Beane adding Manny a perfectly A's solution


Beane adding Manny a perfectly A's solution

PHOENIX -- Manny Ramirez is the perfectly As solution we have seen before -- the ultraveteran with some dents in the frame and some recurring carburetion issues who might have one more year before the lemon squeezes out.You know, like Frank Thomas on the high side, and Ben Sheets on the low.He is indeed high reward-no risk for Wm. Lamar Beane, in that if he shows his best Manny, Beane gets some badly needed wizard points, and conversely if he has nothing left, well, he had nothing left.

Thats the blunt truth of the signing -- one year, minus 30.8 percent for his 50-game suspension, and 500,000 -- as close to the minimum as someone with Ramirezs resume will ever accept. It isnt a long-term solution to anything, nor is it the jump the As need to get from the also-est of rans to division contender.But it also isnt the quick-fix crowdpleaser that will turn those 25,000 empty chairs every night to concessions-sponge humans, either. It really is a deal that seems bigger than it actually is.And no, were not diving into the Manny-Being-Manny stuff here. One thing about showmen you can always count on is that they are less likely to put on a show when there arent enough people willing to pay to view it. Ramirez also isnt playing for 500K because he needs the money; by the accounts of those who know him, he is very careful with his cash -- no Allen Iverson he.So the seems bigger than it is thing actually works both ways. This signing may get Ramirez seen by another team with pennant concerns come the trade-for-prospects deadline, but isnt in and of itself anything other than Ramirez going out with less of the shame of his last suspension. You know, the one where he went down last May while foundering in Tampa and was believed to be utterly and completely finished as a player.Well, that didnt turn out -- one more lesson for those among us who like to declare someones career over before it is. Ramirez can report to As camp, work out in spring training and extended spring training, as well as begin a minor league rehab 10 games before being called up to the big team.And so he shall, once the As get around to announcing his signing, getting him to Papago Park and fitting him for his trademark oversized uniform. He will be available to provide designated hitting starting May 30 if there are no rainouts, and after that, he and his career will be day-to-day.But thats the frustrating part for As fans who want to see the master plan actually implemented and unfurled. Ramirez isnt part of that, and everyone understands that. He is one more part-timer who once was a big-timer, going back to Jason Kendall in 2005, Thomas in 06 and 08, Mike Piazza in 07, Mike Sweeney in 08, Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Giambi in 09, Sheets in 10 and Hideki Matsui last year.Of those, only Thomas in 06 turned out to be worthy of the hype and the cash, leading the As to their only ALCS since 1992. The others were as done as expected, and there is no particular reason to believe Ramirez will cheat the reaper either.Except that he might, and if he does . . . well, there we go, getting drawn in again. High reward, low risk.Ray Ratto is a columnist for

Vogt has that 'rejuvenation feeling' going from A's to first-place Brewers

Vogt has that 'rejuvenation feeling' going from A's to first-place Brewers

After five seasons in Oakland, Stephen Vogt begins a new chapter of his career in Milwaukee.

The 32-year-old was designated for assignment by the last-place A's on Thursday and claimed by the first-place Brewers on Sunday.

On Monday, the two-time All-Star catcher discussed his new opportunity with a contender on MLB Network Radio.

"Obviously I was ecstatic to hear I was headed to Milwaukee. We all watch baseball and they are such a fun team to watch right now. And your buddy Eric Sogard is there, so I've got some familiarity. It's an opportunity to win and I think anybody, when you get to the stage I'm in in my career, where I'm 32, I want to win. I'm at the point where that's kind of the goal in the big leagues where all you care about is winning and that's where I'm at. So, to get the news that I'm headed to a first-place team, I couldn't be more excited," Vogt said.

After making the AL All-Star team the last two seasons, Vogt struggled to the tune of a .217 batting average with four home runs and 20 RBI in 54 games.

But with a new team in a new league comes a fresh slate.

"You get that rejuvenation feeling, you get that feeling that this is the change you needed especially going to a winning team where when you're winning, everyone plays better, when you're winning, everyones happier. No matter where you are in life, you want to have that feeling that somebody wants you. So to have Milwaukee come in and say 'We wanted you,' Yeah, it recharged the batteries. I'm ready to go," Vogt said.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's first road sweep of 2017

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's first road sweep of 2017


The A’s sprung to life offensively in the late innings Sunday and polished off their first road sweep of 2017.

They scored all five of their runs over the final three innings to beat the Chicago White Sox 5-3, continuing an odd stretch of streakiness. The A’s swept the New York Yankees in four at the Coliseum, then turned around and dropped four in a row to the Houston Astros before arriving in Chicago and taking all three from the Sox. It’s their first sweep on the road since they won four in Kansas City from Sept. 12-15 of last season.

The weekend’s events provided a morale boost for a team that began the series an American League-worst 9-25 away from home. The sweep also featured numerous contributions from a pack of recently promoted young players fresh from the minors.

The A’s had no answer for left-hander Derek Holland through six-plus innings, mustering just four hits off the veteran. But trailing 2-0, they got on the board with Jed Lowrie’s pinch-hit RBI double in the seventh. The next inning, Khris Davis singled home the tying run and Yonder Alonso followed with a go-ahead single down the left-field line to put the A’s up 3-2.

They tacked on two insurance runs in the ninth on back-to-back homers from Adam Rosales and Matt Joyce.

Sonny rebounds: Sonny Gray (3-3) avoided the early trouble that plagued his last start, working seven innings and being rewarded with a victory thanks to the A’s eighth-inning rally. He struck out seven and walked just one. That was a key as Gray had issued seven free passes combined in his previous two starts. Adam Engel hit a 2-1 fastball for a homer in the third, then Jose Abreu scored on a passed ball in the fourth to give Chicago a 2-0 lead. But Gray held the Sox to just four hits over his seven innings.

Sign of things to come? Franklin Barreto got a look as the No. 2 hitter in the order Sunday, a spot that some scouts feel he’ll be well suited for as his career unfolds. He singled to the opposite field in his first at-bat, then struck out looking in his next two trips to the plate. In the eighth, his broken-bat single to left jumpstarted Oakland’s two-run go-ahead rally. Barreto is 4-for-10 in his first two games with the big club.

Joyce provides a lift off the bench: Joyce entered as a pinch runner in the seventh and connected for his 10th homer, right after Rosales had gone deep himself. Joyce became the fourth Athletic to crack double figures in homers, and the A’s improved to 31-26 when they hit at least one home run (they’re 3-16 when they don’t).

Doo does it again: Lefty reliever Sean Doolittle continued to deal since coming off the disabled list. He threw a scoreless eighth with two strikeouts and has allowed just one hit over five innings in six appearances since his return.

An unwanted milestone: The Sox scored their second run on a passed ball by Josh Phegley, which accounted for Oakland’s 50th unearned run, most in the majors. They had just 43 unearned runs all of last season.