AL West rivals: Oakland A’s

This will be the blog’s last look at AL West division rivals before turning our eyes to the Astros next.  Today we continue the topic with the defending division champs, the Oakland A’s. We will include some stats from 2019 and 2020 since 2020 was such an odd wad season.

  • Last Playoff season. 2020 when they lost the ALDS to the Astros 3-1
  • Last Playoff winning series. 2020 when they beat the White Sox in the Wild Card round
  • The A’s are 8-5 all-time in the World Series, 4-2 in Oakland and 4-3 back in the Philadelphia days. They last played in the WS in 1990 (being swept by the Reds) and last won the year before in 1989 sweeping the Giants in the Bay Area earthquake series.
  • 2019 Record. 97-65  2nd place in the AL West – 10 games back / 52-29 at home / 45-36 on road / 27-22 one run games / 6-9 extra inning games – They were 8-11 against the Astros
  • Hitting. 5.22 runs/game (5th in AL) / .249 BA (8th) / .327 OBP (5th) / .776 OPS (5th) / 257 HRs (4th)
  • Pitching. 4.20 runs/game (4th in AL) / 1.242 WHIP (4th) / 45 saves (5th) – Starters – 4.02 ERA (4th)  / Relievers – 3.89 ERA (4th)
  • 2020 Record. 36-24  1st place in the AL West – 7 games ahead / 22-10 at home / 14-14 on road / 7-6 one run games / 6-1 extra inning games -They were 7-3 against the Astros
  • Hitting. 4.57 runs/game (T-8th in AL) / .225 BA (14th) / .322 OBP (7th) / .718 OPS (10th) / 71 HRs (9th)
  • Pitching. 3.87 runs / game (4th) / 1.234 WHIP (4th) / 17 saves (T4th) – Starters – 4.49 ERA (8th)  /  Relievers – 2.72 ERA (1st)

Review

The A’s have been one of the best teams in the majors the last two seasons, which did not help them in two failed playoff runs. Their 36-24 record in 2020 would project out to 97-65, which was their record in 2019. But thanks to the Astros fall-off last year, they went from 10 games back to 7 games up in the division. The A’s survived a drop off in their hitting in 2020 by riding a top-5 pitching staff including the best bullpen in the majors. The bullpen meltdown in the playoffs doomed them in 2020. This season the A’s have to make up for a slew of off-season losses, which were partially offset with some late off-season signings.

Offense

The offense will look much different in 2021 and considering their struggles in 2020, that might not be a bad thing. OF and former Astro Robbie Grossman left as a free agent to Detroit after a solid 2020. SS Marcus Semien left as a free agent to Toronto after a big fall-off hitting in 2020. He is being replaced by SS Elvis Andrus, who came from the Rangers in a trade sending longtime OF/DH Khris Davis to Texas. IF Tommy LaStella, who hit well as a trade-deadline rental from the Angels signed with the Giants. 3B Jake Lamb was picked up after being released from the D’Backs in September and hit well down the stretch, but he also left in free agency to Atlanta. The two big additions are the signing of veteran Mitch Moreland as the likely DH and the return of Gold Glove and slugger 3B Matt Chapman, who missed the last part of the season and the postseason with a hip injury. Similar to the Astros, the A’s are hoping for bounce-back seasons from some of their main starters like 1B Matt Olson (.195 BA/ ..734 OPS), CF and former Astro Ramon Laureano (.213/.704), Stephen Piscotty (.226/.629) and Chad Pinder (.232/.688). The A’s will get some improvement, but likely their offense will be league average.

Starting Pitching

The A’s bring back their starting rotation that, as a whole, was quite good the last couple of years, but they have had some problems in Spring Training. Frankie Montas missed time due to COVID protocol and then left his last start with a ripped cuticle, which sounds minor but can be problematic over time. Mike Fiers was supposed to fill the 5th spot in the rotation behind Montas, Jesus Luzardo, Chris Bassitt and Sean Manaea, but has been suffering from hip inflammation brought on by a large number of voodoo dolls being bought and used in the Houston area. Bassitt is the ace here and Manaea has been very good at times. 23 year old Luzardo is the one to watch as he looks like a stud in the making. If Fiers and/or Montas miss time early, look for high end prospect A.J. Puk, former Phillie Cole Irvin or youngster Daulton Jefferies to pick up some starts. Starting pitching (except for one yellow-bellied chicken who is hiding from his former club) looks like a strength again for Oakland.

