A's will be patient piecing together young core

Questions for club surround center field, second base, new stadium site

A's will be patient piecing together young core

OAKLAND -- An Oakland club that enjoyed three consecutive postseason appearances is now mired in a difficult stretch, having compiled fewer than 70 wins in each of the last two seasons. The A's hope for better in 2017, though contending could be tough.

Rather, the A's are expected to remain patient with a young core that's still being pieced together. Here are five questions facing the club in 2017:

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Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Heat '16! Swing into '17 with fastest-pitch HRs

Heat '16! Swing into '17 with fastest-pitch HRs

There's a reason high velocity is prized in pitchers. It's not easy to square up heat that approaches or reaches triple digits.

When an at-bat ended with a pitch of 99 mph or harder this season, batters hit .205 with a .285 slugging percentage, according to Statcast™. By comparison, they hit .301 and slugged .514 on fastballs between 88 and 90 mph.

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

Khrushed it: Davis a bright spot for A's in 2016

Left fielder posted career-high 42 homers, 102 RBIs last season

Khrushed it: Davis a bright spot for A's in 2016

OAKLAND -- The A's endured more difficulties in 2016, sustaining their second consecutive last-place American League West finish in a season marred by injuries and inconsistencies, with few bright spots chronicled along the way.

The growing pains will likely spill into 2017, as the A's continue to piece together a youthful core while waiting on a potential new stadium site. First, let's revisit the A's top five storylines of 2016, which features both the good and bad:

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Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A's Nunez among top winter league performers

A's Nunez among top winter league performers

There were high expectations for Stone Garrett ahead of his 2016 full-season debut with Class A Greensboro. However, the Marlins' No. 7 prospect would appear in only 35 games before a practical joke by then-teammate Josh Naylor resulted in right thumb laceration and subsequent surgery that kept the 21-year-old outfielder out of action until mid-August.

Now fully healthy, Garrett is making up for some of that lost time this offseason with a strong showing Australian Baseball League. He was the only player on the World All-Stars to collect multiple hits (2-for-4) in the circuit's annual All-Star Game last week, and then went 1-for-5 with a solo home run in his first post-All-Star contest on Thursday.

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

Around the Horn: Catcher

Oakland has trio of backstops, solidifying position before spring even begins

Around the Horn: Catcher

A multipart Around the Horn series, which features a position-by-position look at Oakland's projected starters and backup options heading into the 2017 season, begins at catcher.

Who's behind the plate?
The A's will enter camp with three solid catching options in Stephen Vogt, Josh Phegley and Bruce Maxwell, and all three could be with Oakland on Opening Day, depending on the makeup of the roster.

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Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Most amazing American League games of 2016

Most amazing American League games of 2016

The Indians came thisclose to bringing a World Series title home to their fans and to the American League after an amazing 2016 season. Taking the Chicago Cubs to the 10th inning of the seventh game of the Fall Classic was just about as memorable as it gets.

But the Indians were one of 15 teams in the AL, and each one had its own Game of the Year. In consultation with the MLB.com beat reporters for every team, here are the best individual games for each AL club during another fantastic year in Major League Baseball:

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Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Doolittle does Christmas right with movies, treats

Doolittle does Christmas right with movies, treats

A's reliever Sean Doolittle has had no trouble filling his days since the season ended. He and his girlfriend, Eireann, have spent time traveling to see their families and are now prepared to enjoy the Christmas season at their home in Arizona.

Doolittle recently caught up with MLB.com to share his holiday favorites and memories.

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Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A's, Cuban righty Ruiz agree to Minors deal

A's, Cuban righty Ruiz agree to Minors deal

The A's agreed to a Minor League deal with Cuban international free agent Norge Ruiz on Friday, the team announced.

Sources confirmed to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez that Ruiz's deal with the A's is for $2 million.

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David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Henderson shines through 'School of Rickey'

MLB Network doc highlights SB king's unique personality, ties to Oakland

Henderson shines through 'School of Rickey'

"School of Rickey" opens with an Oakland graffiti artist named Vogue spray-painting a mural of Rickey Henderson: the young Man of Steal in his A's uniform, grinning as the city glints in the reflection of his sunglasses.

The documentary, presented by MLB Network, aired Tuesday night. It chronicles the stolen-base king's Hall of Fame career, but more importantly focuses on Henderson's unique style, emblematic of his home city. "School of Rickey" portrays the Oakland product as a trailblazing player-entertainer who helped transition baseball from Old School to New School.

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

Doolittle reviews 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'

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Doolittle reviews 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'

Big Star Wars fan Sean Doolittle was kind enough to take some time away from his rigorous offseason sock-throwing regimen to write a film review of Rogue One ... yes, really! Enjoy it all below, and don't worry -- there are no major spoilers, as Sean knows what he's doing. 

