MLB Free Agency

MLB free agency: A's have plenty of options in relief pitcher market

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MLB free agency: A's have plenty of options in relief pitcher market

MLB free agency has slowed down to a mere simmer once again. Expect that to be the case until third baseman Josh Donaldson signs, which likely will cause more dominos to fall.

Until then, the A's still are in search of an everyday second baseman. A lefty bat would be a bonus, as well as some relief help. Luckily for the A's, the reliever market still has some solid bullpen arms available.

Fernando Rodney is still out there, as is Chad Bettis and Tony Sipp, to name a few of the more intriguing options. 

Rodney blew out 42 candles on his last birthday cake, indicating age is nothing but a number. So while acquiring him isn't the craziest idea, it doesn't appear likely. Especially if you take a look at his 2019 numbers with the A's.

Rodney posted a cringe-worthy 9.42 ERA and a 2.23 WHIP in 14.1 innings last season with the A's before getting designated for assignment. He would up signing a minor-league deal with the Nationals' Triple-A team, and eventually found himself on the Nats' World Series squad. Things obviously turned out well for him.

But a reunion with the A's? Unlikely.

For someone of Chad Bettis' caliber, his numbers don't exactly stand out, but we always give someone the benefit of the doubt who has to pitch at Coors Field half of the time. A 6.08 ERA, 5.16 FIP and 1.56 WHIP last season showed hitters dominated him, on paper. But the increase of inducing groundballs and pitching in a more spacious ballpark could make him someone to take another look at. 

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When it comes to 36-year-old Tony Sipp, he's someone who stands out simply on how well he pitches at the Coliseum. In 24 games in Oakland, he has limited batters to a .237 average, with 23 strikeouts with seven walks in those outings. He struggled last season with the Nationals, but during his five prior seasons with the Houston Astros, he showed he is a good fit in the AL West. 

There is, of course, a chance a trade could happen. Perhaps the A's give up two or three prospects for a stellar reliever. Whatever it is, they're aware they need to start hot in first half of the season and avoid that one-and-done wild-card game.

MLB free agency: Why Jason Kipnis could be good fit to sign with A's

MLB free agency: Why Jason Kipnis could be good fit to sign with A's

The A's made a trade back in December that sent second baseman Jurickson Profar to the San Diego Padres. In return, Oakland acquired catcher Austin Allen and a player to be named later, who wound up being Buddy Reed.

That didn't take care of the second base need, at least when it came to an everyday starter. The free-agent list at the position remains somewhat full, but the idea of Jason Kipnis is fascinating.

The whys

For starters, the man knows the AL well has he has spent the entirety of his career with the Cleveland Indians. In related news, it doesn't appear the Indians are willing to re-sign him.

In other related news, he's a left-handed hitter, which is one of the main things the A's are continuing to look for this offseason.

Let's get this part out of the way. His numbers are pretty "meh" when Kipnis is playing at the Coliseum in his career. In 22 games, he has a .218/.292./310 slash line without a home run, but he has quite a few good seasons sandwiched in there with those Oakland appearances. His .602 OPS at the Coliseum also isn't too sexy, but there are plenty of names on the A's to make up for that power.

As we know, Khris Davis is due for a comeback.

Kipnis' .245/.304/.410 slash line with 17 home runs in 121 games last season is far less than what the two-time All-Star is capable of.

In the past, he's been able to improve his power. He worked with his coaches a couple of seasons ago to perfect that power. That could be something he teaches himself again.

Perhaps he needs a change of scenery.

The why nots

Well, it's a money thing. Isn't it always?

The Indians didn't pick up Kipnis' $16.5 million option in October. The A's don't have a history of reaching deep into their pockets. 

You do the math.

It wouldn't hurt to rent someone of his caliber for a season knowing there are plenty of young guys able to take over the position in the future. But is that really why these guys hit the free-agentmarket?

No. Especially for the first time in one's career -- and he's 33 years old. 

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Utility man Chad Pinder is the essence of "put him anywhere and let him do his thing." Franklin Barreto and Jorge Mateo also are options to fill in when needed, but Kipnis would be the everyday guy.

I didn't forget about the history of injuries Kip brings has dealt with. Those always are a factor, but the addition of him into that clubhouse full of personalities is interesting. 

MLB rumors: Giants target Nicholas Castellanos had good Rangers meeting

MLB rumors: Giants target Nicholas Castellanos had good Rangers meeting

Free-agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos reportedly thought highly of the Giants' clubhouse culture, but another team might have caught his eye as of late.

The 28-year-old met with the Texas Rangers and "came away with a favorable impression," MLB.com's Jon Morosi reported Monday, citing sources. The Rangers, according to Morosi, are one of the finalists to sign Castellanos.

New Giants general manager Scott Harris was the Chicago Cubs' assistant general manager when they acquired Castellanos at last year's trade deadline. In 664 plate appearances with the Cubs and Detroit Tigers, Castellanos slashed .289/.337/.525 and hit 27 home runs. The Giants could use that kind of power and have an opening in their outfield, but the Rangers have a need, too.

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Texas traded right fielder Nomar Mazara to the Chicago White Sox last month, and, as Morosi noted, Castellanos has spent most of the last few years playing the position. Plus, following their trade for former Cleveland ace Corey Kluber, the Rangers are far closer to contention than the rebuilding Giants. ESPN's Jeff Passan pointed out Monday that the Giants have handed out just $9 million in major league contracts this offseason, which is fewer than all but eight teams.

Morosi listed the Giants and White Sox as the other teams still interested in signing Castellanos, but the Rangers' latest pitch seems to have resonated with the free agent.