Fun returns after Colon's eight shutout innings


Fun returns after Colon's eight shutout innings


OAKLAND -- When people are concerned over a two-game losing streak, you know you are playing well. After losing both post-trade deadline games, naturally the fan base and the media started trying to make a connection. The A's just ignore all that and try to go out and have fun. Nothing is more fun, apparently, than eight shutout innings from Bartolo Colon, who carved through the Blue Jays lineup like a succulent Thanksgiving turkey as the A's won the game 4-1. The crafty veteran's simplified approach and laid back demeanor have become stabilizing forces in the A's starting rotation. Oakland made a lot of moves this offseason, but signing Colon, who is in the twilight of his career, to a one-year deal might have been the most underrated one. "At this point in his career he is kind of smelling the roses a little bit and kind of enjoying the ride," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I think at this point and time he is just having as much fan as he's ever had in his career. I think that rubs off on our younger guys and has a big affect on them."Whether Colon is pitching or not, he always carries himself the same way. He is very consistent on and off the mound. Colon is 2-1 with a 2.14 ERA in his last six starts, and has walked one batter or less in his last seven. "There's nothing different," Colon said through interpreter Ariel Prieto. "I try to do the same thing every time I pitch. Just throw strikes." The A's rewarded their starting pitcher's strong effort with some much needed run support. The hits that did the most damage came from two hitters that were a combined 0-for-39 entering the day. Seth Smith who was stuck in an 0-for-18 slump drove in the first run with an RBI single. Josh Reddick who was in a career-worst 0-for-21 skid singled in his first at-bat, then cracked his 23rd homer deep to right field to give the A's a 3-0 lead in his next trip to the plate. "I know for the psyche that's big for him because he really hasn't been through a prolonged struggle this year at all," Melvin said of Reddick. "You could almost just see his spirits lift after he got the hit, and he put the best swing we've seen in a while on the home run."Reddick's homer was the A's 115th of the season -- matching their 2011 home run total. Some fatherly wisdom might have lead to the blast. "I went home last night had a long talk with Dad it seemed to work out," Reddick said. "I am glad he is here and that he was able to help. He said just be myself. His favorite line between him and my mother is, 'Be the kid in the backyard.' That's one thing that they preach about."The A's added a fourth run when Brandon Inge hit a bases loaded single in the seventh inning. His hit extended his hitting streak to an Oakland season-high 12 games. The A's win may have come at a cost though. Smith left the game after straining his left hamstring in the fifth inning. He will undergo an MRI on Friday. He said after the game that his hamstring was stiff and sore.NEWS: Smith to have MRI Friday
NOTES:- The A's will make a roster move prior to Friday's game because starting pitcher Dan Straily will be making his MLB debut. Straily leads all of professional baseball with 175 strikeouts and spent time before the game discussing his tough road to the majors in a one-on-one interview with me here. - Maybe Moneyball is back. Yoenis Cespedes drew a career-high three walks and Chris Carter who entered the game as a replacement for Smith drew his 15th walk since the All-Star break which is the second most in MLB in that span. - Cliff Pennington is expected to begin a rehab assignment in Sacramento with the River Cats on Friday.

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.