Bullpen

As stated above, the A’s had the best and deepest bullpen in the MLB until they crashed in the playoffs. In the offseason, they lost their lockdown closer Liam Hendricks (White Sox) and other bullpen denizens, Joakim Soria (D’backs), T.S. McFarland (Nats) and Daniel Mengden (Free agent waiting hell). They recently signed a replacement closer Trevor Rosenthal, who came back from a nightmare 2019 to pitch quite studly for the Royals and Padres in 2020. Jake Diekman (0.42 ERA) who was almost untouchable in 2020, moves into the set-up man’s spot. They re-signed Yusmeiro Petit and signed FA Sergio Romo from Minnesota, who join J.B. Wenderlein and Lou Trivino to make their bullpen on paper a tough gauntlet to run through again.

2021 Prediction: 93-69 and first in the AL West

The AL West is going to be a close two-horse race, but right now it looks like the A’s have a good shot at holding off the bounce-back of the Astros. More on that next post.

80 comments on “AL West rivals: Oakland A’s

  1. If their offense is ‘league average’, we have a shot to capture back the AL West. I don’t agree at all, though. As you note, they’re bullpen assembled does look very tough. Just think if they hadn’t wsted the pick on Kyler Murray, they could’ve drafted AC’s boy, Grayson Rodriguez.

    Looks like Astros are currently getting decimated by contact tracing. The JOY of it; and De La Cruz had a collision with our other young stud OF, Daniels. Brantley is now a protocol victim, and Dusty says we may go to waiver wire. Think I’ll listen to some Gerry Muligan Night Lights 1963. After spending hours putting together a projected 26-man, I guess they’ll tell us at game time who they want playing, makes no difference to me Ha!

    Dang, and to think DLC was “in the running” for OD. I would have gotten my prediction that Bryan would debut before Pedro Leon. They ALL laughed at that one.

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    • No sense in looking backwards, but Jake would have been a handy guy to have around right now at his price, although maybe he is persona non grata in Houston. It’s a bit disconcerting to have no real viable outfield option in house available to the big club.

      Dan, overall though, our offense should be significantly stronger than the A’s. And I’m not sure their pitching is all that much better once we get Framber and Javier back into the fold.

      I don’t think 93 games wins the division.

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      • For as cheap as he was both times we had a clear shot at him, there’s some reason he didn’t come back — my money is on the banging stigma in his particular case. He participated a lot according to Tony Adams’ counting data, and it was too obvious he should’ve been asked back if there wasn’t something glaring. Again, he used to be neightbors across the street from George, and probable he sold house when going to NY; we know Springer did when he left. Then, to come right back when he could get paid elsewhere?

        Some guys are weathering the scandal storm, and some are long gone.

        One other thing is Jake seemed to start figuring it out in NY, and hit well this Spring. He’s probably “tired” of our batting strategies, getting different perspectives after Hudgens and others. Greener pastures. Plus he was a prospect and knows we have some hungry guys who deserve their turn, Astros “cheap” would rather save the $2m+ and play Straw For that reason, we’ll probably stay in-house wouldn’t you think?

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      • No argument on Jake. But I think he would have come back if wanted. Given the luxury of hindsight, I’d rather have him here as the forth than Click scanning the waiver wire on March 28. It’s largely a moot point though if Straw owns the job. That would certainly make things much more manageable, at least for the time being.

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      • Hungry?

        McCormick Diaz and Jones would be fine. All on 40-man.
        Even if Straw Stubbs and Toro are out.

        The article I saw this morning included Brantley in protocols, but I can’t confirm it elsewhere. Seems like it’d be front page news, but I think CBS just worded it incorrectly.

        The more I try to apply any logic to “who plays, when” the more I become indifferent about baseball. Spent way too much time prospecting to get jerked around last minute. I’m sure they’ll figure it out Ha!

