A's agree win against Angels was 'big'

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A's agree win against Angels was 'big'

ANAHEIM -- Sometimes simple things get overlooked in the aftermath of a ballgame. As the Oakland Athletics took down the Angels' six-game winning streak with a 3-1 victory, several obvious things stood out. One, the pitching of Jarrod Parker. Two, the A's two solo home runs. Three, the fact that Oakland has now won 10 road games in a row and are 20 games over .500 for the first time since 2006. Lost in the shuffle was the most important run of the game. The first one. The A's never once held a lead when they got swept in three games at home against the Angels last week. Coco Crisp started the game by smacking a lead-off triple off the jumbo electronic scoreboard wall in right field. Seth Smith grounded out scoring Crisp. That one run in the first inning that gave the A's a 1-0 lead seemed to change the tone of the whole contest. "It's always key especially on the road, especially against these guys," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "They're going to be very aggressive when they get ahead." That's not to say the pitching of Parker wasn't important. He shut down the red-hot Angels lineup with ease. He allowed just three hits and pitched seven innings of one-run ball. "I tried to get some early outs and early contact and it translated into going deep into the game," Parker said. "Pitching to their aggression was big because they saw me just a week ago."Parker's plan worked brilliantly. The rookie pitcher earned his 10th win becoming the 10th rookie pitcher in Oakland history to reach double-digit wins. "I'm not done so it's a feather in the cap and it is what it is," Parker said. "Moving on it's a big win today and we need to continue doing it." It was a big win indeed. So big in fact, that Melvin admitted it. "That's a big win for us based on the fact they handled us pretty good at our place and they've been playing so well at home," Melvin said. He wasn't the only one that felt that way. The A's usually stick to the company mantra of one inning, and one game at a time. They can enjoy this one at least until they wake up on Tuesday. "That was definitely a big game for us," second baseman Cliff Pennington said. "They came into our place and did what they did. We need to come into their place and take care of business too. To get the first one is a big step."Parker was poised in front of the crowd of 36,064. The hype and pressures of the playoff atmosphere seemed to play into his strengths. He had a poker face that even Lady Gaga would have been proud of. "He's a pretty calm guy," Melvin said. "You never know what's going on inside.""It's just kind of who I am and how I pitch," Parker said. "If I get too hyped up or too anxious I start trying to do too much." Parker got enough run support to win the game because the A's continued to have success with the long ball. Brandon Moss hit the go-ahead homer in the fifth inning and Pennington tattooed one of his own in the sixth. "A lot of us don't swing for singles," Moss said after his 17th homer. "You look at their club and a lot of good clubs, they all have the ability to change the score with one swing and that's something we have."Maybe more important than the home runs, was an inning-ending double play turned by Pennington. Yep, we are back to the underrated and overlooked theme. With two runners on base in the fourth inning and the Angels gaining momentum fast, Mark Trumbo hit a grounder to third baseman Josh Donaldson who flung the ball to Pennington, who stood his ground absorbing the blow of Erick Aybar's takeout slide before as he threw to first for the final out of the inning.The way Pennington handled the play impressed his skipper. Pennington is still learning second base but looked every bit the part at that moment. "For a guy that hasn't been playing the position that long he was just fearless," Melvin said. "And he has a great arm on top of it." Melvin said he was equally impressed with what Pennington did with his glove and bat this evening. Pennington elected to choose a side. Not surprisingly the long ball won out. "I'll take the homer," Pennington said laughing. "The double play we've been working at it and trying to get better at it."

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.