Matt Chapman

Why A's are focused more on keeping young stars than MLB free agency

Why A's are focused more on keeping young stars than MLB free agency

The AL West is moving and shaking early this MLB offseason, with players coming in and out of the division. 

Star third baseman Anthony Rendon reportedly agreed to a seven-year, $245 million contract to join the Angels. The Halos also traded for former top prospect Dylan Bundy to add to their rotation, and reportedly are pursuing longtime Giants ace Madison Bumgarner. The Astros, who have been the cream of the crop out west, lost pitcher Gerrit Cole to the Yankees, and Mariners general manager Jerry DiPoto is bound to make 47 trades by spring training. 

A's GM David Forst says he's more focused on his own squad than what his division foes are up to, but he certainly isn't mad about the Cole news. 

"I'm not sad to see Gerrit Cole leave our division is the best way to put it," Forst said to NBC Sports California in a 1-on-1 interview Wednesday. "We try not to get too wrapped up into what other teams are doing."

The A's came to the Winter Meetings in San Diego looking to upgrade their roster like every other team, however, they're much more focused on who they have in-house as opposed to the free-agent market this year. 

Oakland should receive a big boost to its starting rotation with the additions of Jesus Luzardo (22) and A.J. Puk (24) next season. The A's infield also is full of young talent, including budding stars Marcus Semien (29), Matt Chapman (26) and Matt Olson (25). Franklin Barreto (23), Jorge Mateo (24) and Sheldon Neuse (25) will compete for second base. 

"We've got a really good foundation and we're not heavily invested in free agency right now because we have those guys," Forst said. "We have young pitching, we have the position player group. So our focus has been on filling holes -- looking for a left-handed bat, something in the bullpen. We're fortunate enough to not have to be out there in free agency." 

Semien, who finished third in AL MVP voting last season after hitting 33 homers with an .892 OPS, is expected to earn nearly $14 million in arbitration this offseason and becomes a free agent after next season. The Bay Area native also has reiterated his hope to stay with the A's long term. 

Chapman and Olson both are arbitration-eligible after next season and are set to hit free agency once the 2023 season ends. 

"Certainly our hope is to keep all these guys together," Forst said. "You mentioned Marcus, who's going to be a free agent potentially after this year. That's something we'll address as the season goes along, and the rest of those guys, we're looking for ways to keep them in Oakland as long as possible."

The A's real goal when it comes to 2020 is avoiding the AL Wild Card Game after falling two years in a row in the winner-take-all contest. Forst and the rest of the front office is focused on giving Oakland its best chance at winning the division to get a better shot at the World Series. 

[RELATED: Beane opens up on A's-Semien negotiations, Astros scandal]

"You want to give your guys a chance to play in a series with a better chance to advance," Forst said. "To do that, you have to win the division. We've obviously stayed close to Houston the last couple of years, but as we put this team together, we're definitely looking towards a way to win the division, to get out of the wild card game and give our guys a better chance at a division series."

The A's will need another big season from the Semien, Chapman, Olson trio for that to happen, and they hope to keep them together well into the next decade. 

Four A's players nominated for inaugural 'All-MLB' team for 2019 season

Four A's players nominated for inaugural 'All-MLB' team for 2019 season

A busy MLB awards season continues for a quartet of A’s, as MLB.com unveiled finalists for the inaugural All-MLB team.

Third baseman Matt Chapman, first baseman Matt Olson, shortstop Marcus Semien, and relief pitcher Liam Hendriks were among the nominated players.

Similar to the NBA and NFL awards, there will be an All-MLB first- and second-team, voted on by a combination of media, broadcasters, former players, along with a fan vote.

Chapman has won back-to-back Gold Glove awards for his outstanding work in the field, and led all AL third basemen with 36 home runs in 2019.

The 25-year-old Olson led all Major League first basemen with 13 defensive runs saved, despite missing 34 games after hand surgery.

Hendriks made his first All-Star team in 2019 and broke the MLB record for most strikeouts by an Australian-born pitcher (124).

[RELATED: Report: A's discussing trading Treinen, two other vets]

Semien had a breakout season in 2019, finishing third in AL MVP voting and leading all Major League shortstops in games, starts, and innings.

The full rosters will be released Tuesday, Dec. 10 during the Winter Meetings in San Diego.

A's Matt Chapman wins AL Platinum Glove Award for second straight year

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AP

A's Matt Chapman wins AL Platinum Glove Award for second straight year

For the second straight year, Matt Chapman is the best of the best.
 
The A's third baseman won the AL's Platinum Glove Award, given annually to the league's best defensive player, regardless of position.

 

Chapman's 16.7 SABR Defensive Index ranking was second-best in the majors and he led the league with a 14.8 ultimate zone rating. The 26-year-old topped all third basemen in defensive runs saved (18), fielding percentage (.981), zone rating (.834), total chances (466) and putouts (146). 

 

Chapman also won his second consecutive Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award on Wednesday. 

 

Chapman becomes just the second player to win back-to-back AL Platinum Glove Awards, joining former Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre.