A's notebook: McCarthy's the man; quandary at third base


A's notebook: McCarthy's the man; quandary at third base

News of Day: When the Athletics open the 2012 season in Tokyo, it'll be Brandon McCarthy on the mound."I thought it was natural based on what he accomplished last year," A's manager Bob Melvin said, in officially announcing what we've all been speculating this spring.Melvin cited McCarthy's focus, dependability and natural ability to pound the strike zone as attributes that led to his decision. And when discussing McCarthy's road to recovery, fighting through injuries throughout his career to finally 'arrive' last year, Melvin said, "credit to him.""He's transformed himself in a number of ways ... when you go through injuries, you are aware of your body. He's a smart guy."RELATED: Brandon McCarthy 2011 game logs
McCarthy is also one of the most routine guys you'll come across in the game, which is saying a lot if you know baseball players.The day after he pitches, he's already started his gameplan for his next start. And as Melvin explained, you don't approach the righty on the day of his outing: "He's focused."Melvin compared him to one of his other former pitchers, Curt Schilling (minus the bloody sock...sorry, I had to go there). It's a comparison to be proud of for the 28-year-old McCarthy.And Now There Are Two: Bartolo Colon will be in the 2-spot of the A's rotation.Melvin cited his experience and mechanics, the way they "stand out...he reads hitters really well."If his shoulder rehab continues on course, Dallas Braden will fit into that No. 3 slot come mid-April, early May.The four and five spots, and still that potential third slot, remain up for grabs.'I Don't Know' at third: The A's weren't able to escape their injury plagued ways this spring. Scott Sizemore went down with a left knee injury the first day of full squad workouts. It's now been confirmed he'll miss the entire 2012 season due to an ACL injury. He will be re-evaluated in two weeks, when the swelling goes down, and surgery will be scheduled then.RELATED: A's Sizemore done for the year with torn ACL
"I feel for him," Melvin said, "Scott put in the work for a breakout season."That means the Athletics' utility men Adam Rosales and Eric Sogard will be getting looks at third, while rotating throughout other infield positions.And it's time to hang up the catcher's gear for Josh Donaldson; he will be getting exclusive looks at the hot corner. Melvin has frequently mentioned Donaldson's athleticism over the past week, and hecomplimented his bat this spring.And movie studios, get ready... we could have another heartwarming story of the oldest rookie trying to make his dream come true as 33-year old Wes Timmons might finally get his big break."You look at his numbers and you're puzzled why he hasn't had a shot at the big league level," Melvin explained.More on the journeyman tonight on SportsNet Central.Injury Updates: Brad Peacock was shut down yesterday with back stiffness. But, as Melvin predicted, it's not a serious situation. The righty will face hitters once more, then be worked into game action.Play Ball: Speaking of game action, the A's will play an intrasquad game March 1, noon at Phoenix Municipal. It'll be an 8-pitcher, 4-inning game.

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.