Urban: Urbs' Daily 5 -- Play the kids?


Urban: Urbs' Daily 5 -- Play the kids?

Sep. 5, 2011


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Mychael Urban

Happy Labor Day, everyone. No hard work here. Just five MLB-related questions to ponder as you fire up the grill.1) Should the Giants start playing the kids, or do they stay the veteran-laden course until the math says they're done?
If you answer along the lines of the latter, you win today's Optimist of the Week award.2) Does the thought of Billy Beane leaving the A's for another GM job disturb you in any way?
Or do you really think he's lost his magic touch? Remember, this is a game that moves in cycles.3) Are you sick of the Yankees?
If you are, you might want to stay away from your television set for the next couple of months, because they're starting to look like they'll be in the spotlight for quite some time.4) Should instant replay be expanded?
We've been seeing an awful lot of calls blown lately, underscoring the need to get the big ones right. Is the NFL really smarter than the men who run baseball?5) If you're starting a franchise from scratch and can select any player in the game to build around, who is it?
Do you go with a young ace? An everyday player with massive upside? An established veteran to show everyone how to be a winner? Options abound.Don's forget to leave your thoughts below, folks. Let us know how you'd handle today's Daily 5.

Dusty Baker: 'I hate losing Melancon,' Giants have more resources than Nats


Dusty Baker: 'I hate losing Melancon,' Giants have more resources than Nats

The Giants were able to pluck free-agent All-Star closer Mark Melancon away from the Nationals.

Washington manager Dusty Baker isn't happy about it.

“I hate losing Melancon, because I’m going to tell you, he was very good, but we’ve still got a chance on landing some guys," Baker said on MLB Network Radio. "“I got input but I'm not putting in money and that's what real input it is, you know what I mean?

"And so my input was such that — we all wanted Melancon, but we don't have the budget or the packed stadium for 800 games in a row like the Giants do. They have more resources than we do. We’ve got a lower budget and everybody has a budget.”

Melancon's deal includes an opt-out after the second year, similar to the one given to Johnny Cueto a year ago. Melancon will get a $20 million signing bonus with $8 million deferred. He is due $4 million in salary in 2017 and $10 million in 2018, and if he opts out, he gets that money plus the full signing bonus, turning this into a two-year, $34 million pact.

If Melancon doesn’t opt out, he will make $14 million in each of his final two seasons. He also received a full no-trade clause.

“If we would have spent that on Melancon, we wouldn't have been able to spend anything on anybody else," Baker added. "But you've got to do what you can do inside the budget. If I had real input, I would have probably spent another $200 million.”

Friendly jabbing motivated Healy, helped him land A's 3B job

Friendly jabbing motivated Healy, helped him land A's 3B job

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — At this time last year, Ryon Healy was doing his offseason workouts unsure of when his first big league opportunity might come knocking.

Fast forward to his current situation. The A’s young third baseman, coming off a very impressive rookie season, looks like a foundation piece for Oakland. Manager Bob Melvin, giving his annual media address at the winter meetings Wednesday, talked about Healy’s impressive debut and his ability to handle third base in the majors after spending his college days and much of his minor league career at first.

“You know, it’s one thing when you get to the big leagues for the first time, it's a little bit uncomfortable,” Melvin said. “It's another thing when you're playing a position that you haven't played for very long, and that just kind of shows his tenacity. He really feels like he can play anywhere if he had to.”

Healy works out every offseason with Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar, a fellow Southern California resident. Last winter, Healy said Pillar twisted the knife in him a little, jabbing at Healy because he wasn’t invited to the A’s major league spring camp. It was meant to be light-hearted motivation for Healy.

Healy proceeded to get called up at the All-Star break and unseated Danny Valencia at third base, hitting .305 with 13 home runs and 37 RBI in 72 games. So how is he responding to Pillar in this winter’s workouts?

“I’ve already been jawing at him and the fact that I had half a season and almost doubled his home run total (of seven),” Healy told CSN California last week.

All indications are Healy will enter the 2017 season as the A’s starting third baseman. Valencia was traded to Seattle, and the signals coming from Oakland officials are that they’d prefer highly touted third base prospect Matt Chapman to get a little more minor league seasoning at Triple-A. Healy’s emergence makes it easier to make that call.

But Melvin also points to Healy’s versatility, saying he could move across the diamond to first base if need be.

“He just wants to get his bat in the lineup,” Melvin said. “He's a tough kid. And to take to third base, which is not an easy position, as well as he did, you know, speaks to how hard he works. If Chapman ends up being there at some point in time, (Healy’s) natural position is first base. We also have the DH spot. We'll find a place for his bat.”