Yearlong efforts help A's serve Bay Area community

Yearlong efforts help A's serve Bay Area community

OAKLAND -- The A's philanthropic endeavors of 2014 ran parallel to their on-field success, with the organization donating nearly $500,000 to various Bay Area charities this year.

The A's Community Fund has long been a pillar of charity work in the Bay Area and beyond, providing not only hundreds of thousands of dollars in monetary contributions to dozens of charities each year but memories that won't soon be forgotten by those involved.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Kantrovitz returns to A's as assistant general manager

Will play large role analyzing Draft, free agents and trade market

Kantrovitz returns to A's as assistant general manager

OAKLAND -- The void left in Oakland's front office by newly named Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi has been filled by a familiar face, with the A's welcoming back Dan Kantrovitz as assistant general manager.

Kantrovitz will be involved in all aspects of baseball operations, according to the A's, with a large emphasis on overseeing statistical analysis for evaluating and bringing in players through the First-Year Player Draft and free-agent and trade markets.

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McGwire hoping to reverse trend on HOF ballot

Former A's and Cardinals slugger has seen support wane in recent years

McGwire hoping to reverse trend on HOF ballot

Mark McGwire is a candidate on the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for the ninth year. The results will be announced exclusively on MLB Network and simulcast on MLB.com live on Jan. 6 at 2 p.m. ET.

In five years as a coach, Mark McGwire has achieved something he long wanted: he's just a guy doing his best to help his team win. McGwire does his work -- quite successfully the past few seasons -- and stays out of the spotlight.

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Matthew Leach is an editor and reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Dye on Hall ballot for first time

Dye on Hall ballot for first time

The newest list of candidates for the Hall of Fame's Class of 2015 is headlined by dominant pitchers like Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz, as well as power hitter Gary Sheffield.

But beyond the stars, others who had stellar Major League careers also are eligible for the first time. Although they didn't throw with Johnson's velocity or swing with Sheffield's ferocity, at one time or another, many of them carried their clubs and will forever be remembered by baseball fans.

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Adam Berry and Cash Kruth are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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A's acquire first baseman Davis from Pirates

Teams swap international bonus slots as part of deal

A's acquire first baseman Davis from Pirates

The A's acquired first baseman Ike Davis and international bonus slot No. 86 from the Pirates on Sunday in exchange for international bonus slot No. 27.

Oakland is hoping the addition of Davis can add depth to its infield, along with some extra pop. The left-handed hitter crushed 32 home runs for the Mets in 2012.

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Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Players' cut of postseason pool announced

World Series champion Giants earn record for full shares

Players' cut of postseason pool announced

After winning their third World Series in five seasons, the Giants' full postseason shares were worth a record-high $388,605.94, Major League Baseball announced Monday.

That figure breaks the previous high mark of $370,872.53 set by the Giants following their 2012 World Series championship. The American League champion Royals received postseason shares worth $230,699.73.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Switch-pitcher Venditte inks Minor League deal

Former Yankees farmhand posted 2.46 ERA over seven seasons

Switch-pitcher Venditte inks Minor League deal

The A's reportedly have signed a right-handed pitcher and a left-handed pitcher, all in one move.

The ambidextrous Pat Venditte will take his switch-pitching talents to Oakland on a Minor League deal that includes an invitation to big league Spring Training, according to a recent tweet from his agent, Marc Kligman. The club has not confirmed the signing.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Allow Josh Donaldson to show you how to swing

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Allow Josh Donaldson to show you how to swing

Sometimes, particularly during the offseason, baseball players get rusty and lose their swing groove. How can they get that groove back (besides enlisting the help of Taye Diggs)?

Continue Reading on Cut4

A's sign free-agent DH Butler to three-year deal

Hungry for righty slugger, Oakland gives 'Country Breakfast' $30 million

A's sign free-agent DH Butler to three-year deal

OAKLAND -- The A's moved swiftly in their pursuit of a right-handed power bat, attracting free-agent slugger Billy Butler with a three-year, $30 million deal, which was made official on Wednesday.

It's no secret this club has been on the hunt for such a middle-of-the-order bat following Yoenis Cespedes' midseason trade to Boston. Butler gives Oakland just that, and his signing gives A's fans proof that the club plans to contend in 2015.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Athletics add infielder Nunez to 40-man roster

Athletics add infielder Nunez to 40-man roster

The A's have added infielder Renato Nunez to their 40-man roster, giving the California League All-Star protection in next month's Rule 5 Draft.

The addition of Nunez, ranked the No. 3 prospect in the A's system, puts the roster at full capacity.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Robertson, Olson rank among top prospects in AFL

Robertson, Olson rank among top prospects in AFL

The 23rd edition of the Arizona Fall League wrapped up with Salt River's win in the championship game over Peoria on Saturday. Once again, the AFL was jam packed with elite-level prospects.