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Chapman, Puk among A's non-roster spring invites

Chapman, Puk among A's non-roster spring invites

OAKLAND -- The A's have extended Spring Training invites to 26 non-roster players, a group that includes several of their top prospects, as well as a slew of new faces hoping to make a home in the organization. Notable names on this list include:

INF Matt Chapman: The A's 2014 first-round Draft pick, ranked by MLB Pipeline as their No. 4 prospect, returns for his second big league camp. After greatly impressing in his first go around, Chapman proceeded to mash 36 home runs while racking up 96 RBIs in 135 games between Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville. He's expected to take over at third base in Oakland at some point in 2017.

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Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A's shifting FanFest to Jack London Square

A's shifting FanFest to Jack London Square

A's FanFest will be staged on different grounds in 2017, with the team shifting the annual event, scheduled for Jan. 28, to Jack London Square.

After hosting the event at the Coliseum and Oracle Arena for more than a decade, the A's opted for a waterfront destination for their fans, who will also enjoy free admission.

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Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

A's receive Competitive Balance pick in 2017 Draft

A's receive Competitive Balance pick in 2017 Draft

At the end of the 2016 regular season, the preliminary order for the 2017 Draft order took shape, via the reverse order of the standings. By virtue of having the worst record in the Major Leagues last season, the Twins were awarded the No. 1 pick in the 2017 Draft.

After the Twins, the next nine selections go to the Reds, Padres, Rays, Braves, A's, D-backs, Phillies, Brewers and Angels. Those 10 picks are protected and therefore cannot change.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A's leave Winter Meetings with more work to do

A's leave Winter Meetings with more work to do

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The A's departed the Winter Meetings on Thursday morning with an unchanged roster, their search for a center fielder still ongoing.

Oakland's front-office members have been steadfast in their quest for outfield help, doing their due diligence on a bevy of potential fits in both the trade and free-agent market. The cozy confines of the Winter Meetings allowed them to make further traction on this front.

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Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Greene, 2-way talent highlight Top 50 Draft Prospects list

Greene, 2-way talent highlight Top 50 Draft Prospects list

For the second year in a row, MLBPipeline.com's early Draft Top 50 list is topped by a high school pitcher. There's still a long way to go between now and June -- last year's early No. 1 Jason Groome eventually went No. 12 overall to the Red Sox -- but there is no question that Hunter Greene is the best overall talent in the Class of 2017.

A two-way star at Notre Dame High School in Southern California (the same school Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton attended), Greene is preferred by some for his ability as a hitter and an infielder, but the vast majority think the right-hander has the chance to be an elite performer on the mound. A prep right-handed pitcher has never been the No. 1 overall pick in the history of the Draft, but does Greene and his stuff plus athleticism give him the chance to be the first?

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

10 homers in 30 games for A's Nunez in Venezuela

10 homers in 30 games for A's Nunez in Venezuela

Aneury Tavarez put himself on the map with a breakout campaign in 2016, when he finished second in the Eastern League batting race with a .335 average in 106 games for Double-A Portland. He also established career highs in on-base percentage (.379) and slugging (.506) while tallying 39 extra-base hits and 18 stolen bases.

That success has followed the 24-year-old outfielder into the Dominican Winter League, and it's a big reason that the Orioles selected Tavarez -- the club's new No. 30 prospect -- in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday. In 35 games for Estrellas Orientales this offseason, Tavarez has produced a .302/.359/.405 batting line in 35 games, with six extra-base hits, 16 runs scored and five steals.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Barry M. Bloom

Late A's voice King honored with Frick Award

Late A's voice King honored with Frick Award

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Legendary broadcaster Bill King, whose voice was so familiar to the sports fans in the San Francisco Bay Area, was elected the winner of the 2017 Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in baseball broadcasting, the National Baseball Hall of Fame announced on Wednesday.

During the 1980s, the late King was ubiquitous, serving as the radio voice of the A's, Raiders and Warriors, including handling all three jobs from '81-83. He was most known for his basketball broadcasting, calling the Warriors' first NBA championship in '75, plus several Super Bowl-winning Raiders teams. But King always said his first love was baseball, and nobody prepared to call that game harder than King.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A's content to lay groundwork at Meetings

Player acquisitions likely to come further down the line

A's content to lay groundwork at Meetings

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- All is quiet on the A's front, as the Winter Meetings reach the final stages without the club so much as making a peep.

"It's not impossible" that changes ahead of Thursday afternoon's departure, general manager David Forst said Wednesday, but he also forecast those chances as "unlikely."

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Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Revisit King's call of the A's 20-game streak

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Revisit King's call of the A's 20-game streak

As far as Bay Area sports are concerned, few individuals stood as tall off the field as Bill King.

For decades, the man worked behind the microphone for the Warriors (from 1962 to 1983), Raiders (1966 to 1992) and A's (1981 until his death in 2005) -- and on Wednesday he was recognized as the 2017 Ford C. Frick Award recipient for his tireless work in the booth. 

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Melvin balancing winning now, rebuild in Oakland

Melvin balancing winning now, rebuild in Oakland

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- A's manager Bob Melvin, entering his seventh season at the helm in Oakland, has been tasked with the challenge of breeding success in the short term with a club that's directing its efforts for the future.