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      • I am thinking that Jake knows that even with the bat banging and him knowing what pitch was coming, he still couldn’t hit his weight in Houston. So he is going to a nice quiet place. Wrigley Field where there are no rabid fans. (Ask Steve Bartman.)

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  2. – Seen some talk from A’s fans about finally having a decent SS. As bad as Semien was last year, Andrus was worse.
    – Having an Andrus/Lowrie team up the middle would be scary for me if I was the A’s.
    – Is Trevor Rosenthal going to be Liam Hendricks?
    – If the A’s get to 93 wins and take the AL West, Dan, the Astros would probably not make the wild card.
    -I’d stick McCormick in CF if Straw is in quarantine. Siri would be great as a Designated Fielder, but there is no such thing as a DF.
    – Waiver wire? Really?
    – How do you dispel the fear of the Oakland Athletics? Go in there and beat them in their house.

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    • CBS Sports reported Dusty said they are looking at waiver wire, yes. [But wouldn’t they do that every year, anyway?] I would think McCormick or Tucker CF, and Diaz in LF is the other option if Straw out for awhile. Siri K’s too much, give us Taylor Jones. Power bench bat plays RF.

      Heck, I don’t know how they will ever juggle 40-man when Baez, Emanuel come on. Who would you kick off the 40? James to 60-day perhaps? We have to make that determination today probably. Or more relevant questions like:

      1. Is Framber going to be on 60-day to accomodate the 40-man? If so, he MUST stay on for 60 days. Otherwise, they put him on maybe two series’ of 10-day IL? Right? So he can go to AAA and pitch a few games to be ready in mid-May.

      2. How will the Astros “hide” Odorizzi not being ready, and how does that effect VERY hot hands; Garcia, Solomon, and so on? Currently Day 5 starter is listed as “TBD”

      I think we are going to see some crazy moving around, and thank goodness for this team’s depth.

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      • Jon Jay and Cam Maybin were a few names which came up. I liked Cam a lot btw.

        Goodness, why not call Reddick who at this point will probably play for $1M. If I were him, unfortunately they have a young family of twins, I’d go to Korea. He’s a lot better hitter than Pres Tucker or Tyler White, and would probably do well there. I just thought he’d retire near Georgia, where he built the Little League stadium in his hometown. A la, Billy Spiers in South Carolina. But the Braves are stacked, so he’s working out in Crosby, Tx.

        Ok, would you call Reddick and offer $600K?! I would, and I’m not that big of a fan.

        Heck the other option is Ronnie Dawson, or trial by fire, Pedro Leon!

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  3. I like our starting lineup better. I like their pitching especially their bullpen better than ours.
    I think predicting this season is a crap shoot due to the ramp up from 60 innings to 162 innings. Will some pitchers end up lame because of that ramp up? Will teams put pitchers on the IL for minor things in order to rest them? Will some older pitchers have livelier arms after a shortened season? And will Covid protocol wipe out certain teams at the worst possible moments?
    I think the AL West will be extremely close. But then again I thought the Astros would win the division last year. I could very easily be wrong and hope I am.

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    • DanP, I agree that this is a perfect year for another “Miracle Mets” look alike. Every team has no idea what to expect and with so many former veteran FAs not getting signed, every team is depending on some youngsters to carry them at a much cheaper salary.

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  4. In this situation, I would not rule out Reddick either, but he’s going to need a month even if he has been doing his work. And I don’t think he’ll go to work for 600K or a million.

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      • I don’t know, his Instagram’s seem pretty desperate.. you’re probably right, though. That’s why I was wondering what his threshold. Mainly because it would be an easy fit rather than bring someone foreign to the orgs methods.

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    • Haha AC … I imagine this will be a little more under the radar.
      I don’t wish bad for the young man – I hate lost potential

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  5. McCormick has made the 26-man, according to Chandler Rome.

    There’s all the rage that 7th round catching prospect Sam Huff is going to play for the rebuilding Rangers. I’m always stumped at how Callis/MLB makes Overall Grades, and here’s an example compared to our Korey Lee.

