-trippers and 123 RBI in 2018.

Why he might be too pricey

It's honestly hard to even make this argument. I guess you could say $18.1 million is too much for a designated hitter who doesn't hit for a great average.

While it's obviously a lot of money, Davis has earned whatever he gets.

Verdict

Davis will be back in Oakland next season. Executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane has already said as much. The real question is whether the A's will lock him up past 2019.

Beyond his production on the field, Davis has become a leader in the clubhouse and a fan favorite. He truly loves playing in Oakland, and Oakland loves him.