A's lineup: Norris behind the dish

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A's lineup: Norris behind the dish

OAKLAND -- The Oakland Athletics are down 0-2 and facing elimination in the American League Division Series. They have never come back from an 2-0 deficit to win a playoff series. None of that really matters though. The A's can't worry about winning three games on Tuesday, first they have to win just one. Here's A's manager Bob Melvin's lineup card for Game Three.
Oakland Athletics (0-2) lineupCoco Crisp, CF
Stephen Drew, SS
Yoenis Cespedes, LF
Brandon Moss, 1B
Josh Reddick, RF
Josh Donaldson, 3B
Seth Smith, DH
Derek Norris, C
Cliff Pennington, 2B
PRATT: ALDS Game 3: Key Matchups Instant AnalysisIt's essentially the same lineup as the previous nights with the exception being the catcher's position. Derek Norris and George Kottaras have been alternating games in the eight spot. The key to the lineup could be Seth Smith. He is hitting .462 in his career against Detroit's starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez. When the A's faced Sanchez on September 20, Smith ended up 3 for 4 with three runs, a double, a homer, and four RBI. As one of the team veterans the A's need Smith to step up his game in a major way. He is 0 for 5 with two walks in this series.
With nothing but right-handed pitchers in Detroit's rotation Melvin isn't using right-handed hitters Chris Carter and Jonny Gomes. The A's will have to hope they can work those guys in later in the game in key pinch-hitting situations.
Top of the OrderCoco Crisp committed a key error in Game Two in Detroit. He dropped a ball that allowed two runs to score. The speedy center fielder was playing deep with Miguel Cabrera batting and found a way to get in position to make the catch but the ball hit the heel of his glove and bounced out. Most center fielders probably don't even get in position to make that catch. That being said, he is likely the most motivated hitter in the lineup to make amends. Crisp is a .320 (106 for 331) hitter against the Tigers, which is his best mark vs. any Major League team. Stephen Drew has recorded a hit in all nine of his career postseason games. Heart of the OrderYoenis Cespedes is 3 for 8 in his first Major League Baseball postseason. He stole two bases on Sunday to become the 14th A's player to have a multi-steal game in the postseason. Cespedes has hit safely in every game against Detroit this season. Bottom of the OrderCliff Pennington has risen to the occasion for the A's in the postseason. He has a .714 on-base percentage in this ALDS. Pennington is 3 for 5 with two walks and an RBI. Starting PitchersBrett Anderson will be starting Game Three of the ALDS. He hasn't pitched since straining his right oblique in Detroit on September 19. The Tigers are sending Sanchez to the mound. Oakland beat Sanchez on September 20 in Detroit. He gave up six runs, five earned, in five and two-thirds innings.

A’s agree to terms with Gray, Hendriks and Vogt to avoid arbitration

A’s agree to terms with Gray, Hendriks and Vogt to avoid arbitration

The Oakland A’s avoided arbitration with right-handed pitchers Sonny Gray and Liam Hendriks and catcher Stephen Vogt when they agreed to terms on one-year contracts for the 2017 season, the club announced today.

Gray went 5-11 with a 5.69 ERA in 22 starts last year in a season shortened by two stints on the disabled list.  His ERA was more than 2½ runs higher than his previous career high and his five wins follow back-to-back 14-win seasons.  Gray went 33-20 with a 2.88 ERA 76 games over his first three seasons with the A’s and now has a 3.42 ERA in his career, which ranks ninth in Oakland history.

Hendriks compiled a 3.76 ERA and .270 opponents batting average in 53 relief appearances in his first season with the A’s.  He had an 8.27 ERA and .394 opponents batting average in 11 games before going on the disabled list in early May with a strained right triceps.  Hendriks then logged a 2.23 ERA and .222 opponents batting average in 42 games following his return from the DL.

Vogt played in a career-high 137 games last year and hit .251 with 14 home runs and 56 RBI.  He also had career bests with 123 hits, 30 doubles and 46 extra base hits.  Vogt was named to his second consecutive American League All-Star team.

The only remaining arbitration eligible player on the A’s roster is Khris Davis.

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Mariners swing pair of trades, bolster rotation with addition of Smyly

Mariners swing pair of trades, bolster rotation with addition of Smyly

SEATTLE -- Jerry Dipoto's 11th trade this offseason rounded out the Seattle Mariners roster with his top target.

"I've probably spent more time through the course of our offseason trying to acquire Drew Smyly than any other thing that we've done," the general manager said Wednesday.

Seattle made pair of deals on Wednesday that ultimately landed Smyly, a pitcher Dipoto thinks will fill out the Mariners starting rotation. Seattle also landed a potential key reliever, getting right-hander Shae Simmons from the Atlanta Braves.

The Mariners acquired outfielder Mallex Smith from Atlanta, then sent him to Tampa Bay along with infielder Carlos Vargas and left-hander Ryan Yarbrough for Smyly. Smith was also an offseason target for the Mariners but when Seattle acquired Jarrod Dyson from Kansas City last week, Smith instead became the conduit in helping to obtain Smyly.

"It became apparent to us over the last two or three days that we were able to access Drew Smyly by making the deal with Atlanta that tapped into Mallex Smith," Dipoto said. "So effectively these were two deals that were interlinked."

Smyly is the centerpiece of what Seattle was trying to accomplish as the Mariners seem to have rounded out a starting rotation that appeared to be a major question at the start of the year. The acquisitions of Smyly and Yovani Gallardo from Baltimore last week appear to have filled out a rotation where Felix HernandezHisashi Iwakuma and James Paxton were the only certainties.

Smyly, 27, made 30 starts last season for Tampa Bay, throwing a career-high 175 1/3 innings and striking out 167. He was 7-12 with a 4.88 ERA, but starting pitching is one of Tampa Bay's strongest assets, and Rays senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager Erik Neander felt comfortable making the deal because of the depth the Rays have in that area.

Smyly was 15-15 with a 3.95 ERA in 49 starts for Tampa Bay after being acquired from Detroit in the 2014 trade deadline deal that sent David Price to the Tigers. He is arbitration eligible after winning $3.75 million in an arbitration hearing last season.

"He fits our ballpark particularly well. He's a pretty extreme fly-ball pitcher with the low walks, high strikeouts, who in our ballpark, with what we think is a greatly improved outfield defense fits us like a glove really," Dipoto said. "If as we expect he shows up and does his thing it should fit very well for us in this ballpark."

What Smith may be able to add was attractive to Neander, who said the trade was made to help position the Rays to be competitive in 2017. He stopped short of saying he expects Smith to make the team coming out of spring training.

"We need to get better," Neander said. "To do that, we need more competition" for jobs.

Simmons is also a key acquisition for Seattle, providing another power arm in the bullpen. Simmons, 26, made seven appearances last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery and threw just 6 2/3 big league innings. Before elbow issues, Simmons was 1-2 with a 2.91 ERA in 26 appearances during the 2014 season.

"He's had a strong history with striking (batters) out and (we're) really excited to plug him in," Dipoto said.

The cost for Seattle to complete to two deals meant giving up two of its top pitching prospects in Yarbrough and Luiz Gohara. Yarbrough, 25, was named the Southern League pitcher of the year after going 12-4 with a 2.95 ERA at Double-A Jackson last season. Gohara, 20, was 7-2 with a 1.81 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 13 starts at two Class A stops.

Seattle also sent lefty Thomas Burrows to Atlanta and designated right-hander Cody Martin for assignment to make room on its 40-man roster.