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An SB Nation blog for Oakland Athletics fans

Updated: 2017-11-17T16:47:40-08:00


Oakland A’s name Matt Williams as 3rd base coach


Resume includes All-Star playing career, WS ring, and Manager Of The Year award. The Oakland A’s have hired Matt Williams to be their new 3rd base coach, the team announced Friday. He will replace Chip Hale, who was slotted to take that role before leaving to become the Nationals bench coach. Williams has spent the last several years coaching for two different teams: Arizona and Washington. He spent 2010-13 with the D’Backs, initially as 1B coach but later as 3B coach, then left to be the Nationals manager from 2014-15. After a quick boot from that job, he returned to Arizona for another year at 3B before making the lateral move to Oakland. The highlight of that resume is Williams’ managerial experience, which brought mixed results. His debut 2014 season resulted in 96 wins, a division title, and a Manager Of The Year award. However, he followed that up with a disappointing 83-win campaign and was dismissed. Our Nats blog, Federal Baseball, was not a fan of his work, both as an in-game tactician and clubhouse leader. (Sample headline: “Matt Williams is out of excuses”) One specific complaint was his over-reliance on reliever Blake Treinen, who now happens to be on the A’s. That said, Williams won’t be skippering the A’s, so perhaps more relevant is his history coaching at the hot corner. Here’s a comment thread from AZ Snake Pit, our D’Backs blog, referring to him as “The Windmill” due to his aggressiveness in sending runners. That said, they also mention that he’s similar to Chip Hale in that regard, for what that’s worth. Building on that last sentence, Williams and Hale seem to be following each other around the league. Hale had coached in Arizona until 2009 but left when Williams arrived. A year after Williams left the D’Backs to manage Washington, Hale returned and took Arizona’s managerial job. Williams finally worked under Hale for most of 2016 before Hale was let go and returned to Oakland. Now Hale is gone to Washington, where Williams recently left, and Williams has Hale’s old job in Oakland. Aaaand breathe. Year Hale Williams 2007 ARZ 3B - 2008 ARZ 3B - 2009 ARZ 3B - 2010 NYM 3B ARZ 1B 2011 NYM 3B ARZ 3B 2012 OAK Bench ARZ 3B 2013 OAK Bench ARZ 3B 2014 OAK Bench WAS Manager 2015 ARZ Manager WAS Manager 2016 ARZ Manager ARZ 3B 2017 OAK 3B - 2018 WAS Bench OAK 3B As a player, Williams spent a decade starring at 3B for the Giants, then netted them an up-and-coming Jeff Kent in a trade with Cleveland. After one year with the Indians, he joined the expansion D’Backs for their inaugural season in 1998 and was their starting 3B for their first and only World Series title in 2001. After his retirement, he admitted to PED use (specifically HGH). The A’s 2018 coaching staff now looks like this: Manager: Bob MelvinBench: Ryan Christenson1st base: Mike Aldrete3rd base: Matt WilliamsPitching: Scott EmersonBullpen: vacant for nowHitting: Darren BushAsst Hitting: Marcus JensenQuality Control?: Mark Kotsay Oakland still needs a bullpen coach, after losing Garvin Alston to Minnesota (now Twins pitching coach). Hot takes: I don’t have a lot of insight in how to judge coaches, but honestly I’m not stoked on this hiring. First off he’s a longtime high-profile Giant, which, gross. Second, fans of his previous teams seem generally disappointed with his work in most areas. All that said, Williams did win four Gold Gloves at the hot corner, and the 3B coach often doubles as the infield coach (as did Wash, Gallego, Hale, etc.). If this means he’s going to work with Matt Chapman, then that could be a plus and a task within his true wheelhouse of expertise. And above that, I generally trust Bob Melvin when it comes to filling out his staff. Melvin coached Williams when the latter played for Arizona in 2001-02, and the two were teamma[...]

