Winter Meetings musings

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Winter Meetings musings

NASHVILLE - As soon as you move through the rotating door to enter Gaylord Opryland's lobby you are handed a map. That's how massive the site of the 2012 Major League Baseball Winter Meetings is. It is a bit of a sensory overload. Immediately recognizable in the lobby are prominent members of the media, baseball executives, some current managers, and one very impressive manager of the past, Tommy Lasorda. The baseball people all mingle on a bridge directly outside the lobby. At times the narrow bridge that takes you over a large man-made pond gets so crowded that it is hard to pass through. Being exchanged are business cards, pleasantries, and information. As you take a couple of escalators the hotel opens up to a massive garden conservatory with thousands of dangling strands of white light. You can see a quaint gazebo and much more water as you take the skywalk to to the area that eventually winds around to the make-shift television sets, and MLB press conference rooms. More people are standing around talking. Most people are in suits -- surprisingly with no ties -- or company branded polo shirts. There's a surprising amount of job seekers here.You introduce yourself, get business cards, talk to agents, and try to catch wind of moves that could be on the horizon. Inside the hotel there are about eight bars. Most people just partake at night. Below the television area there is a guided boat tour that takes you around the inside of the hotel. It costs 9.50 but they let us ride for free because we brought a high-def camera to shoot scenics. Outside there is a dazzling display of holiday lights. It's easy to get lost here. It's even easier to cover massive amounts of distance without realizing it. For now, these observations are the only ones that matter from the Oakland A's side of the beat. A's general manager Billy Beane and assistant general manager David Forst will be arrived this evening. They will speak with the A's writers and then get to work. If you think it is surprisingly quiet from the A's perspective, this is why. Even when they are here, the A's tend to be relatively quiet at the Winter Meetings. Oakland needs a shortstop. Whether or not they can bring back Stephen Drew is the biggest question. His agent Scott Boras is one of the toughest negotiators in the business. He is here. Drew is drawing interest from several clubs. If the A's can't bring him back, the shortstop market is thin. I spoke with the agents of Yuniesky Betancourt. They say they have been in contact with Oakland but haven't had any serious talks. Betancourt could be had for pretty cheap. He signed a one-year deal with the Royals last offseason for 2,000,000. He only played 57 games last season, but played over 150 games in five of the last six seasons. For now, most of the news that relates to the A's has to do with moves other clubs have made. Mike Napoli has signed with the Boston Red Sox. Napoli, 31, got a three-year deal. He hit 54 homers for the Rangers in the past two seasons, and it certainly hurts Texas' lineup to lose him. The other big news that might have a mild trickle down effect for Oakland is that Alex Rodriguez is going to miss extensive time after undergoing right hip surgery. With the Yankees in need of a back up at third base, Brandon Inge could be a solid solution. That might make it harder for the A's to bring Inge back. With Jonny Gomes joining the Red Sox, Inge could be valuable to the A's as a clubhouse leader and provide depth behind Josh Donaldson at the hot corner. Much more to come. Make sure to check out SportNet Central, and Chronicle Live tonight. We'll have A's manager Bob Melvin on both shows. I'll also be attempting to grab him for a one-on-one interview for SportNet Central: Hot Stove on Tuesday.

Rosales, Healy homer, A's hold off Mariners for fifth straight win

Rosales, Healy homer, A's hold off Mariners for fifth straight win

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- Adam Rosales got counsel on leading off from Chris Young when they were Oakland teammates in 2013.

"He's like, just keep it the same, if not be more aggressive because it's either the first or second pitch of the ballgame is the best pitch you'll see that day," Rosales said. "Be ready."

When Ariel Miranda served up a splitter down the middle, Rosales pounced on the 1-1 pitch.

Rosales and Ryon Healy each homered in the first inning, Jharel Cotton pitched six innings of two-run ball and the Athletics beat the Seattle Mariners 4-3 on Saturday for their fifth straight win.

The A's two hottest hitters quickly got to Miranda (1-2). Rosales hit his first leadoff homer since May 3, 2013, then made his usual sprint around the bases.

"He brings a lot of energy to the table," A's manager Bob Melvin said.

The A's fed off that energy, and two batters later, Healy hit a two-run shot, his third this season and first since April 6.

Cotton (2-2) gave up two runs, six hits, two walks and hit a batter.

"I was talking to myself on the mound, saying `attack, attack, attack, stay convicted, no matter what,'" Cotton said.

Ryan Madson got four outs for his first save.

Miranda allowed four runs and seven hits in three-plus inning in his worst start of the season, failing to pitch at least five innings for the first time in three starts.

Rosales is 6 for 17 with two homers and a double during the A's win streak, and Healy is 9 for 17 over his last five games after going 6 for 40 in his previous 10.

The Mariners fell to 1-9 on the road. Their sputtering offense had nine hits Saturday, offering some encouragement to a team that's hitting .195 away from home.

"Sometimes you're good at home, sometimes you're bad on the road and sometimes you're good on the road and sometimes you're bad at home" said Robinson Cano, who hit his third homer. "It was the same way last year. We just have to keep fighting."

Seattle cut it to 4-3 on Kyle Seager's pinch-hit, RBI triple in the eighth. Seager, mired in a slump all month, came into the game batting .233 with no home runs in 60 at-bats and was 3 for 16 over his last five games.

Madson struck out Mitch Haniger swinging to end the game after Jarrod Dyson singled and stole second with two outs in the ninth.

SPLASH HITS

The A's wore Golden State Warriors jerseys during batting practice on Saturday for a second straight day. The A's announced on Twitter that they plan to auction the jerseys with the proceeds going to charity.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: RHP Steve Cishek, who had offseason hip surgery, hasn't been sharp in two rehab appearances. "He's kind going through his spring training right now," manager Scott Servais said.

Athletics: CF Rajai Davis was out of the lineup for a second straight day with a hamstring injury. Manager Bob Melvin said he expects the speedster to be on the field soon and doesn't anticipate him going on the disabled list.

UP NEXT

Mariners RHP Yovani Gallardo is winless through his first three starts. He's 0-5 with a 5.29 ERA in seven career starts against Oakland. ... RHP Andrew Triggs (3-0) is yet to allow an earned run through a team-record 17 2/3 innings. He gave up five runs and six hits in his only appearance against Seattle, a two-inning relief stint last year.

A's lineup: Rosales leading off, Phegley catching Cotton vs Mariners

A's lineup: Rosales leading off, Phegley catching Cotton vs Mariners

Programming note: Mariners-A’s coverage starts today at 12pm with A’s Pregame Live on NBC Sports California and streaming on the NBC Sports App

Looking for their third straight win against the Mariners, the A's will have Adam Rosales and Jed Lowrie at the top of the lineup Saturday.

Seattle Mariners:
1. Jarrod Dyson (L) CF
2. Mitch Haniger (R) RF
3. Robinson Cano (L) 2B
4. Nelson Cruz (R) DH
5. Taylor Motter (R) SS
6. Danny Valencia (R) 1B
7. Guillermo Heredia (R) LF
8. Mike Freeman (L) 3B
9. Mike Zunino (R) C
Ariel Miranda -- LHP

Oakland A's:
1. Adam Rosales (R) SS
2. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
3. Ryon Healy (R) 1B
4. Khris Davis (R) LF
5. Trevor Plouffe (R) 3B
6. Josh Phegley (R) C
7. Matt Joyce (L) RF
8. Chad Pinder (R) DH
9. Jaff Decker (L) CF
Jharel Cotton -- RHP