Trevor Cahill

MLB rumors: Ex-A's catcher Jonathan Lucroy agrees to Angels contract

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AP

MLB rumors: Ex-A's catcher Jonathan Lucroy agrees to Angels contract

Jonathan Lucroy reportedly will head back to the AL West in 2019. He just won't be with the A's. 

The veteran catcher agreed to a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels on Friday, Fancred's Jon Heyman reported. The deal is worth $3.35 million, and up to $4 million with incentives, according to Yahoo's Jeff Passan.

The A's signed Lucroy late in free agency last offseason, and the 32-year-old stabilized a young, injury-riddled rotation en route to a 97-win season and Oakland's first postseason appearance since 2014. But Lucroy and the A's reportedly were far away on contract terms this winter, as Lucroy reportedly was unwilling to sign with the A's for less than he made last season. But, his reported contract value is less than the $6.5 million he made last season, and he'll join starting pitcher Trevor Cahill as a member of the 2018 A's to trade a green-and-gold "A" for a red one. 

Earlier this offseason, Oakland signed 31-year-old catcher Chris Herrmann to platoon with Josh Phegley behind the dish. General manager David Forst said at the MLB Winter Meetings this month that the A's would "still probably look around and see if there are options," and there are still plenty of possibilities left on the market. 

As NBC Sports California's Ben Ross noted on Thursday, veteran catchers such as Matt Wieters and Nick Hundley remain available, should the A's consider any of them an upgrade. But the A's again will have to be patient in order to find any diamonds in the rough, and success with the strategy last offseason doesn't guarantee the same success going into 2019. 

MLB free agency: Ex-A's pitcher Trevor Cahill, Angels agree to contract

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USATSI

MLB free agency: Ex-A's pitcher Trevor Cahill, Angels agree to contract

Trevor Cahill is staying in the AL West, but it won't be in Oakland. 

The former A's starting pitcher has agreed to a one-year contract with the Angels.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic was first to report the news. 

Cahill, 30, was a bit of a pleasant surprise for the A's in 2018 with a 7-4 record and 3.76 ERA. He was behind just Edwin Jackson and Sean Manaea for the team lead in ERA amongst starters in his second stint in Oakland. 

Looking at his ERA doesn't tell the whole story of Cahill's season, as there were two sides to the right-hander: Home Trevor Cahill and Away Trevor Cahill. Pitching in Oakland, he was 5-1 with a 1.84 ERA, but on the road, his ERA rocketed to 6.41 with a 2-3 record.

This is the second signing of a veteran starting pitcher in three days by the Angels. On Tuesday, they added Matt Harvey on a one-year deal as well. 

The A's were said to have interest in bringing Cahill back, but $9 million with the chance at earning another $1.5 million from incentives probably was too much for the A's.

Starting pitching remains the team's biggest need as its rotation is virtually barren at this point. Once healthy, though, the A's do feel good about their organizational depth.

"We feel really good about the depth we have," A's manager Bob Melvin said at the MLB Winter Meetings. "Now, granted, a lot of these guys are hurt right now, and you never really know how you're going to respond. But there's a whole host of guys who are going to be back (between) spring training (and) the end of the year that we're really excited about."

A's could have more difficulty finding diamonds in the rough this offseason

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USATSI

A's could have more difficulty finding diamonds in the rough this offseason

The 2018 Winter Meetings were mostly uneventful, with just a handful of significant trades and free agent signings. But the players who did agree to contracts earned big money, signifying a hotter market than last year.

Outfielder Andrew McCutchen inked a three-year, $50 million deal with the Phillies despite a modest 20 home runs and 65 RBI last season. Relievers Jeurys Familia and Joe Kelly each got three-year contracts worth $30 million and $25 million, respectively.

The starting pitcher market, where the A's are most interested, appears to be especially strong. Patrick Corbin got a six-year contract worth a staggering $140 million from the Nationals. Nathan Eovaldi received four years and $67.5 million from the Red Sox, despite posting similar numbers to Trevor Cahill.

Even Tyson Ross earned $5.75 million from the Tigers following a season in which he recorded a 4.15 ERA and 1.30 WHIP, both significantly worse than Cahill and Edwin Jackson.

So what does all of that mean? Essentially, it suggests the A's will have to spend more money than they would like in order to be competitive in free agency.

Of course, in previous years, Billy Beane and David Forst have been successful finding diamonds in the rough for more affordable price tags. They say they will stick to their plan.

"We don't really get to keep up with the Joneses, so to speak," Forst said. "We kind of set our price. We know what we can do within the confines of our payroll and try to stay on that."

That might be a little more difficult this year, based on the early contract numbers in free agency. While the A's try not to let other teams' deals affect their negotiations, it's hard not to take notice.

"Any time a player comes off the market, whether it's a free agent or a trade, that's one fewer guy that you can put in place," Forst said. "So you kind of have to take that into account. We're not playing in a certain stratosphere with the starting pitcher market, so those don't really affect us, but you do have to keep it in mind. There are only so many guys out there." 

The A's typically prefer to wait until late in the offseason to find free agents who fit their price range. That tactic worked well last year with Cahill, Brett Anderson, and Jonathan Lucroy. 

"We have sort of targeted conversations, free agents, and trades, and kind of go at our own pace," Forst said. "I don't know that any external forces are going to change that."

Oakland will have to hope a few quality free agents slip through the cracks again.