Around the Horn: Bullpen gets winter renewal

Doolittle refreshed for 2016; Madson among key additions

Around the Horn: Bullpen gets winter renewal

The multipart Around the Horn series, which features a position-by-position look at Oakland's projected starters and backup options heading into the season, concludes with the bullpen.

OAKLAND -- The overriding goal of the A's offseason was to restore order to a bullpen that arguably cost the club more than a dozen victories in a last-place 2015 campaign, an objective that quickly came to fruition with a rapid-fire round of winter transactions.

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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 Jensen proud to share heritage

Grandson of Negro Leagues alum reflects during Black History Month

A's Jensen proud to share heritage

OAKLAND -- There are few detailed records from the Negro Leagues era, many of the names lost in time except for those revived through stories, like the ones Marcus Jensen heard as a youngster from his grandfather.

Jensen, the A's assistant hitting and catching coach, is the proud grandson of the late Arthur "Mickey" Kemper, a Negro Leagues alum who caught for the Toledo Crawfords, once considered baseball royalty.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Hughes looks back at signing DeShields, Elway in Q&A

Veteran baseball executive renowned for signing multi-sport athletes

Hughes looks back at signing DeShields, Elway in Q&A

Gary Hughes was the left fielder on a Serra (Calif.) High School team in the late 1950s that featured future All-Star shortstop Jim Fregosi. In addition to being a star shortstop, Fregosi was the star quarterback on Serra's football team, as well as a standout in basketball who also set the California high school record in the triple jump.

Hughes never forgot. As one of the higher-profile scouts in baseball, Hughes always had Fregosi in his mind when he evaluated players, and has become known over the years for his willingness to take a chance on multi-sport stars.

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Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A's ace Gray appears in Super Bowl ad

A's ace Gray appears in Super Bowl ad

OAKLAND -- A's fans who double as Super Bowl commercial enthusiasts are in for a treat Sunday.

Oakland ace Sonny Gray is featured briefly in a Comcast XFINITY commercial set to air during the 3:30 p.m. PT matchup between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers, further validating his rise on the national scene as one of baseball's best pitchers.

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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.

Around the Horn: Rotation jobs up for grabs in camp

Around the Horn: Rotation jobs up for grabs in camp

The multipart Around the Horn series, which features a position-by-position look at Oakland's projected starters and backup options heading into the season, resumes with the rotation:

OAKLAND -- The A's starting staff includes one of baseball's best arms in Sonny Gray, a true ace expected to carry the club on Opening Day and beyond. Who, exactly, follows him in line, though, remains uncertain.

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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 claim three spots on Top 100 Prospects list

Barreto, Manaea and Olson represent Oakland in latest rankings

A's claim three spots on Top 100 Prospects list

OAKLAND -- MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects list was unveiled Friday, and it features a trio of players in the A's organization: shortstop Franklin Barreto, lefty Sean Manaea and first baseman Matt Olson.

Barreto is ranked at No. 23, with Manaea coming in at No. 68 and Olson snagging the last spot at No. 100. All three will appear in big league camp this spring as non-roster invitees.

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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.

Vogt undergoes right elbow surgery

A's catcher expected to be ready by Opening Day

Vogt undergoes right elbow surgery

OAKLAND -- A's catcher Stephen Vogt underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow Friday morning and is "fully expected to be ready by Opening Day," the club stated in a release.

Vogt's recovery time is estimated at 4-6 weeks, so it's likely the backstop will be limited in activity during the early part of Spring Training. A's pitchers and catchers are slated to report Feb. 20, with their first workout the following day.

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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.

Around the Horn: A's have depth in LF

Crisp unlikely to be on field every day; Canha, Fuld among other options

Around the Horn: A's have depth in LF

The multipart Around the Horn series, which features a position-by-position look at Oakland's projected starters and backup options heading into the season, continues in left field.

Who's in left field?
Coco Crisp should be, if he's healthy. But the 36-year-old veteran, who will make $11 million in his final guaranteed season, was limited to 44 games last year because of a chronic neck issue, and there's no telling how much that same problem will affect him this season. The A's, meanwhile, have done their part in solidifying depth at the position, recognizing that Crisp's chances of staying on the field every day are slim.

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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.

Gray ready to assume greater leadership role

Gray ready to assume greater leadership role

OAKLAND -- Sonny Gray is carrying a heavier load this year, in more ways than one. Oakland's ace is primed to take on a leadership role in a mostly young rotation in 2016. Gray, just 26 himself but soon entering his third full big league season, also has a 1-year-old son to manage.

"I did have to stop carrying him around because he got too heavy," a smiling Gray said of son Gunnar. "So I got to start using my left arm more."

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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.

Around the Horn: Burns speedy option in CF

Experience will be key after finishing 5th in AL Rookie of the Year voting

Around the Horn: Burns speedy option in CF

The multi-part Around the Horn series, which features a position-by-position look at Oakland's projected starters and backup options heading into the season, resumes in center field.

