Athletics

Billy Beane opens up on acquiring injured prospects in Sonny Gray trade

Billy Beane opens up on acquiring injured prospects in Sonny Gray trade

When the A's sent their ace Sonny Gray to the Yankees before the MLB trade deadline on July 31, two of the three prospects they acquired are out for the season. 

"It was a little unique. I don't think in the case of a couple of these guys, had they not been injured, that we would have been able to discuss them," A's VP of baseball operations Billy Beane said Sunday on MLB Network Radio. "We view it as a risk certainly, but we also view it as an opportunity." 

In the A's trade with the Yankees, New York sent over INF/CF Jorge Mateo, RHP James Kaprielian and OF Dustin Fowler. Kaprielian underwent Tommy John surgery in April. Fowler, in his MLB debut on June 29, ruptured his patellar tendon while sliding into the right-field wall on his attempt to catch a foul ball. 

"Certainly in Tommy John, there is a good track record of guys coming back successfully," Beane said of Kaprielian. "And James' case, we expect probably the normal 13 months, which would take him to May of next year."

As far as Fowler's injury went, getting news on the 22-year-old outfielder was much different. 

"The unique thing about Fowler's injury is it wasn't one you commonly see in baseball so we had to do a lot of consulting with NFL orthopedicts," Beane explained. "With the patellar tendon, it's more of an NFL injury. The success on the return has been very positive."

Despite the ugly injury in what should have been a day Fowler always remembered for all the right reasons, Beane is optimistic he will be ready to go next year. 

"Our expectation is that Dustin will be ready for spring training. Obviously we're still early in the process, but that's our expectation." 

Fowler is ranked as the No. 76 prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline and No. 89 in Baseball America's rankings. 

Beane recognizes the risk in taking Fowler and Kaprielian, but clearly believes the reward is much higher down the road, saying, "We saw it as an opportunity to get two players we though were very talented." 

Bruce Maxwell: Kneeling for anthem not 'disrespecting my country or my flag'

Bruce Maxwell: Kneeling for anthem not 'disrespecting my country or my flag'

OAKLAND — Bruce Maxwell’s gesture to take a knee during the national anthem Saturday night at the Coliseum was no knee-jerk reaction by the A’s catcher.

It was something he’s considered for a long time, balancing his own personal convictions to make a statement with how it might affect his teammates and organization.

Think it was bold of Maxwell to become the first player in baseball to kneel during the anthem, in protest of racial discrimination and the inflammatory remarks of President Trump? It took just as much guts to stand before his teammates, manager Bob Melvin and GM David Forst and explain why he felt he needed to do it.

He did so in a pregame meeting Saturday that made for a degree of discomfort in the room, but also seemed to have played out in a healthy way.

“I didn’t want them to sugarcoat or aid me when it comes to the media and their personal feelings,” Maxwell said, “because the whole point of this is the ability to protest (based on) our personal beliefs and our personal choices.”

Many athletes have been critical of the President, with things intensifying across the sports landscape Saturday after Trump, among other things, withdrew an invitation for the Warriors to visit the White House and harshly criticized athletes who have knelt during the anthem, saying they should be booted off their teams.

After blasting Trump on both Instagram and Twitter, Maxwell took the field for the anthem and took the action that will define him in the eyes of the baseball world. Maxwell had been wanting to make a statement in some way. He said he and his sister dealt with racial discrimination growing up. Watching Trump’s rally play out in his hometown of Huntsville, Ala. on Friday further persuaded Maxwell to finally do so.

“This goes beyond the black community, it goes beyond the Hispanic community, because right now we’re having … a racial divide in all types of people,” said Maxwell, who is African American. “It’s being practiced from the highest power we have in this country and it’s basically saying it’s OK to treat people differently. And my kneeling, the way I did it, was to symbolize the fact that I’m kneeling for a cause. But I’m in no way or form disrespecting my country or my flag.”

A’s outfielder Mark Canha stood next to Maxwell during the anthem with his hand on Maxwell’s shoulder, a show of support. Canha said he’s considered kneeling before in protest himself but had chosen not to. As he listened to Maxwell address the team, Canha wasn’t going to let his teammate make his statement on his own.

“I could tell he was getting kind of choked up and emotional about his beliefs and how he feels about the racial discrimination that’s going on in this country right now,” Canha said. “I felt like every fiber of my being was telling me that he needed a brother today.”

Canha added that he sensed some “discomfort” in the room as Maxwell addressed the team. But he also said there was support.

“It was an open forum to ask him questions. It was as articulate as I’ve seen him,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “This wasn’t an emotional thing just today for him. … I think he handled it really well and everybody was comfortable after the session. I’m proud of him for the fact he went about it the way he did.”

Maxwell, who was born in Germany while his father served in the Army over there, said he will continue to kneel for the anthem. He doesn’t expect his teammates to do the same, only to stick to what they believe in.

“I have plenty of family members, including my father, who have bled for this country,” Maxwell said. “At the end of the day, this the best country on the planet. My hand over my heart symbolized that I am, and will forever be, an American citizen. But my kneeling is what’s getting the attention because I’m kneeling for the people that don't have a voice.”

MLB issues statement on A's Bruce Maxwell kneeling during national anthem

MLB issues statement on A's Bruce Maxwell kneeling during national anthem

A's catcher Bruce Maxwell made history Saturday night in Oakland. The 26-year-old became the first player in big-league history to kneel during the national anthem. 

Below is the official statement from Major League Baseball:

Major League Baseball has a longstanding tradition of honoring our nation prior to the start of our games. We also respect that each of our players is an individual with his own background, perspectives and opinions. We believe that our game will continue to bring our fans, their communities and our players together.

MLB media services contributed to this report