A's lose heavyweight matchup with Yankees

773620.jpg

A's lose heavyweight matchup with Yankees

BOX SCORE

Things are trending downward for the Oakland A's. They have lost a season-high four straight games, and Bartolo Colon who looked like a steal after starting the season 3-1, has gone 1-4 since. The A's struggles couldn't come at a worse time. The Yankees' 9-2 victory means they have won 12 of their last 13 games at the Oakland Coliseum. "I am just pitching the same way I did at the beginning of the season," Colon said. "The difference is that I throw a lot of strikes and sometimes they take advantage of that."Colon, allowed six earned runs in six innings of work. He gave up nine hits, two of which were home runs. He was out-dueled by another former Cy Young Award winner in C.C. Sabathia, who allowed two runs over seven innings of work. "I think different lineups are a lot more difficult to navigate through," Melvin said. "And this one is one of them." Saturday's game played out a lot like Friday's game. In both contests a defensive lapse prolonged an inning that ended up resulting in a big hit by Mark Teixeira. On Saturday, Teixeira's big hit came in the form of a two-out, two-RBI single in the fifth inning.Teixeira never would have stepped to the plate that inning if it wasn't for a Derek Jeter bunt attempt that was botched by the A's. When Jeter bunted, both Colon and first baseman Adam Rosales went for the ball. Colon fielded the ball cleanly, but no one was at first base to take the throw. Instead of being out at first, Jeter recorded his 3,154th hit, which tied him with George Brett for 14th on Major League Baseball's all-time hit list."Adam Rosales probably breaks a little early," Melvin said. "You have got to have a little bit of a read. In his defense, he hasn't played that much first base." Rosales has only played in eight games in the past two seasons for the A's. Later in the inning, Alex Rodriguez hit a sacrifice fly that would have been the third out of the inning. Next, Robinson Cano doubled and Mark Teixeira hit the aforementioned two-run single.Much like Friday's game, Reddick hit a solo homer. It was his 13th of the season, and he has nine home runs in the Month of May -- the best month by an Athletic since Frank Thomas hit 10 in September of 2006. Unfortunately for the A's offense, Reddick seems to be the only hitter providing consistent production at the plate."Everybody would like to have guys on base, but I wouldn't say frustrating is the word," Reddick said. "I am happy I am swinging the bat the way I am. It's just unfortunate we're not winning the games. So hopefully I can stay consistent like this until these guys get fired up, and we can do some damage."Help could be on the way for the A's offense. Brandon Inge, Yoenis Cespedes, and Manny Ramirez could all join the team on the upcoming road road trip. Before they hit the road the A's will have to try and find away to beat the Yankees at the Coliseum in the series finale. Something they haven't been able to do since 2010. NOTES: In the eighth inning, Monday's probable starting pitcher Graham Godfrey entered the game in relief. He pitched two innings, allowing three runs, two of which were earned. Godfrey plunked Derek Jeter in the shoulder with the bases loaded, and gave up a two-run homer to Mark Teixeira, who also hit a home run in the fourth inning. Godfrey injured the middle finger of his pitching hand prior to his last start. He threw a bullpen session before the game.After the game, Bob Melvin announced that left-handed pitcher Travis Blackley will start the game on Monday against the Twins.

A's holiday shopping focuses on a center fielder

A's holiday shopping focuses on a center fielder

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The A’s didn’t add any players during the four-day winter meetings, but they did wave goodbye to one.

Minor league right-hander Dylan Covey was scooped up by the Chicago White Sox in Thursday’s Rule 5 draft. The Sox pay the A’s $50,000 for his rights, and he must either remain on their 25-man roster for the entire 2017 season or be offered back to Oakland for $25,000.

The 25-year-old Covey, ranked the A’s No. 20 prospect by mlb.com, was an Arizona Fall League standout this offseason after working his way back from an oblique injury that wiped out most of his 2016 season.

“We’ll see what happens,” A’s general manager David Forst said. “He certainly was as deserving as anybody of being protected (on the A’s 40-man roster), we just ran out of spots. Good for him to get this opportunity.”

As for ways Oakland might supplement its own roster, that task continues.

The A’s held plenty of discussions over four days spent at the sprawling Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, but those talks didn’t bear fruit in their search for a center fielder. They had trade dialogue with the Kansas City Royals regarding Jarrod Dyson, a blazing runner and potential leadoff man, but couldn’t find common ground.

As the holidays approach, the A’s will continue to scan the free agent market and explore trade opportunities.

“My guess is there are plenty of things we talked about this week that have legs, and those conversations will continue over the next few weeks,” Forst said. “We’ve got two months until pitchers and catchers report, four months until the season. We’re not the only ones leaving here without actually consummating something.”