    Huff (20-80 grading scale)
    HIT 45 POWER 60 RUN 40 ARM 60 FIELD 50 OVERALL 55
    Lee
    HIT 45 POWER 55 RUN 40 ARM 65 FIELD 50 OVERALL 45

    How is Huff 10 points higher overall when his Power is only 5 points higher and arm is 5 points lower? Doesn’t seem like a uniform system, or there are intangibles not listed. Anyway, I think Lee will make up the power difference in short order.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t see a guy who knows how he plays and acts this season might cost him $50 million or whatever by being a bad teammate, would risk that kind of effect on his eventual bottom line. I think we are best off to get whatever we can out of Carlos and only trade him if we are out of it at the trade deadline.

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      • After losing one of the faces and leaders of the team in Springer; for a club struggling to find their identity, it’s a real kick in the pants that Correa comes to his walk year without incentive to galvanize his leadership here.

        Many factors working against it, but none better imo than having a very solid Jeremy Pena waiting in wings. Let Carlos play out the year, and we’ll cross that bridge when confronted.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Astros have stuck with Robel Garcia. Baker says they like his versatility. For your records; Garcia has 1 option, Jones has 2. Baker said Toro turned a corner this Spring too.

    By my account, if we 60-day Austin Pruitt (& JV), we’ll have at least 2 openings.
    I’d love to see HOU give Austin Hansen an early Christmas present! Hours away from getting some solid answers…

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  7. Oakland again has a team that seems to be a cellar dweller. With a 37 year old Jed Lowrie who has not played for two years and has always been injured. And with Elvis Andrus who is making $14 Million this year – and the Rangers wanted to get rid of him so bad, they are paying $13 Million of it. Yet, the team will over perform and give the Astros fits – probably.

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  8. Carlos Correa is currently a Houston Astros. We need to cheer for him this year. He can hit, hit with power, play good defense and has an amazing arm. Those are his “tools.” If “arrogance” were a tool, he would have that one also. But unfortunately for Carlos, it is not. Therefore “arrogance” just makes him a “tool.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • All I’m asking of him is if he isn’t going to negotiate after opening day, that we don’t have to listen to any more conversation from him about it until the season is concluded. It just seems fair to me.

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  9. All along I’ve been a proponent of getting a great year out of Correa and then letting things sort themselves out down the road, whether it be in July if heaven forbid the club craters, or more likely after the season, once Carlos declares free agency. I just want him to have that great year and be quiet. Click would not deal Carlos unless he thought he’d be making the team better immediately. And that’s got to be a long shot.

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  10. I’ll wait to see concerning the East San Francisco Lunks until Thursday [actually, Friday morning since it is a ‘late’ game]. In the meantime, I’d just like to see if our friend Jake ‘Happy’ Odorizzi can lower his spring ERA to at least under 60.00, his WHIP to under 8.00, and his BAA to under .667.

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    • Happy likes Lucky 8 WHIP?

      I hope this doesn’t turn in to a, “How it Started and How it Ended” unhappy ending.

      Nothing would make me more giddy than to sideline him, add Luis Garcia and Austin Hansen! But instead, I’ll probably only get one of those wishes, and Odorizzi will take Day 5 at 60 pitch max.

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  11. Cristian Javier pitched well in the ‘B’ game and looks like he will be ready as team #2. For perspective, Cristian cost the team a cool $10,000.

    We could get 2,800 different pitchers of his kind for just One Year of Carlos Correa. I’d say there’s a serious problem in baseball with perspective.

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  12. Dave is going to “body check” me with this near political post, but I can remember reading quotes and stories from old baseball players. Such as I am glad to be making $10,000 a year because otherwise I would be raising tobacco back in Kentucky. And guys like Vinegar Bend Mizell when they complained about him letting players steal bases off him – “I’ve never pitched with men on base before.” But somewhere along the way it changed.

