Buyers or sellers? A's homestand will reveal


Buyers or sellers? A's homestand will reveal

OAKLAND -- The addition of a second Wild Card berth gives fresh life to the A's, who are stuck in a small sand box with the MLB bullies from Texas and Anaheim.

But on the other side of the 2012 All-Star break, the A's are just 12 game out of the Wild Card play-in game, and playing great baseball. They're 9-1 over their last 10 games, but their hottest stretch of baseball since September of 2009 takes them into series against the two top teams in baseball.

Two games vs. the 54-35 Rangers followed by four against the 55-34 Yankees. Whether the A's will admit it or not, it's a big homestand.

And whether or not the A's, as they are currently constructed, can compete with the A.L.'s top teams in the coming weeks will determine if Billy Beane is making -- or fielding -- phone calls as the July 31 trade deadline approaches.

As buyers:

Not the type of club to rent a player for a playoff push, any move made would likely have to benefit the team in future years.

The A's have a surplus of pitching and enough outfielders. They've shored up first base with Chris Carter and Brandon Moss, and the addition of Derek Norris has added pop as well.

But the left side of the infield is one area the A's could improve.

With Edwin Encarnacion signing a three-year extension with Toronto and the Brewers saying they don't have intentions to trade Aramis Ramirez, the market for third basemen is shallow.

Chase Headley:

The Padres' Chase Headley is expected to be the most attractive option at the hot corner. Reports indicate San Diego has already fielded calls from six teams about their 28-year-old third baseman, including requests from the division rival Mariners and Angels.

Headley has 10 home runs, 45 RBIs and a .266 average in 90 games this year.

He won't hit free agency until 2014, giving him at least two seasons with his new team should he be traded.

Jimmy Rollins:

As a 10-5 player, Rollins has full no-trade protection, but it would be interesting to see if the Oakland native would entertain a trade to the A's.

The 13-year Philly veteran is batting .262 this season with nine home runs and 14 stolen bases. Though he is getting up in age, the 33-year-old would still be a marked upgrade over Cliff Pennington, who owns an unimpressive .203.266.290 line this year.

The fourth most expensive MLB shortstop would come at a price as he signed a three-year, 33 million contract before the season.

Stephen Drew:

Shortstop Stephen Drew is only recently returned from the gruesome ankle injury that cost him 11 months.

Drew, 29, is batting .233 with three RBIs in the 13 games he's played since his return.

He's in the second season of a two-year, 13.75 million contract that has a mutual option for 2013 that would pay him 10 million if exercised and 1.35 million if it's bought out.

Yunel Escobar:

Yunel Escobar, 29, is batting .249 with six home runs and 34 RBIs. He is in the first of a two-year, 10 million contract with Toronto, who is reportedly not opposed to letting him go with prospect Adeiny Hechavarria waiting for his chance.

Escobar's contract has club options for 2014 and 2015 at 5 million.

Marco Scutaro:

Former Athletic Marco Scutaro is having a solid season for the Rockies, and would be a solid and flexible addition to the left side. He can play short and third, in addition to second base, and he's familiar with how things work in Oakland.

Scutaro is hitting .273 this year, with 42 runs and 25 RBIs. He is in the final season of a three-year 17.5 million contract.

As sellers:

If the A's fare poorly against the Rangers and A's, and Billy Beane decides to keep lining his ducks for future seasons, there are a few expendable Athletics who would be of value to competing clubs. But don't expect the squad to let any of its cornerstones get away.

Coco Crisp:

Coco Crisp's combination of speed and pop, and his knack for making things happen atop the lineup are rare in the bigs.

Crisp has missed time this year earlier with an inner ear infection and stomach virus, and he is currently day-to-day with a strained shoulder.

The 11-year veteran might not garner as much in return as he once would have; he's having one of his worst seasons at the plate so far. Crisp

The departure of Crisp, who is in the first year of a two-year, 14 million contract, would open things up in the A's outfield, and among other things, give manager Bob Melvin the chance to play Chris Carter and Brandon Moss together in the lineup.

Bartolo Colon:
Bartolo Colon signed a one-year, 2 million contract with the A's, and he's been well worth it, going 6-7 with a 3.80 ERA this year.

His season features two eight-inning shutout bids against A.L. West rivals -- the Rangers and Angels.

His heavy diet of dancing fastballs would be a solid addition to any playoff-bound staff.

Kurt Suzuki:
With the emergence of Derek Norris, Kurt Suzuki is suddenly -- though the team won't admit it -- dispensable.

Suzuki's offensive numbers have dropped off this year, but he is known league-wide for his adept ability to handle a staff, especially a young one.

The 28-year-old catcher is in the second of a four-year contract worth 16.25 million.

Grant Balfour:
Relief pitchers are always in demand come the trade deadline, and veteran Grant Balfour, who has filled multiple roles in the 'pen for the A's, is no different.

He is in the second year of a two-year, 8.1 million contract with the A's.

A 10-5 player is one who has 10 years of MLB service, the last five of which came with the same team. In 1970, players of such status were granted the right to veto any trade that involves them.

Injuries to Hahn, Alonso compound A's loss to Marlins

Injuries to Hahn, Alonso compound A's loss to Marlins

OAKLAND — Their pitching staff got banged up throughout the night, but the A’s hope the only lasting damage they absorbed Tuesday night was on the scoreboard.

