Athletics

2013 A's roster breakdown: Second base

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2013 A's roster breakdown: Second base

OAKLAND -- This is the third installment of the Oakland A's position-by-position offseason breakdown, teeing up the team's options for the 2013 season. Second base could be one of the more interesting Spring Training battles for Oakland. A's general manager Billy Beane indicated that Scott Sizemore will move back to second base this offseason. Based on that information, it is likely that Sizemore is the favorite to land the starting job out of camp if all goes according to plan. The A's remain very confident in Sizemore's abilities. He was acquired from the Detroit Tigers in 2011 and converted to a third baseman. In just 95 games with the A's he hit .249 with 21 doubles, 11 homers, and 52 RBI. He handled the transition to third base well defensively. Now he gets to move back to his natural position.In the first full squad workout in Spring Training, Sizemore tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and was lost for the season. After a year of rehabbing with the team Sizemore will be ready to fight for a starting gig in 2013. The A's organization still thinks very highly of him. "The great thing about Scott is he is a natural second baseman and now he's played third," Beane said at the conclusion of the season. "I personally have high hopes for Scott, he is very much part of our picture going forward." Prior to being traded it looked like Cliff Pennington was a heavy favorite to enter 2013 as the A's starting second baseman. This cracks open the door for Jemile Weeks, who lost the job. Weeks was labeled as untouchable after a strong rookie campaign in which he hit .303 with 22 stolen bases. He was hit hard by the sophomore slump, though, and lost his job. He only hit .220 in 2012 after starting 111 of the A's first 121 games. He fell out of favor with the A's front office and was sent to Triple-A Sacramento on August 21. "He's a very talented kid but it's certainly a disappointment to see him go back to Triple-A after having such a great rookie campaign," Beane said.Weeks was handed the starting job in 2012 and lost it. The A's have made it very clear that he will have to earn every start going forward. He has the ability to ignite the A's lineup. If he can find a way to start from scratch and fix his game he could be a star. Humbled going into 2013, Weeks will have to prove he has what it takes to earn his job back. Another intriguing possibility for second base in 2013 will be Grant Green. It is worth noting that he was told to focus solely on second base toward the end of the year. He played second base (19 games), third base (11 games), shortstop (19 games), left field (49 games), and center field (30 games) in Triple-A in 2012. Green is one of the A's top prospects and the belief is that his offense will translate in the major leagues. He was second in the A's organization with a .296 average, finished third with 75 RBI, and sixth with 15 home runs. The A's just need to find a position for him. Could second base be the answer? Don't be surprised if he finds a way to win the job at some point this upcoming season. Here in 2013:Jemile Weeks, 118 G, .221 AVG, .305 OBP, 8 3B, 20 RBI, 16 SB
Scott Sizemore, DNP
Adam Rosales, 42 G, .222 AVG, .297 OBP, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 11 BB
Grant Green, 125 G, .296 AVG, .338 OBP, 28 2B, 6 3B, 15 HR, 75 RBI (AAA)
Eric Sogard, 37 G, .206 OBP, 3 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI
Andy Parrino, 55 G, .207, .316 OBP, 5 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI
Free Agents: NONE Biggest Question: How will Sizemore bounce back after a year off? Analyst's Take: Shooty Babitt"That's the tough one. The reason it is so tough is because Scott Sizemore hasn't done enough to earn that second base job. He came in and did a good job to earn the third base job, but he hasn't proven to everybody he can play second base every day at the major league level. That's why they moved him to third." "I think Jemile Weeks is done in Oakland. I was surprised when they brought him back up. Especially the way he left. For me, I still think that position is wide open. I think that somebody could come in there and take that position." "Grant Green can play second base and I always felt that would be his best position because I felt he could be an offensive second baseman. He catches the balls that are hit to him, he's got a slow gait, he doesn't have a quick first step, but he is an instinctive guy, I think he is not as exposed at second base." Best Available and affordable (Not much to see here) Maicer Izturis (32), Kelly Johnson (31), Jose Lopez (29), Freddy Sanchez (34)

With Yankees on the prowl, error costs Sonny Gray in loss to Blue Jays

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USATSI

With Yankees on the prowl, error costs Sonny Gray in loss to Blue Jays

BOX SCORE

Sonny Gray walked off the mound after a scoreless bottom of the sixth Tuesday in Toronto.

Was it the last inning he’ll pitch in green and gold?

That’s the dominant storyline around the A’s right now, especially in light of Tuesday afternoon’s revelation that the Yankees are making a run at acquiring both Gray and first baseman Yonder Alonso from Oakland in a package deal.

MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported multiple sources as saying the teams were “making progress” on a deal that would send both players to the Big Apple.