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    • Maybe we can blame Howard Cozell/Cassius Clay/Muhammed Ali and I am the greatest. Now it is all about ME ME ME. They all talk team but it is about money, and minutes, or the coach/manager didn’t use me in the correct inning/quarter/ whatever. When I watch a game and a player gets a home run, slam dunk, quarterback sack, etc and they act like they solved World Peace or a cure for cancer, the TV/Computer gets turned off or a change of channel. So its not just Carlos Correa. It is rampant in all sports and in our society.

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    • Maybe we can blame Howard Cozell/Cassius Clay/Muhammed Ali and I am the greatest. Now it is all about ME ME ME. They all talk team but it is about money, and minutes, or the coach/manager didn’t use me in the correct inning/quarter/ whatever.

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      • Who is going to be the first outfielder to make a great play and get up and go running and slide on his knees for about 10 yards on the outfield grass like soccer players do? It’s gonna happen.

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      • I just hope they’re not compelled to do a Mia Hamm Brandi Chastain, and expose their bare chest …. to prove there are no buzzers.

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    • Vinegar Bend? I was a 7 year old Mets fan in 1962 but I sure don’t remember Wilmer. I like your politics 45. Those others making a “career” of it at our expense, left or right, they’re all dookie heads. You’re right, somewhere along the way it all did change. In many ways.

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  13. If Pena has a good year in the minors, he has a good chance of filling a needed position for minimum salary in 2022 and be a welcome addition to the Astros lineup.
    But what do you do about a position that is set to filled in 2022 by a 38 year old player who is at the end of his career? At who do you count on to replace Correa’s power in the middle of the order? And who could you pay good money to that would be a solid guy for years for the Astros? Four Gold Gloves!
    This guy.
    https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2021/03/extension-talks-stall-between-anthony-rizzo-cubs.html.
    Altuve -2B
    Brantley- LF
    Bregman- 3B
    Alvarez- DH
    Rizzo- 1B
    Leon- CF
    Tucker- RF
    Pena- SS
    Catcher
    That’s a great lineup! And a really good defense.

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  14. – I like that Rizzo thought Old pro
    -AC – the world has been ME ME ME for quite a while.
    – I will say – even with this stuff going on Correa is the only regular hitting over .300 during Spring Training and I would certainly take that through the season

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    • Interesting 2nd inning – line drive hit – out at 2nd trying to advance on WP; 4-pitch walk – went to sleep on 1st and got picked off; pop up right on top of 2nd base that Jose was too out of position to get to, and Yuli Gurriel comes out of nowhere to snag it. Oh well, it works. Not let’s see if we can finally get some body on base against Strasburg.

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      • I think I should point out that Brantley caught the line drive hit – but the ump missed it and no instant replay.
        Alvarez did get on base on a walk. Tucker came close to touching them all – as he clobbered one to straight away center that the CF made a nice catch on crashing into the wall.

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  15. That Siri guy, please send him somewhere else. We’ve already got enough knuckleheads getting thrown out on the bases. That was absolutely one of the dumbest decisions, a premediated one, that I’ve seen by anyone.

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  16. Have the minor league affiliates’ rosters been announced yet? Now that we know who gets the final 26-man roster spots on the big club, I am particularly curious who will be playing – and especially pitching – for Sugarland.

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    • No, but here are some guesses, if you like?

      SP’s: Garcia, N Rodriguez, Solomon, Ivey, Emanuel, Solis
      BP: Garza, Dubin, McKee, Hansen, Velasquez, Collado, Scheetz, Hartman, Martinez, Torres, Blanco, Ferrell.

      First couple up from AA would be Conine, and Rivera.

      (No word lately on Nick Hernandez, Tommy DeJuneus, Brett Daniels, Fruere, Mushinski or Donato.)

      I expect Hunter Brown to dominate AA and get to SL later.

      Others to watch early are last yr draftees Ty Brown, Gruller, Sprinkle, Peck & Endersby. Where they are placed will be telling.

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      • I think we’ll cut LaRue, but I’ve thought that for 2 yrs now.
        And what ever happened to Erasmo Pinales, or Leovanny Rodriguez? Probably still hanging around.