That made putting together a top prospects list fairly easy. There were so many good players, it was decided to expand the list to a top 25, up from the typical 20. The list was compiled by Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo and Teddy Cahill, along with feedback from a number of scouts who covered the league this fall. This list is more about long-term potential, but AFL performances were certainly taken into account.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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A's remaining offseason agenda a balancing act

After Butler signing, Beane hopes to add depth, younger players while contending in 2015

A's remaining offseason agenda a balancing act

OAKLAND -- Despite Billy Beane's early splash in free agency with Wednesday's three-year signing of designated hitter Billy Butler, the A's general manger's ensuing offseason plans appear a bit clouded.

Butler's addition is at least an early indication that Oakland will continue to compete for another postseason berth in 2015, rather than entertain a complete rebuild. But Beane made clear the direction of the club remains fluid, even with a $30 million DH/first baseman on board.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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A's claim Hassan off waivers from Red Sox

A's claim Hassan off waivers from Red Sox

OAKLAND -- The A's claimed outfielder Alex Hassan off waivers from the Red Sox on Monday, adding roster depth amid an otherwise quiet start to their offseason.

Hassan, 26, appears to be a true A's fit, bringing with him a career .396 on-base percentage spanning six Minor League seasons, including a .378 clip with Triple-A Pawtucket in 2014. The right-handed hitter also finished with a .287 average and eight home runs for Pawtucket.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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A's sign 'Country Breakfast,' have food-name monopoly

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A's sign 'Country Breakfast,' have food-name monopoly

2014 is the year of hyper-specialization. The Blue Jays may field three Canadians next year with Russell Martin joining fellow Canucks Brett Lawrie and Dalton Pompey. The Marlins are expected to announce a massive contract extension for Giancarlo Stanton on Tuesday morning, so the team will soon only hit home runs. And with the Athletics signing Billy "Country Breakfast" Butler to a three year, $30 million deal, there's a chance that the SEC will step in to prevent the team from monopolizing food-named ballplayers.

While baseball history is filled with hilarious food-named athletes, ranging from Ham Allen to Pretzel Pezzullo to current Cardinals farmhand Max Foody, the A's have had a higher than average number of those players come through their doors. 

Continue Reading on Cut4

Donaldson garners second top-10 MVP finish

Donaldson garners second top-10 MVP finish

OAKLAND -- Josh Donaldson once again ranked in the Top 10 in voting for the American League MVP Award. The A's third baseman placed eighth overall on the 2014 ballot, as announced Thursday, after finishing fourth last year.

Division foe Mike Trout of the Angels was the unanimous winner, receiving all 30 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Dark, manager of 1974 World Series champions, dies at 92

Led Giants to Fall Classic in 1962; won with '74 A's

Dark, manager of 1974 World Series champions, dies at 92

Alvin Dark, a Rookie of the Year and three-time All-Star shortstop who managed the Giants and A's to the World Series, died Thursday. He was 92.

Dark played 14 seasons in the Majors, suiting up for the Boston and Milwaukee Braves, New York Giants, Cardinals, Cubs and Phillies, establishing himself as one of the best all-around shortstops in his era. He batted .289/.333/.411 in a career that spanned from 1946-60, compiling 126 homers, 2,089 hits and 59 stolen bases.

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Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Top performances, prospects from 2014 Fall League

A team-by-team breakdown of who impressed and how each club's top player fared

Top performances, prospects from 2014 Fall League

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Fall League is known as baseball's finishing school because it has graduated a ton of talent to the Major Leagues since it began play in 1992. The AFL has produced 212 All-Stars, including 35 in this year's Midsummer Classic, 25 Rookies of the Year, 13 MVPs and five Cy Young Award winners.

Based on the quality of the talent in the AFL this year, more big leaguers and stars are on the way. The league wrapped up its 23rd season on Saturday, with the Salt River Rafters outlasting the Peoria Javelinas, 14-7, for their fourth title and first since 2011.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Donaldson headlines list of Super Two players

The 26 players named are eligible for salary arbitration

Donaldson headlines list of Super Two players

Major League Baseball and the Players' Association have finalized a list of 26 players with less than three years of Major League service time who are eligible for salary arbitration, also known as Super Twos, a Major League Baseball source confirmed.

The group is headlined by Mets closer Jenrry Mejia, Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera, Angels pitcher Garrett Richards, Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon, Astros slugger Chris Carter, A's third baseman Josh Donaldson and Yankees pitcher David Phelps.

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Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

A's Powell among prospects who boosted stock in AFL

Performances in the desert can influence expectations, change career course

A's Powell among prospects who boosted stock in AFL

Playing in the Arizona Fall League can serve a number of purposes for the prospects who attend. Top prospects can put the finishing touches on their development en route to All-Star careers. Perhaps on the other side of the spectrum, several prospects who need to be protected will either earn spots on the 40-man roster or have made a strong enough impression with one of the other 29 teams to be selected December's Rule 5 Draft.

