Ben Ross

MLB free agency: Why A's could target these three non-tendered players

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MLB free agency: Why A's could target these three non-tendered players

The A's non-tendered veterans Blake Treinen, Ryan Buchter, and Josh Phegley Monday night ahead of MLB's non-tender deadline. They weren't the only team making moves.

Throughout the league, a total of 56 players were non-tendered and became free agents. Here are three of those players the A's could potentially target this offseason:

Travis Shaw

Shaw struggled last season with the Brewers but was phenomenal in his previous two years. The 29-year-old infielder posted an OPS of .862 in 2017 with 31 home runs and 101 RBI. He was nearly as good in 2018, with 32 homers, 85 RBI and an .825 OPS.

Last season, however, Shaw plummeted to a .551 OPS, hitting just seven homers in 86 games. Still, he has a career slash line of .243/.327/.451, averaging 27 homers and 85 RBI per 162 games.

Most importantly, Shaw bats left-handed and can play second base, two attributes the A's highly desire at the moment. He's also affordable, with a projected a $4.7 million salary in arbitration before Monday's non-tender. At that price, Shaw could be worth a flier.

Junior Guerra

Guerra is another interesting target who was non-tendered by the Brewers. The right-hander pitched an NL-leading 83 2/3 innings out of the bullpen last season after spending the previous three years as a starter. He went 9-5 with three saves and a 3.55 ERA, notching 77 strikeouts against 36 walks.

In five major league seasons, Guerra is 25-21 with a 3.81 ERA. He features a three-pitch mix, with a mid-90s fastball, a low-80s changeup, and a mid-80s splitter.

Guerra was projected to get $3.5 million in arbitration, a fair price to pay for a true workhorse reliever.

[RELATED: How moves affect A's 2020 roster]

Yimi Garcia

Garcia represents another potential right-handed relief target. The 29-year-old recorded a 3.61 ERA and 0.87 WHIP in 64 appearances with the Dodgers last season, striking out 66 batters in 62 1/3 innings, compared to just 14 walks.

Garcia has spent his entire five-year career with the Dodgers, maintaining a 3.66 ERA and 0.99 WHIP. He mixes a mid-90s fastball with a slider, cutter, and changeup, resulting in an impressive 5.53 strikeout-to-walk ratio throughout his career.

Garcia was only projected to receive $1.1 million in arbitration, which would be a bargain.
 

A's 2020 roster begins to take shape with three players non-tendered

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A's 2020 roster begins to take shape with three players non-tendered

The A's have decided to move on from a trio of veterans, non-tendering Blake Treinen, Ryan Buchter, and Josh Phegley on Monday, making them free agents.

Oakland did tender contracts to Chris Bassitt, Mark Canha, Robbie Grossman, Liam Hendriks, Sean Manaea, Chad Pinder and Marcus Semien, all eligible for arbitration this offseason. The A's also agreed to a one-year contract with left-handed reliever T.J. McFarland, worth $1.8 million, a source told NBC Sports California.

None of the moves are particularly surprising, though Treinen figures to garner a great deal of interest on the free agent market. The 31-year-old is just a year removed from recording 38 saves and a 0.78 ERA with 100 strikeouts in 80 1/3 innings.

However, Treinen struggled in 2019, posting a 4.91 ERA and 1.62 WHIP, ultimately losing his closer job. The right-hander was projected to get close to $8 million in arbitration, so it was never realistic that he would return. Oakland reportedly tried to find a trade partner for Treinen but couldn't get a deal done before Monday's non-tender deadline.

Buchter was made expendable by McFarland's deal, particularly with MLB's rule changes for next season, which require a pitcher to face at least three batters before departing. The A's primarily used Buchter as a left-handed specialist over the past two seasons, which won't be an option next year.

Buchter, 32, went 1-1 with a 2.98 ERA and 1.43 WHIP in 45 1/3 innings last season. He was projected to get $1.8 million in arbitration.

As for Phegley, the writing was probably on the wall earlier Monday when Oakland acquired 25-year-old catcher Austin Allen from the Padres for second baseman Jurickson Profar. A left-handed hitter, Allen figures to back up Sean Murphy behind the plate, leaving no room for Phegley, who was projected to get $2.2 million in arbitration.

Phegley, 31, slashed .239/.282/.411 last season with a career-high 12 home runs and 62 RBI. He hit .233 in five years with the A's.

With the departures of Treinen, Buchter, Phegley, and Profar, the A's roster is beginning to take form for 2020. Youngsters Sheldon Neuse, Franklin Barreto, and Jorge Mateo will likely battle for the starting second baseman job, though Oakland could still bring in a veteran in free agency or via trade.

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

As expected, the bullpen is the area that needs the most work. The A's will bring back Hendriks, Yusmeiro Petit, Joakim Soria, Lou Trivino, J.B. Wendelken, as well as McFarland and Bassitt. That leaves room for another couple of relievers in free agency.

Of course, the moves should really start to pick up next week when the baseball world converges on San Diego for the annual Winter Meetings.

Jurickson Profar trade gives A's infield situation some needed clarity

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Jurickson Profar trade gives A's infield situation some needed clarity

With the non-tender deadline just hours away, the A's shipped starting second baseman Jurickson Profar to the Padres for 25-year-old catcher Austin Allen and a player to be named later.

It's a shrewd move by Billy Beane, David Forst, and company, as Profar was almost certain to be non-tendered later in the day, due to his projected $5.8 million salary in arbitration. Instead, Oakland was able to acquire a solid left-handed hitting catcher to pair with 25-year-old Sean Murphy next year.

In 67 Triple-A games last season, Allen slashed an impressive .330/.379/.663 with 21 home runs and 67 RBI. He hit .215 with three RBI in 34 major league games with the Padres.

Originally a fourth-round draft pick in 2015, Allen has launched 20 or more homers in three consecutive seasons in the minors, with a career .296 batting average and .844 OPS.

The move could signal the end of Josh Phegley's tenure in Oakland, as the 31-year-old catcher is projected to get $2.2 million in arbitration. Phegley becomes a strong non-tender candidate at Monday's 5:00 p.m. deadline.

As for Profar, the 26-year-old switch hitter mostly struggled in his lone season with the A's, posting a .218/.301/.410 slash line. He did notch 20 home runs and 67 RBI, but his defensive struggles at second base were a major issue, with his 13 errors ranking third highest among AL second basemen.

With Profar now out of the picture, the A's second base situation features youngsters Sheldon Neuse, Franklin Barreto, and Jorge Mateo. The three top-10 prospects may end up battling for the starting job in spring training, though Oakland could still choose to bring in a veteran, either in free agency or via trade.

[RELATED: MLB announces over $1.2 million from playoff shares]

With Monday night's non-tender deadline rapidly approaching, the A's might not be done making trades. Former closer Blake Treinen is reportedly on the block, as is Phegley. Other non-tender possibilities include left-hander Ryan Buchter and outfielder Robbie Grossman.

Those questions will be answered shortly, but in the meantime, the A's front office deserves credit for moving Profar at the 11th hour.