A's vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane, who has typically avoided any mention of a rebuild in the past, was forthcoming Tuesday night when speaking about the realities of his team's fate; fielding a contending team won't happen overnight, and perhaps not until a new stadium is built. Patience will be required, particularly with a promising young group the A's want around for when that happens.

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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.

A's mourn death of Minors video coordinator

Smith served in role for 8 seasons

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The A's are mourning the passing of Minor League video coordinator Mark Smith, who died Monday at 41 years old.

Smith, an everyday friendly presence at the A's Minor League complex in Arizona, was instrumental in the creation of the organization's video department. He had served as coordinator for eight seasons.

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Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A's president Kaval welcomed fans to his office

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A's president Kaval welcomed fans to his office

The Athletics' new president, Dave Kaval, took a bold step on Tuesday to help connect with the fans. He opened his office doors to meet with any and all interested fans for what was billed as "Office Hours," but could have just as easily been promoted as Big Block of Cheese Day.

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Winter Meetings interview with Bob Melvin

Q. How do you see the club coming off the finish you did and what you're expected to do roster-wise off-season?
BOB MELVIN: Obviously we've been talking about center field quite a bit. We made an acquisition in right field, a good fit for a number of reasons, Matt Joyce. Just the amount of injuries we had last year had a lot to do with where we were and how we went about things, certainly in the second half of the season, with trading Reddick and trading Rich Hill.

So, you know, we're comfortable with our young starters and we feel like we have quite a few of them. We like our bullpen, our bullpen depth, the emergence of guys like Ryon Healy, certainly the year Khris Davis had and Marcus Semien at short. So Yonder Alonso is solid for us, Stephen is an All-Star again. The positions that we're potentially looking at are center field, maybe second base, depending on Jed Lowrie's condition, but Joey Wendle did a nice job, too.

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A's match donations for Oakland fire victims

The A's announced Saturday night that they are matching donations up to $30,000 for those affected by the deadly fire that broke out inside a warehouse in Oakland's Fruitvale neighborhood overnight Friday.

The A's showed their support in a statement via their official Twitter page: "Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the Oakland fire. We will work together to heal our community. Join us in making a donation."

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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.

A's reach deal with Alonso, tender arb eligibles

A's reach deal with Alonso, tender arb eligibles

OAKLAND -- The A's reached a one-year agreement with first baseman Yonder Alonso on Friday, while also tendering contracts to each of their other arbitration-eligible players: right-handers Sonny Gray and Liam Hendriks, outfielder Khris Davis and catcher Stephen Vogt.

Alonso's offensive production was subpar in his first year with Oakland, but the club greatly values his defense; it was of particular significance to shortstop Marcus Semien. At the plate, the left-handed Alonso hit .253 with seven home runs and 56 RBIs, and he was at his best with men on base, batting .302 in such situations.

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Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Labor deal to cut A's revenue-sharing funds

CBA underscores club's focus to build ballpark in Oakland

Labor deal to cut A's revenue-sharing funds

OAKLAND -- Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement will have significant monetary implications on the A's, who should be further motivated to build a new ballpark after learning of the deal's terms.

As part of the labor agreement, the details of which were officially revealed on Friday, the A's will be phased out of the league's revenue-sharing plan over the next four years. Their share of these annual dollars, worth more than $30 million last year, will be cut to 75 percent in 2017, 50 percent in '18 and 25 percent in '19, before it's gone completely in '20.

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Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Peace & glove: Owners, players reach CBA deal

New agreement includes change to home-field advantage in World Series

Peace & glove: Owners, players reach CBA deal

IRVING, Texas -- Major League Baseball's players and owners reached a tentative five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement through the 2021 season on Wednesday night. The parties will follow up today with a formal document, which then must be ratified by representatives of both sides. 

At 8:40 p.m. ET, an assortment of happy players, owners, lawyers and staffers poured from meeting rooms to exchange handshakes and hugs. That's how quickly 36 hours of round-the-clock negotiations ended, nearly four hours before today's deadline of 12:01 a.m. ET to reach a deal. Short of an agreement, the sport was faced with the best-case scenario of an extension or owners could have imposed a lockout.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @richardjustice. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Joyce headed to A's on 2-year, $11M pact

Joyce headed to A's on 2-year, $11M pact

OAKLAND -- The A's, hardly shy in expressing their desire for outfield help this winter, have secured a corner platoon piece in veteran Matt Joyce, who inked a two-year, $11 million deal with the club on Wednesday.

Joyce will earn $5 million in 2017, and $6 million in '18, per sources.

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Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

The Next Big Leaguers: Athletics' Montas

A team-by-team look at future key contributors who starred in the 2016 Arizona Fall League

The Next Big Leaguers: Athletics' Montas

The Arizona Fall League always is loaded with talent, and it was stronger than usual in 2016. In the initial installment of MLBPipeline.com's "The Next Big Leaguers," which premieres Tuesday, we focused on five prospects: Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger, Twins shortstop Nick Gordon, Cubs outfielder Eloy Jimenez, Red Sox infielder Yoan Moncada and Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres.

We could have spotlighted many more promising prospects if not limited by time constraints, and below we'll do exactly that.

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