The A’s have been scouting the Yankees’ farm system recently, along with the systems of other contending teams who are considering Gray. The speculation surrounding Alonso, a free agent this winter, has been light in recent weeks except for the Yankees’ known interest. But after New York acquired corner infielder Todd Frazier from the White Sox last week, it seemed the Yankees’ need for Alonso might have lessened. Apparently, that’s not the case.

Gray struck out nine over six innings in Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to the Blue Jays, which leaves the A’s 1-4 so far on this seven-game road trip. All four runs off him came in the second, when his own throwing error toward second base helped open the gates to the only rally Toronto needed. Ryan Goins had a two-out two-run double and Jose Bautista also doubled home a run in the inning, with all four runs off Gray unearned.

MLB.com also reported earlier Tuesday that the A’s had a particular interest in Yankees Single-A center fielder Estevan Florial, and that infielder/outfielder Jorge Mateo, ranked New York’s fourth-best prospect by Baseball America before the season, could also enter the equation. That same report mentioned that such elite Yankee prospects as shortstop Gleyber Torres, outfielder Clint Frazier and pitchers Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield would be all but untouchable. All are among New York’s top-10 prospects.

But for a deal that includes both Gray and Alonso, it stands to reason the A’s could ask for the inclusion of one or more of those four in a deal.

The Yankees aren’t the only team that has an enticing pool of prospects that could make for a match with Oakland. Houston, known to be going after a starter, has multiple outfielders who could be attractive to the A’s. The Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers are among other teams in search of pitching who could put together competitive offers.

Gray’s next scheduled start would come Sunday at home against the Minnesota Twins, one day before the non-waiver trade deadline.

Decision time for A's: Trade Sonny Gray now or later?

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AP

Decision time for A's: Trade Sonny Gray now or later?

As Sonny Gray prepares to take the mound against Toronto on Tuesday night, there’s not a hotter name in the rumor mill as the major leagues’ non-waiver trade deadline approaches Monday.

Yet there’s a contradiction attached to the A’s right-hander. He is simultaneously the likeliest Athletic to be traded, and the toughest to pry away simply because of what the team will demand in return.

The markets for first baseman Yonder Alonso and second baseman Jed Lowrie haven’t developed as expected, to the point that you wonder how much the A’s could even get in return for them right now.

That focuses the spotlight squarely on Gray, 27, who has posted a 1.62 ERA over his last five starts and comes with two more seasons of team control before he hits free agency. That’s why he’s been linked to no fewer than nine contending teams who are looking for starting pitching.

The A’s sit in a position of strength here. They don’t have to deal Gray right now, and indications from within the organization are that they don’t feel a pressing need to deal him before Monday if they don’t get swept off their feet by an offer. They can retain him, and he’ll still hold great value as an offseason trade chip with those two years of team control.

MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reported Tuesday morning that the Yankees and Nationals — who have already struck a deal with Oakland to get relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson this month — are two teams in particular to watch in the hunt for Gray.

Morosi also reported that the A’s are targeting young outfielders as the anchor of any deal. That makes all the sense in the world given their organizational needs, particularly in center. It’s also in line with what I’ve heard that the A’s would prioritize getting position players in return since they worked so hard over the past couple of years to acquire and draft young starting pitching (though it stands to reason a deal for Gray would be a multi-player package that could also include pitching prospects as well).

Morosi specifically mentions Yankees Single-A center fielder Estevan Florial as a player the A’s like. He’s just 19 and at least a couple years away from the majors. But Billy Beane, the head of Oakland’s baseball operations, said after making the Doolittle/Madson trade that the emphasis moving forward would be on acquiring high-end talent, not necessarily prospects close to being major league-ready.

Other potential Gray suitors have elite outfield prospects in their system: The Astros boast Kyle Tucker, the Nats have Victor Robles and the Mariners have Kyle Lewis, though it’s doubtful whether Seattle has enough elsewhere in its farm system to assemble a package to land Gray.

Just a hunch, but keep an eye on the Dodgers as a team that could enter the Sonny Sweepstakes in light of Clayton Kershaw’s lower back injury. There’s strong ties between the Oakland and Los Angeles front offices, and the teams struck a deadline deal last summer that sent Rich Hill and Josh Reddick to the Dodgers. They have one of the majors’ top outfield prospects in Alex Verdugo, who’s currently at Triple-A.

Though much mystery remains, an eventual trade of Gray is inevitable. The A’s have a solid base of young pitching depth, both in the majors and coming up through the system. And Gray’s rebound from a poor 2016, combined with his favorable contract status, makes him too tantalizing a trade chip for the A’s not to make the move.

The key question is not “if” but “when.”