JosephThomasD’s 2018 Offseason Plan


The 2018 Oakland A’s will be a unique team I believe. There really isn’t anywhere for them to go but up. Between the exciting young position players and the steadily improving rotati-- who am I kidding, the rotation is a disaster. The bullpen could use some work as well. In fact, the starting lineup is about the only area of strength the team has and the defense should be much better in 2018 than it has been in a long time. Here is my plan for the 2018 oakland A’s roster, including steps to bring this team closer to contention without sacrificing much of the current crop of exciting young players. First, the arbitration eligible players: Easy decisions. Khris Davis - $11.1 million - Tender. Marcus Semien - $3.2 million - Tender Kendall Graveman - $2.6 million - Tender Blake Treinen - $2.3 million - Tender Liam Hendriks - $1.9 million - Tender Chris Hatcher - $2.2 million - Non-tender Josh Phegley - $1.1 million - Non-tender Jake Smolinski - $700k - Non-tender Second, the trades: Ryon Healy was traded as I was writing this, so actually there’s just one. Daniel Gossett, SP, Jorge Mateo, SS, Grant Holmes, RHP, and Alexander Campos, SS to Miami for Marcell Ozuna, OF Strangely the A’s are chock-full of quality prospects, especially position players. Sending an MLB-ready pitcher and two organizational top-10 prospects might seem extreme, but Ozuna is a spectacular player on both sides of the baseball (also I have an irrational love for this guy). Ozuna has hit pretty much everywhere he has played, and with the exception of 2014, has only gotten better as major leaguer. For being a power hitter Ozuna doesn’t strike out a ton either, and has drawn more and more walks as time has gone by. He hits the ball really hard with consistency and usually up the middle. There is a lot to like about his offensive profile. Defensively he’s fresh off his first Gold Glove award, which typically doesn’t mean much. In Ozuna’s case, however it points out that he’s quietly been a very good defender. Among outfielders with at least 4500 innings since 2014, Ozuna’s 11 DRS and 1.3 UZR/150 rank 6th in baseball. As a centerfielder Ozuna is solid, if unspectacular, but he grades excellently as a corner outfielder. In my opinion he is exactly what Oakland needs for the two years he remains under contract. Also he does this, a lot: src="" style="border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;" allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no"> Third, free agent signings: Oakland has roughly $40mm of available funds - let’s spend it on pitching! The A’s were in the bottom half of the league in innings pitched by starting pitchers and starters ERA. The Oakland bullpen was in the top half of the league in innings pitched, but also in the bottom half in ERA. Few good innings were thrown by A’s starters and a lot of bad innings were thrown by A’s relievers. Anibal Sanchez, SP - 1-year/$6mm + team option for 2019 (comparable to what RA Dickey, Tyson Ross, and Derek Holland received last offseason) The bad: Sanchez has turned in three-straight bad seasons. Sanchez is heading into his age-34 season. Sanchez’s velocity has dipped each year since 2013. The Good: As a result of being bad and old, Sanchez will likely be cheap. He has a history of being a mid-rotation starter, or better. As a starter last year his SIERA was 4.10, his xFIP was 4.18 and he struck out nearly a batter per inning. 2. CC Sabathia, SP - 2-years/$15mm (comparable to what Jason Hammel received last offseason) Sabathia is no longer an ace, obviously. However, since he has turned his personal life around he’s had been quite good on the mound each of the past two years. Signing him means a strong veteran presence for a young staff, as well as a local draw due to Sabathia’s being a Vallejo native. It is a strong bet that the A’s should net somewhere between 275-300 innings from Sanchez and Sabathia in the mid[...]

Manfred Open To A’s Stadium Site, Will Push Through Pace of Play Changes With or Without MLBPA


A’s Coverage: Jason Hanselman is as sharp as I’ve ever seen when it comes to team analysis and data visualization. Here’s his season recap of the 2017 A’s... Emilio Pagan happy to join ‘terrific’ young A’s players... Shea: Manfred open to A’s proposed stadium site, acknowledges drawbacks... Oakland Athletics 2018 top-50 prospects: Oscar Tovar, RHP... MLB News: Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Altuve win drama-filled 2017 MVP awards... Commissioner Rob Manfred confirms new pace-of-play rules coming to MLB in 2018, with or without MLBPA’s help... Tough standards: Yankees' Hal Steinbrenner would have fired Joe Girardi even if he won World Series... Baseball Interest Stories: Marlins' Stanton could be third reigning MVP to be traded, second with ties to Jeter... An Estimate of Every Team’s Payroll Room... After disastrous season, Mets rethinking the way they'll use their pitching staff... Touching ’em All Minus One: Romancing the Triple... Today in Baseball History: 1971 - At age 22, Oakland Athletics pitcher Vida Blue becomes the youngest player ever to win the Most Valuable Player Award and only the fourth to capture both the Cy Young Award and the MVP in the same season. 1992 - Major League Baseball holds the expansion draft to stock the rosters of the National League's two new teams, the Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies. A total of 72 players are chosen. Pitcher David Nied is the first pick of the Rockies, while outfielder Nigel Wilson is selected first by the Marlins. Florida take prospect Jose Martinez second, while Colorado picks veteran 3B Charlie Hayes next. The best picks for Florida are Trevor Hoffman (4th), eventually packaged for Gary Sheffield; Jeff Conine (11th), who will hit 81 home runs in four years; and Cris Carpenter (18th), later dealt to Texas for Robb Nen. For Colorado, they will find gold with Eric Young (6th), Joe Girardi (10th), Vinny Castilla (16) and Armando Reynoso (18th). Best of Twitter: An update for those on Otani watch... .@Ken_Rosenthal has the latest on what could potentially delay the @MLB arrival of Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani. #MLBNHotStove— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) November 17, 2017 [...]