OAKLAND -- For much of September, Jharel Cotton's thoughts drifted home. The Virgin Islands, braving two hurricanes in two weeks, were in shambles, and Cotton could only watch from afar as the scale of devastation became clear.
Photos poured in on his Facebook feed, and the A's pitcher heard horror stories from home. Cotton's father had lost the roof to his house, which was otherwise intact, and the majority of his belongings. Others lost everything, including jobs.
Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter at @basebollie. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
A's duo named to Pipeline's All-AFL Team
By Mike Rosenbaum
Deep rosters and ongoing roster moves throughout the Arizona Fall League season can make it difficult to evaluate players, many of whom also are mentally and physically exhausted after playing the longest schedules of their careers.
However, it's those same considerations that make standout Fall League performances all the more impressive, offering a potential preview of what the future holds for some of baseball's top prospects.
OAKLAND -- The A's made a series of moves ahead of Monday's 40-man roster deadline, adding right-handers Heath Fillmyer and Lou Trivino, along with outfielder Ramon Laureano, who was acquired in a trade with the Astros earlier in the day.
Outfielder Jaycob Brugman and left-hander Sam Moll were designated for assignment, while right-hander Bobby Wahl was outrighted to Triple-A Nashville to clear roster space.
OAKLAND -- Longtime Major Leaguer Matt Williams, who enjoyed a managerial stint with the Nationals from 2014-15, has signed on to join the A's staff as the third-base coach.
Williams' playing career spanned 17 seasons with the Giants, Indians and D-backs, concluding with a six-year stint in Arizona through 2003. A's manager Bob Melvin was a member of the D-backs' coaching staff for two of those seasons. They were also teammates in San Francisco from 1987-88.
With the completion of the Arizona Fall League season on Saturday comes a run of "AFL in review" type stories. Last week, Mike Rosenbaum weighed in with 10 players who stood out to him during his time there. Later this week, Jim Callis will have an AFL top prospects list and MLBPipeline.com will also have an all-AFL team to peruse.
While those later stories will shine a deserving light on the top prospects around the league, every year there are players who might not be at the top of prospect lists, but who use the Fall League as a bit of a coming out party. These are players who can be considered breakout prospects, with the usual caveat about small sample sizes.
OAKLAND -- The A's are dreaming up a roster that allows Khris Davis to occupy the designated hitter slot on a near-everyday basis, creating the need for a right-handed bat who can handle left-field duties in his stead.
Though bullpen help stands as the team's primary focus, the A's are diligently eyeing outfield options -- specifically, right-handed batters to complement their left-handed mix. Matt Joyce is penciled in to play right field for the A's, with Dustin Fowler, Chad Pinder, Boog Powell and Mark Canha all candidates to play center.
OAKLAND -- Matt Olson's historic second-half home run tear helped the A's first baseman pick up some American League Rookie of the Year votes.
The 23-year-old Olson, who totaled 24 home runs and 45 RBIs in 59 games, including 16 homers in a 23-game stretch from Aug. 27-Sept. 22, was awarded a second-place vote and a pair of third-place votes, tying for fourth overall with Houston's Yuli Gurriel in voting done by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
With the conclusion of the 2017 regular season, the preliminary order for the 2018 Draft took some shape, thanks to the reverse order of the standings. The Tigers and Giants finished tied with the worst record in the Major Leagues last season, but Detroit was awarded the No. 1 pick in the 2018 Draft by virtue of having a lower winning percentage in 2016.
After the Tigers and Giants, the next eight picks go to the Phillies, White Sox, Reds, Mets, Padres, Braves, A's and Pirates.
OAKLAND -- Athleticism has been lacking in the A's organization, an attribute that is often associated with the majority of successful ballclubs. To that end, Oakland has carefully curated trades to address these needs.
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.
San Jose Sharks wear A's-themed jerseys
By Adrian Garro |
Saturday was A's Night at the SAP Center, where the San Jose Sharks were hosting the Vancouver Canucks. What's that mean? Well, it means the A's 1989 World Series trophy was in attendance, alongside A's outfielder and UC Berkeley alum Mark Canha.
Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. Follow him on Twitter at @benweinrib. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
A's exec Fuson wins player development award
By Joe Trezza
Each year, the Sheldon "Chief" Bender Award is given the person in professional baseball with distinguished service that has been instrumental in player development. This year, that is Athletics special assistant to the general manager Grady Fuson. He was named the 10th recipient of the award, Minor League Baseball announced Tuesday.
Fuson has spent nearly three decades with the A's in a career that began as an area scout in 1982. He has also worked for the Rangers and Padres. Fuson has held his current position with Oakland since 2010.
OAKLAND -- The A's are readying themselves for the future, collecting young talent that can help them bring winning baseball back to Oakland.
That process, of course, is already underway, the A's equipped with many pieces they believe to be at the center of this core. Identifying the missing parts is the next step, a measure that will keep them plenty busy this offseason.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Neuse keeps rolling in Fall League
By Jamie Nish
Sheldon Neuse, Oakland's No. 14 prospect, continued his hot-hitting ways in the Arizona Fall League on Tuesday, going 2-for-4 with a two-run double to lead the Solar Sox to a 5-1 victory over Peoria at Sloan Park.
Jamie Nish is a graduate student at Arizona State University. This story is a part of a partnership between MLB.com and The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
My question involves one of the things Billy Beane and David Forst are best at: Trading for value. There are plenty of youthful players who are considered untouchable. However, what do the A's do, considering there needs to be a balance between youth and veterans? Do the A's trade Franklin Barreto for pitching help and hope Chad Pinder can be the ultimate Ben Zobrist, or do they trade Ryon Healy so that Khris Davis can be the full-time DH?
-- DJ C., Hayward, Calif.
Barreto isn't going anywhere, but Healy and Davis are arguably expendable, meaning one of them could potentially be dealt this winter. Healy, it seems, is more likely to go, given the current roster configuration. Squeezed out of an infield job this year, Healy mostly fits in a DH role -- a job the A's would likely prefer to have Davis handle on a full-time basis, which would allow them to make a defensive upgrade in left field. Healy's on-base number dropped this year, but he still has the type of power that will likely draw interest from several clubs seeking a low-cost offensive boost. The A's, meanwhile, could use him as trade bait to evaluate outside relief help.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
A's issue statement after Maxwell incident
By David Adler
The A's issued a statement on Sunday regarding catcher Bruce Maxwell, who was reportedly arrested Saturday night at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz., after a food delivery person alleged he pulled a gun on her.
"We were disappointed to learn of the allegations," the statement read. "We take this situation and ongoing investigation seriously. We are gathering information from the proper authorities and do not have further comment at this time."
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.
Christenson joins A's staff as bench coach
By Manny Randhawa
The A's have named Ryan Christenson as bench coach under manager Bob Melvin for the 2018 season. Chip Hale, who was the club's third-base coach before moving to the bench coach role in June, will return as third-base coach.
Christenson, 43, has been managing in the A's farm system for the past five seasons. He managed the Triple-A Nashville Sounds in 2017. Prior to that, he managed at Class A Beloit in 2013 and Class A Advanced Stockton in '14, and he led Double-A Midland to back-to-back Texas League titles in '15 and '16. Overall, Christenson's Minor League teams went 391-307 (.561).