November 2012

A’s players designate playoff share to charity

A’s players, who together form one of baseball’s lowest payrolls, have voted to donate one playoff share — a total of $34,325.16 – to various charities. The donation will be split between the MLB Players Trust, UMPS CARE, Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, Oakland A’s Community Fund, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area, United Way of the Bay Area, Donnie Moore Ministries and Craig Breslow’s Strike 3 Foundation.

In a release, A’s player rep Jerry Blevins said, “During the playoff share meetings, we decided as a team that we wanted to give back to the community by donating one full share to various charities that are near and dear to our hearts.”

A’s add four, subtract three from 40-man roster

On the final day for clubs to set their 40-man roster, the A’s on Tuesday added four players and subtracted three in preparation for the Rule 5 Draft.

By selecting infielder Grant Green, outfielder Shane Peterson and right-hander Arnold Leon from Triple-A Sacramento and right-hander Michael Ynoa from Class-A Vermont, the A’s have protected them from the Rule 5 Draft, to be held Dec. 6 at the Winter Meetings in Nashville.

To make room on the roster for these four prospects, Oakland elected to outright righty reliever Andrew Carignan to Sacramento and designate right-hander Jim Miller and infielder Brandon Hicks for assignment.

Those who signed after age 18 and have been in the Minors for four years, or those who signed at 18 or younger and have been in the Minors for five years, are eligible to be taken in the Rule 5 Draft. Among notable players in the A’s organization left unprotected are third baseman Stephen Parker and right-hander James Simmons.

The 25-year-old Green, the A’s top Draft pick in 2009, could finally be in position to grab hold of an Opening Day roster spot, either as a shortstop — his natural position — or as a utility player, given his versatility in the infield and outfield.

Green hit .296 with 15 home runs and 75 RBIs at Triple-A this year and followed up that performance with a .273 average in 17 games for Phoenix in the Arizona Fall League, collecting two homers, 11 RBIs and 10 walks along the way. In three Minor League seasons, Green has compiled a career .302 average.

Ynoa, though only at the Class-A level, is one of the highest regarded prospects in the A’s organization, having signed with them out of the Dominican Republic in 2008 via a then-record $4.25 million bonus at age 16 — an investment the A’s likely couldn’t afford to lose, despite his slow progression.

Since signing, the 6-foot-7 Ynoa, now 21, has missed significant time because of elbow injuries, which led to Tommy John surgery. He missed all of 2011 but rebounded in 2012 to tally 30 2/3 innings, posting a 6.46 ERA.

Leon, meanwhile, combined for a 4-1 record and 2.70 ERA in 44 relief appearances with Class-A Stockton, Double-A Midland and Sacramento, fanning 74 in 66 2/3 innings. The 24-year-old righty, who has also undergone Tommy John surgery, is currently pitching for his hometown Culiacan in the Mexican Winter League and is 1-0 with a 0.79 ERA in 12 relief appearances.

Peterson was limited to 86 games this year because of an early-season ankle injury, but he managed to bat .326 with a .480 on-base percentage and .510 slugging mark when healthy. Originally a second-round pick of the Cardinals in 2008, the 24-year-old Peterson was traded to the A’s with Clayton Mortensen and Brett Wallace for Matt Holliday in July 2009.

Their roster at 39 at day’s start, the A’s had a difficult decision to make in designating Miller, who enjoyed four impressive stints with Oakland in 2012, gathering a 2.59 ERA and .217 opponents’ average in 33 appearances.

Then there’s Hicks, who was clutch in a handful of key moments for the A’s but struggled to produce consistently. Overall, he hit .172 with three home runs and seven RBIs in 22 games spanning two stints with the A’s, after being claimed off waivers by the Braves in March.

A’s revise Cactus League schedule

Release sent out by the A’s regarding spring schedule changes:

The Oakland A’s today announced several changes to their 2013 Spring Training schedule, which were necessitated to accommodate the World Baseball Classic and other Cactus League teams.  Despite the changes, the Athletics will still play 17 home games at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.  In related news, the team announced that one of those 17 games will feature Italy as the lone World Baseball Classic opponent on the 2013 spring slate on Tuesday, March 5 in Phoenix. 

On five of the original home dates, the Cactus League opponents have now changed:

  • San Diego replaces Seattle, Feb. 27. 
  • Colorado replaces San Diego, March 2.
  • Seattle replaces Colorado, March 7.
  • Los Angeles (AL) replaces Seattle, March 16
  • Seattle replaces Cincinnati, March 18

In addition, Oakland and the Milwaukee Brewers have swapped home dates, with the A’s now opening the Cactus League season at Maryvale against the Brewers Saturday, Feb. 23 and then hosting Milwaukee in Phoenix Monday, March 25.

Cespedes, Melvin named award finalists

Mike Trout will surely steal the spotlight Monday, when the Angels outfielder is expected to take home American League Rookie of the Year honors. But on Wednesday, Trout shared it with one of Oakland’s own.
 
Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes was named one of three finalists for the prestigious award, joining Trout and Rangers hurler Yu Darvish, as voted by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
 
Moments after, on MLB Network, A’s manager Bob Melvin was announced as one of three finalists for AL Manager of the Year, joining Orioles skipper Buck Showalter and the White Sox’s Robin Ventura. The winner will be announced Tuesday.
 
Cespedes, 27, collected 23 home runs and 82 RBIs in his first Major League season, both of which ranked second among AL rookies, while helping the A’s reach the playoffs for the first time in six years. His 25 doubles and 53 extra-base hits also ranked second.
 
“The sky is literally the limit,” Melvin said of Cespedes at end of the season. “He has a chance to be an elite player in the game. All the way around, for a guy that had to adjust and deal with many things that nobody else had to deal with, pretty amazing what he accomplished. Hopefully he’ll do even better next year.”
 
“Just amazing,” general manager Billy Beane added. “You saw him get better day by day to the point where you could see teams fearing him. He had never played left field and struggled right out of the gate, and by the last month of the season he was outstanding out there. Really a remarkable talent, and you couple that with the fact he’s making a cultural adjustment, it is really amazing.”
 
Cespedes will be one of five outfielders — the A’s also have Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, Chris Young and Seth Smith — to be utilized in 2013 by Melvin, whose work in 2012 proved equally commendable. Melvin guided the misfit A’s to a 94-win season that culminated in an AL West championship and Division Series appearance, all with an unassuming and ever-changing roster that featured mostly rookies.
 
“Obviously I’m biased, but all due respect, I think Buck Showalter has done a phenomenal job, but I can’t imagine anyone other than Bob Melvin being Manager of the Year,” Beane said. “I would be baffled if it wasn’t him. When a manager takes a club with the expectations that the team is supposed to lose 100 games and, in some cases, people thought 100-plus-plus games, and then that team wins the toughest division in baseball — and it was — and was able to arguably be the best team in baseball for 161 games, in my opinion, I don’t know what somebody would have to do if they weren’t Manager of the Year.”
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