MLB Playoffs

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


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.


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. 

MLB announces A's made over $1.2M from playoff shares this season

MLB announces A's made over $1.2M from playoff shares this season

A's players have a little more cash in their wallets after making it to the AL Wild Card Game for the 2019 season.

MLB announced Tuesday that the A's received a share of the players' pool worth $1,212,917.19 for being runners-up in the AL Wild Card Game. Oakland was issued 51 full shares, which are worth $18,918.89. 

Last season, the A's actually received more money despite losing the AL Wild Card Game. Their share of the players' pool was $1,322,829.50. A full share was worth $19,760.35.

This season's players' pool was the third-highest total figure of all time at $80,861,145.74. 

[RELATED: Marcus Semien interested in contract extension with A's]

The players' pool is formed from of 50 percent of gate receipts from the two Wild Card Games, 60 percent of gate receipts from the first three games of each division  series, 60 percent of the gate receipts from the first four games of each league championship series and 60 percent of the gate receipts from the first four games of the World Series. 

Mike Fiers doesn't second guess A's decision to start Sean Manaea

Mike Fiers doesn't second guess A's decision to start Sean Manaea

For the second year in a row, the A's are going home after just one playoff game. For the second year in a row, manager Bob Melvin elected not to give the ball to Mike Fiers to get his team through the AL Wild Card Game.

Last season, Melvin opted for the opened strategy, giving the ball to Liam Hendriks at Yankee Stadium. On Wednesday, Melvin chose to give left-hander Sean Manaea the start against the Tampa Bay Rays. Manaea pitched well in September, but was hit hard with everything on the line, giving up four runs on four hits across two-plus innings of work as the Rays claimed a 5-1 victory at the Coliseum to advance to the American League Division Series.

As is custom when decisions backfire, the Twitter managers immediately questioned Melvin's decision not to start Fiers as soon as Yandy Diaz led off the game with a solo home run off Manaea. 

Fiers, however, didn't second guess Melvin's choice to not give him the ball with the season at stake.

“You could always look back and say, ‘You should have done this or you should have done that,’ but Manaea has pitched very well for us, and everyone was behind him and excited he was pitching," Fiers said after the game, via Susan Slusser of The San Francisco Chronicle.

Results aside, Melvin made the right call in starting Manaea.

Manaea posted a 1.21 ERA and 0.77 WHIP in September. He was the clear choice and few questioned the move before Diaz hammered the fifth pitch of the night into the Coliseum stands.

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

To think Fiers, a fly-ball pitcher in his own right, would have been immune to giving up the three round-trippers as Manaea did Wednesday is a fool's errand, something only taken up by those looking for a reason for another early October exit from the Green and Gold. 

Manaea fell flat in the big moment, but the A's offense mustered just one run on eight hits. Oakland's failure in another elimination game falls just as much on Matt Chapman, Marcus Semien and Co. as it does Manaea and Melvin's decision to give him the start.

The right call was made. Sometimes it just doesn't go your way.