In the process of an 11-9 defeat to the Miami Marlins, they lost starting pitcher Jesse Hahn to a strained triceps and first baseman Yonder Alonso to a contusion on his right hand and wrist.

The early diagnosis showed they may have dodged a bullet with Alonso — X-rays came back negative for a fracture after he was hit flush in the wrist area on a pitch from lefty Jarlin Garcia. Alonso initially walked off the field after being hit, but after a few moments re-emerged and took first base to run. He was replaced on defense in the seventh.

“I’ve had some history with my hand,” Alonso said afterward. “I broke it three or four years ago. At the time when I got hit, I felt like that was the case all over again. The pain started going away, that’s when I realized I think I’m OK.”

Alonso’s wrist and hand began to swell while he was running the bases, and he had to exit the game. The first baseman had missed the four previous games with a sore left knee, then proceeded to homer in his first at-bat Tuesday, pulling him back into a tie with Khris Davis for the team homer lead at 13. Suffering another injury in the same game could be classified as rotten timing, but Alonso came away feeling fortunate all things considered.

“I think we got very lucky,” he said. “It got me right on the wrist but a little bit on the hand as well. We’re lucky that there’s no break. You just gotta move forward.”

Manager Bob Melvin said Alonso would be a game-time decision for whether he’ll start Wednesday afternoon’s series finale, but with the A’s off Thursday, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they rested Alonso in an attempt to let him heal up for Friday’s road trip opener against the Yankees.

Hahn’s condition seems more ambiguous, and perhaps more troubling. He said he felt fine warming up before Tuesday’s game, but when he took the mound to warm up before the third, he experienced a drop in velocity and couldn’t figure out why.

“I experienced some tightness near my triceps and a big velocity decrease,” Hahn said. “The ball wasn’t coming out (well) at all. It was a weird feeling. I’ve dealt with elbow (problems) before. Usually for me when I have elbow pain I can feel it on my pitches, and I didn’t feel it. It was kinda weird. … It almost felt like a dead arm.”

Hahn gave up a leadoff single to Christian Yelich in the third, then was taken out of the game. Afterward, he and the training staff discussed the possibility of getting an MRI but nothing had been set in stone.

“I’m throwing the ball as hard as I can and I see 89-90 on the board,” Hahn said. “I know something’s not right. But at the same time, I’m not feeling anything. It leaves you thinking. To be in that state of mind on the mound is not good.”

Should the A’s need to fill Hahn’s rotation spot the next time through, and should they want to dip into the minor league ranks, Daniel Mengden is on the same turn with Triple-A Nashville and threw seven scoreless innings Tuesday (81 pitches). He’s on the 40-man roster. Jharel Cotton and Daniel Gossett also are coming off great outings for Nashville, though their turns in the rotation don’t line up as good with Hahn’s.

Hahn, Alonso leave with injuries, A's drop slugfest to Marlins

Hahn, Alonso leave with injuries, A's drop slugfest to Marlins


OAKLAND -- Justin Bour matched his career high with four hits including his fourth home run in five games to highlight Miami's best offensive game of the season, and the Marlins held off a late surge to beat the Oakland Athletics 11-9 on Tuesday night.

Giancarlo Stanton and Dee Gordon had three hits each on a night when every Miami player had at least one by the third inning. Three other Marlins had two hits apiece while Ichiro Suzuki added a two-run single in his return to the starting lineup.

Miami entered the day with the second-worst record in the majors having dropped 14 of 17 before getting a season-high 19 hits against Oakland in the first meeting between the two clubs since 2014.

Yonder Alonso hit his 13th home run of the season for the A's, but left with a bruised right hand after getting hit by a pitch in the sixth. Ryon Healy and Rajai Davis also homered for Oakland.

Jose Urena (2-2) pitched five uneven innings for his first career interleague win in 10 appearances. The Miami right-hander allowed six runs over five innings, raising his ERA from 1.91 to 3.08.

Jesse Hahn (1-4) took the loss and left the game in the third inning with a triceps strain. He pitched just two innings, giving up five runs on seven hits while striking out two. He gave up a single to Christian Yelich in the third then left after a visit to the mound by the Oakland trainer.

The A's scored three times in the ninth and had the tying runner at the plate with two outs before AJ Ramos struck out Stephen Vogt.

Bour doubled as part of a three-run third, singled and scored in the fifth, homered leading off the seventh then singled again in the ninth. It was Bour's 12th home run this season and eighth in his last 12 games.

Marlins: Wei-Yin Chen received a platelet-rich plasma treatment before the game. The left-hander has been out since early May with arm fatigue. . RHP David Phelps was placed on the bereavement list and is expected to rejoin the team Friday. . Reliever Drew Steckenrider was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans. . RHP Junichi Tazawa (rib cage inflammation) is scheduled to throw a bullpen this weekend.

Athletics: X-rays taken on Alonso's hand were negative. . LHP Sean Doolittle (shoulder strain) will throw a 25-pitch bullpen Wednesday. If all goes well, the former closer could face hitters in his next outing. . RHP Ryan Dull continues to be bothered by soreness in his right knee.

Miami right-hander Edinson Volquez (0-6) pitches the finale of this two-game series Wednesday afternoon while Oakland counters with right-hander Sonny Gray (1-1). Gray is attempting to win consecutive starts for the first time since April 2016.