Every fall, Minor Leaguers raise their stock with their performances in Arizona. The caveats that are typically thrown out when discussing such matters: it's a small sample size and the AFL is always very hitter-friendly. Those are true, and as a result, evaluations have to be taken in context. But it's also undeniably true that every year, expectations around some prospects are heightened based on what they did during six weeks in the desert.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Former A's first baseman Moore passes away at 57

Former A's first baseman Kelvin Moore passed away from cardiac arrest Sunday in his Covington, Ga., home at the age of 57. Moore had been suffering from multiple illnesses, including diabetes, over the past several years, the A's said in a release.

In three seasons with Oakland, Moore hit .223 with eight homers in 76 career games. He was a member of the 1981 American League West-champion club and went 2-for-16 in postseason play that year.

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AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Inbox: What are the A's plans at shortstop in '15?

Beat reporter Jane Lee answers questions from fans

Inbox: What are the A's plans at shortstop in '15?

Who do you think we'll see in the middle infield at the start of next season? Is Daniel Robertson a midseason callup?
-- @ishak

Robertson, still just 20, hasn't played above the Class A Advanced level and isn't considered a possibility until 2016. The A's, understandably not wanting to rush Robertson, will have to navigate their way through 2015 with a different shortstop, and his name likely won't be Jed Lowrie. The veteran has not ruled out a return to Oakland, but he'll get plenty of multiyear offers, something the A's probably aren't willing to commit to with Robertson waiting in the wings.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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A's dispel rumors of interest in free agents Drew, Cabrera

A's dispel rumors of interest in free agents Drew, Cabrera

OAKLAND -- As the annual General Managers Meetings broke out in Arizona on Monday morning, rumors came fast and furious. Among them was word that the A's are calling on free-agent shortstops Stephen Drew and Asdrubal Cabrera, as reported by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Sources, however, have debunked the report. That's not to say potential interest in the pair of free-agent infielders isn't there, though. With their own free-agent shortstop, Jed Lowrie, destined to land elsewhere, the A's are in search of a short-term replacement ahead of top prospect Daniel Robertson's arrival and will do their due diligence on most everyone considered available.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Dodgers name A's executive Zaidi as GM

Byrnes joins front office as senior vice president of baseball operations

Dodgers name A's executive Zaidi as GM

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers confirmed two additions to their revamped front office on Thursday, hiring Farhan Zaidi as general manager, and Josh Byrnes as senior vice president of baseball operations.

"It is very exciting for us to be able to add two exceptional, veteran baseball executives like Farhan and Josh," new president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said in a team release.

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Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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A's claim reliever Thompson from White Sox

Right-hander made brief MLB debut in 2014, posted 2.14 ERA at Triple-A

A's claim reliever Thompson from White Sox

OAKLAND -- The A's added to their relief depth Tuesday by claiming right-hander Taylor Thompson off waivers from the White Sox.

They also outrighted catcher Bryan Anderson to Triple-A Nashville and reinstated rehabbing players Jarrod Parker, A.J. Griffin and Kyle Blanks from the 60-day disabled list, leaving their 40-man roster at 38.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Former big league lefty Halsey dies at 33

Former big league lefty Halsey dies at 33

Former Major League left-hander Brad Halsey died last week at the age of 33, according to a tweet by Halsey's agency, O'Connell Sports.

According to a report from USA Today citing anonymous sources, Halsey's death occurred Friday in a recreational climbing accident near his home in New Braunfels, Texas.

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Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Athletics decline to extend qualifying offer to Lowrie

Shortstop still has opportunity to work out deal to remain in Oakland

Athletics decline to extend qualifying offer to Lowrie

• Hot Stove Tracker

OAKLAND -- Even though they're without a big league shortstop for 2015, the A's did not extend a $15.3 million qualifying offer to free agent Jed Lowrie. Subsequently, they won't receive Draft compensation should the infielder sign elsewhere.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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A's facing number of decisions in free agency

Punto has club option for 2015, while shortstop position is question mark

A's facing number of decisions in free agency

Hot Stove Tracker

OAKLAND -- The creative wizards who occupy Oakland's front office are in for a busy winter following yet another premature postseason exit and uncertain future. The A's seemingly have plenty of pieces to remain relevant in 2015, but competing in the mighty American League West is no easy task, so who do they keep, who do they let go, and who do they add?

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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A's to open spring schedule against rival Giants

A's to open spring schedule against rival Giants

The A's will christen the 2015 Cactus League season in their new Spring Training home on March 3, with a scheduled afternoon contest against the World Series champion Giants at Hohokam Stadium.

It marks one of 15 games to be played next spring at the newly renovated 10,000-seat park in Mesa, Ariz., and the beginning of a 20-year agreement with the city. The A's also held Spring Training in Mesa from 1969-78 prior to a 33-year run at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Donaldson represents A's in GIBBY nominations

Third baseman cited for his defensive work

Donaldson represents A's in GIBBY nominations

The A's have racked up nine nominations for this year's MLB.com Greatness in Baseball Yearly (GIBBY) Awards, including rented ace Jon Lester for Starting Pitcher of the Year and All-Star third baseman Josh Donaldson for Defensive Player of the Year.

And for a third year in a row, Bob Melvin is among the nominees for Manager of the Year.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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