Who's in center field?
Billy Burns was the unexpected solution at the spot that used to belong to Coco Crisp. When the A's moved Crisp to left field last spring, they planned to form a platoon of Sam Fuld and Craig Gentry in center field. But that lasted just one month before Burns was recalled from Triple-A in May, and he remained on the big league roster the rest of the way, proving to be a catalyst at the plate, on the bases and in the outfield.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Barreto makes MLB Pipeline's Top 10 SS Prospects list

Dodgers' Seager tops list, Philly's Crawford and Brewers' Arcia next up

Barreto makes MLB Pipeline's Top 10 SS Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2016 Top 100 Prospects list on Friday on MLB.com. The Top 50 will be revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

Even with Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor and Addison Russell graduating to the big leagues, shortstop remains the glamour position for up-and-coming talent. Corey Seager, J.P. Crawford and Orlando Arcia rank among the elite prospects in the game, while Dansby Swanson, Alex Bregman and Brendan Rodgers were the first three picks in the 2015 Draft. Interestingly, the top six shortstop prospects and eight of the 10 best belong to National League clubs.

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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.

Around the Horn: Reddick back in RF for A's

Around the Horn: Reddick back in RF for A's

A multi-part Around the Horn series, which features a position-by-position look at Oakland's projected starters and backup options heading into the season, turns its focus to right field after covering catcher, first base, second base, shortstop, third base and designated hitter.

Who's in right field?

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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.

Butler focuses on training before bounceback bid

Numbers dipped for designated hitter in first season with Oakland

Butler focuses on training before bounceback bid

OAKLAND -- A's designated hitter Billy Butler has ramped up his offseason conditioning routine ahead of his age-30 season, readying to make good on a three-year, $30 million deal that, more times than not last year, looked like a flop.

Butler hit .251 with a .713 OPS in his first season in Oakland, drove in only 65 runs and left many more on base, grounding into 26 double plays in 151 games. He can't explain how these disappointing numbers came to be, but he's taken action to better them, in part through extra conditioning as outlined in a program drawn up by the A's training staff.

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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.

Nunez cracks MLB Pipeline's Top 10 3B Prospects list

Rangers' Gallo grabs top spot, Boston's Devers leaps to No. 2

Nunez cracks MLB Pipeline's Top 10 3B Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2016 Top 100 Prospects list on Friday on MLB.com. The Top 50 will be revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

Kris Bryant, Joey Gallo, Miguel Sano and Maikel Franco claimed four of the top five spots on last year's list of the top third-base prospects, and together they combined to hit 64 big league home runs in 2015. Gallo retained rookie eligibility and headlines this year's crop of top prospects at the hot corner, which, as a whole, stand out more for overall hitting ability than power. And as it's so often the case with young third basemen, only time will tell how many of these guys will be able to remain at the position long term.

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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.

Hudson, Mulder and Zito feted at BBWAA Awards

A's terrific troika receive Willie, Mickey and the Duke Award

Hudson, Mulder and Zito feted at BBWAA Awards

NEW YORK -- Perhaps there have never been more fitting recipients of the Baseball Writers' Association of America's Willie, Mickey and the Duke Award, given to people linked together in baseball history, than this year's honorees Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito. The trio will be forever tied together from their days in Oakland, with the mention of one name usually followed by the other two.

One of baseball's greatest homegrown starting pitching troikas was presented with the award on Saturday night at a private ceremony for the honorees and their families at the New York Midtown Hilton, after a major snowstorm forced the cancellation of the BBWAA's annual dinner to the public. But the A's legends were still in attendance -- sporting tuxes and wide smiles as they were recognized along with the game's best players.

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

Watch Doolittle answer your deepest Star Wars Qs

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Watch Doolittle answer your deepest Star Wars Qs

At the release of the new Star Wars film, "The Force Awakens," Athletics closer Sean Doolittle didn't just show up in a Chewbacca costume, but he got his girlfriend, baseball analyst Eirann Dolan, to dress up as Darth Vader. She was, umm, thrilled. 

At A's FanFest on Sunday, it was time for the fans to ask some questions of the closer. Naturally, they were Star Wars-focused. Because why would you want to know about things like pitch selection, when you could instead gain insight into a Galaxy far, far away?

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'Good year' ahead for A's with revamped bullpen

'Good year' ahead for A's with revamped bullpen

OAKLAND -- A flock of new relievers paraded into the Coliseum on Sunday morning at A's FanFest, collectively representing one of many reasons their teammates are projecting cautious optimism for the coming season following a disappointing 2015 campaign.

There's also the refurbished infield, which now includes defensive whiz Yonder Alonso at first base and the return of the versatile Jed Lowrie in the middle of the diamond, as well as several returning young players with a year of experience under their belt -- see Mark Canha, Marcus Semien, Billy Burns, Jesse Hahn and Kendall Graveman, among others.

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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.

Mulder joining A's booth for 20 games

Mulder joining A's booth for 20 games

OAKLAND -- Former A's pitcher Mark Mulder is set to join the club's broadcast team as a color commentator for 20 telecasts this season, CSN California announced Friday.