        One we should check on mid-year is Cody Deason’s TJ arm. I still have a sneaker for him…

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  17. The Astros end ST with a 2-2 tie with the Nationals.. Reminds one of the George Brett quote: “If a tie is like kissing your sister, losing is like kissing you grandmother with her teeth out.”

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  18. A tag to the previous post about Rangers. Saw two “not nice” posts on Dallas social media. (1) How would you like to be Jon Daniels as he tells the owners “You guys remember the deals we gave Elvis and Rougned? Well we are going to pay Oakland $13 million to take Elvis off our hands and we are going to pay $35 million to Rougned to just go away.” (2) “I was looking for a story about Odor but could find nothing in the obituaries.”

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  19. Yet another who couldn’t stick here, but will somewhere else?

    Cionel Perez made the Reds 26-man.
    Recall we got a decent pop catcher, Berryhill in return.

    Or how about the “throw-in” in the Giles deal, Jon Arauz, who was taken from us by BOS in 2019 Rule 5? He had a very good Spring (think he’s 22 now). Blocked thoroughly by Pena and Nova There was no room in HOU, high risk Phillies ran drafting a kid that was 17. It takes 5-6 yrs to do all the work, and then you have to hand it over to someone else ha!

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    • Hoyt looked great in the Spring, and had a solid year last. That was smart to be snffing around Marlins after camp broke, they have a ton of quality arms.

      I’d be interested in the deal Cishek signed because I’m pretty sure we’d have kept him if his salary (plus incentives) weren’t a strain on our threshold and flexibility.

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      • Thank you, and you see this was my point in about 5 posts here re Cishek when I thought there’s no way we can keep him. We had him at $1.8m plus ability to get over $3m. I suppose that’s what it took to get him in the door, and once he showed some chinks in armor, we couldn’t keep him around as “insurance” with the likes of Garcia Bielak and now Ivey and Solomon emerging. A good problem to have, and Angels saw the same opportunity to get a better deal.

        James Hoyt is such a great story, too! I forgot what he was selling before he got back into baseball? Really glad for him, and he got to go back home. He was as far away as could be in Miami.

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  20. I am curious about why Robel García. Not complaining but his stats don’t show him as much of a prospect. Just a 28 year old rookie who doesn’t hit much from either side. So is he on the bench so the younger and better prospects can play in the minors and not just sit on the bench?

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  21. The consensus amongst baseball experts is that the Astros have a formidable lineup, a weak starting rotation and a bad bullpen.
    With the Astros starting out with 4 games in Oakland and two in Anaheim, we will have a very good idea whether this assessment is true at the end of the road trip.

    Like

    • Experts? are so intriguing. The A’s have picked up two guys that have been released by at least 4 teams in the last three years. The Angels picked up Astros and Phillies cuts. Yes, the Astros bullpen is mostly unproven, but I will take that over “proven to be less than ordinary.”

      Like

  22. This headline really pisses me off!
    I’m going to link the Article and the headline says Ross Stripling “confronted” new teammate George Springer about the sign stealing scandal.
    https://fansided.com/2021/03/28/blue-jays-ross-stripling-george-springer-scandal/
    But, when you actually read the article, here are the descriptions of it:
    spoke with
    talked things over
    moved forward
    reached out
    had a good conversation
    wanted to connect with
    speak with
    on the same page
    moving forward
    All of these things are in that article, but only in the headline is the word “confronted” used.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Some updates from Brent Strom:

    – Scrubb (shoulder) should be back around mid-April
    – Baez (COVID) could be in late April
    – James (hip) is feeling good and could return late May/early June
    – Valdez: “News is very, very exciting and very good.”

    Liked by 1 person

  24. The 3 guys Toro Stubbs and Straw were cleared, so they’ll be on taxi or 26-man.

    I have yet to hear the team mention Austin Pruitt in Spring, but he was never on the 60-day IL either. Surely he is out longer and will open even one more spot on the 40-man? It’s only fair to trade one Austin for another!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I’ve heard numbers tossed around that Correa needs 8 years at 200 million. I still think he wants more, especially since Lindor seems to have 12 years and 385 in mind. But what if a 200 million deal could get done with Carlos with an opt out clause after four years for both sides?

    Liked by 1 person

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