Mulder, whose nine-year playing career included five seasons with the A's as a member of the Big Three alongside Tim Hudson and Barry Zito, has been harnessing his broadcasting skills since joining ESPN as an analyst for "Baseball Tonight" in 2011.

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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 regular-season tickets on sale

Promotions include Doolittle Metallica Gnome, Vogt replica jersey

OAKLAND -- Individual game tickets for A's regular-season home games, several of which feature enticing promotions, are on sale now.

Fans can purchase these tickets online at athletics.com or by phone at 1-877-493-BALL (2255). They can also be obtained in person at the Coliseum Gate D box office.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Olson cracks MLB Pipeline's Top 10 1B Prospects list

Astros' Reed sits atop list, followed by Bucs' Bell, Mets' Smith

Olson cracks MLB Pipeline's Top 10 1B Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2016 Top 100 Prospects list on Friday, Jan. 29, on MLB.com. The Top 50 will be revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

First and foremost, teams want power from their first basemen, and the players on MLBPipeline's Top 10 first-base prospects list deliver. Five of them have plus pop, led by A.J. Reed's 65 grade on the 20-80 scouting scale, and the other four all have average or better power. Four of the five best first basemen held the same status a year ago, with Bobby Bradley (Indians) the only newcomer on the upper half of the list.

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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.

For this year only, Trade Deadline to be Aug. 1

Adjustment made because July 31 falls on a Sunday

For this year only, Trade Deadline to be Aug. 1

This is a leap year, and for Major League Baseball, it will mean a one-day leap in the annual non-waiver Trade Deadline.

The non-waiver Trade Deadline this season will be moved to Aug. 1 from the traditional July 31 -- which in 2016 falls on a Sunday. The deadline is 4 p.m. ET, and on July 31, there are seven games scheduled to begin between 1-1:30, five between 2-3:30 and three at 4. There are only eight games on Aug. 1, all of which are night games.

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

Nottingham on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 Catching Prospects list

Cubs' Contreras tops list, Yanks' Sanchez leaps to No. 2

Nottingham on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 Catching Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2016 Top 100 Prospects list on Friday, Jan. 29, on MLB.com. The Top 50 will be revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

MLBPipeline.com's list of the top 10 catching prospects last season featured six players who went on to reach the Major Leagues and become part of a legendary rookie class. Needless to say, the turnover at the position means this year's crop of top-ranked backstops has a much different look.

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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.

Spring nears: The A's have the best player names

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Spring nears: The A's have the best player names

Spring Training is less than a month away! Let us keep you company until the first pitcher-and-catcher workouts on Feb. 18 with a team-by-team countdown of reasons to get excited for the 2016 MLB season. Yesterday: The Philadelphia Phillies Today: The Oakland Athletics.

Here's a simple reason to look forward to the A's in 2016: They have the best names. Most teams have one or two players on their rosters with really great names: The Giants have Angel Pagan, the Yankees have Greg Bird and Didi Gregorious. But in 2015, the A's had at least five players who'd rank among the top 10 percent on a highly scientific ranking of all Major League monikers -- and they added even more this offseason. 

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MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Manaea makes MLB Pipeline's Top 10 LHP Prospects list

Dodgers' Urias again takes top spot, but Rays' Snell closes gap

Manaea makes MLB Pipeline's Top 10 LHP Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2016 Top 100 Prospects list on Friday, Jan. 29, on MLB.com. The Top 50 will be revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

Just how high in demand is left-handed pitching? Six of the 10 pitchers on this year's Top 10 left-handed pitching prospects list are relatively recent acquisitions by their organization. Two come via the 2015 Draft, but four of the southpaws on this list have been traded. Three of those four deals happened at last July's Trade Deadline.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Chapman on MLB Pipeline's All-Defense Prospect Team

Twins' Buxton garners most votes for best defensive prospect

Chapman on MLB Pipeline's All-Defense Prospect Team

Baseball is often a game of numbers. Especially with the explosion of advanced metrics, a player's performance can be quantified in many ways.

While strides have certainly been made in measuring defensive ability in the same manner, there is still more subjectivity when evaluating glove work. That doesn't mean defense and run prevention aren't important. If the offseason deals for pitching and the large contract Jason Heyward signed with the Cubs are any indication, keeping runs from crossing the plate has increased in value.

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

Around the Horn: A's tied down at DH

Around the Horn: A's tied down at DH

A multi-part Around the Horn series, which features a position-by-position look at Oakland's projected starters and backup options heading into the season, turns its focus to the designated hitter after covering catcher,  first base, second base, shortstop and third base.

Who's at designated hitter?

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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 avoid arb with deals for Reddick, Rodriguez

A's avoid arb with deals for Reddick, Rodriguez

The A's avoided arbitration by agreeing to terms with right-handed pitcher Fernando Rodriguez and outfielder Josh Reddick on one-year contracts for the 2016 season, the club announced on Friday.

Reddick compiled his best numbers in 2015 since '12, his first season with the A's, batting .272 with 20 home runs and 77 RBIs in 149 games. He had a career-high .333 on-base percentage, and his batting average was his best with Oakland.

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