The Orioles are another team reportedly trying to pry Dyson from the Royals. Another center fielder mentioned as being available is Reds speedster Billy Hamilton, although reports suggest Cincinnati isn’t in a rush to move him.

Dexter Fowler is the best free agent center fielder still on the market, although Austin Jackson and Rajai Davis seem to fall more in the A’s price range.

Forst was asked how much urgency there is to the center field search.

“I’m not confident they’re gonna be there all winter, there’s only a certain number of guys,” he said. “We’re not going to risk anything to jump out (and do something) we wouldn’t otherwise do. But we think we’re being diligent.

“We cast a wide net, and we continue to. We have to keep doing that just to make sure — free agents, trades, different kinds of players, platoons, whatever. I think we have to keep our toes in every option.”

As for other areas the A’s can improve, they may look to add a veteran starting pitcher. Just speculation, but Doug Fister is one free agent whose price tag figures to be reasonable, and he’s a Northern California native. However, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the A’s simply invited a veteran to camp on a minor league contract to see if they can find a diamond in the rough, or at least someone to provide competition.

A’s executive VP of baseball operations Billy Beane mentioned second base as an area of concern because of injury issues (Jed Lowrie) and inexperience (Joey Wendle, Chad Pinder), but it’s very possible the A’s stick with their in-house options.
 

Notes: A's likely to leave winter meetings with unfinished business

Notes: A's likely to leave winter meetings with unfinished business

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — A’s general manager David Forst flies home Thursday afternoon, and unless there’s a drastic change in the final stages of the winter meetings, he’ll still be searching for a center fielder.

Wednesday’s events included some discussion between Oakland and other parties, but no concrete progress toward landing a center fielder. That’s despite the late-breaking news Tuesday that the A’s and Royals were talking trade for fleet-footed Kansas City outfielder Jarrod Dyson.

“It’s a two-way street with a free agent or a team, a function of the other side’s pace,” Forst said. “It’s unlikely (they complete a deal at the meetings), and not for lack of conversations or lack of ideas. Just things move at different speeds.”

It doesn’t necessarily mean the chance of landing Dyson is done. Forst pointed out talks which transpire at the winter meetings sometimes materialize into a deal down the road. But it’s also worth noting that the Baltimore Orioles are pursuing Dyson too. FanRag’s Jon Heyman reported that Baltimore and Kansas City have discussed him.

Therefore, consider the A’s as players in the free agent as well as trade markets.

“We’ve cast a wide net,” Forst said.

Two free agent center fielders came off the board Wednesday as the Rockies agreed to a five-year $70 million contract with Ian Desmond and the Rangers re-signed Carlos Gomez to a one-year $11.5 million deal. Desmond was assumed to be out of the A’s price range, but Gomez was thought to be a realistic target. He opted to return to Texas, which needed to do some outfield re-stocking after losing Desmond and Carlos Beltran, who like Gomez was an in-season acquisition for the Rangers in 2016.

The three most enticing free agents left now at the position appear to be Dexter Fowler — like Desmond, expected to command a pricey multi-year deal — former Athletic Rajai Davis and Austin Jackson.

As for other needs, the A’s would add a veteran starting pitcher at the right price and could look to upgrade at second base, though neither of those is as high a priority as landing someone to anchor the middle of their outfield.

**

Manager Bob Melvin addressed reporters at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. Though A’s top baseball official Billy Beane said Tuesday the organizational focus was on the future, aiming for a strong team to be in place by the time the A’s potentially move into a new ballpark, Melvin’s attention is solely on the upcoming season.

“In 2012, we had I don't know how many rookies on that team. It was all rookie starters, and we ended up winning the division,” Melvin said. “Once you start the season, the focus is all about winning.”

**

Should the A’s not bring in a center fielder who can also lead off, the first in-house candidate Melvin mentioned as perhaps hitting atop the order was Joey Wendle. He gave a nice showing of himself in a September call-up and hit leadoff for a stretch, but there’s no guarantee that Wendle even starts at second base next season, especially if veteran Jed Lowrie is healthy after foot surgery.

**

Former Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale has rejoined Oakland’s staff as Melvin’s third-base coach, and Melvin has plenty of confidence that Hale will capably fill Ron Washington’s shoes as the infield instructor. Washington was popular with A’s infielders and had particular success working with shortstop Marcus Semien.

Hale served as Melvin’s bench coach before getting hired by Arizona before the 2015 season.

“Obviously we've talked a lot about Wash and what he's meant to some of these younger guys,” Melvin said. “We feel like if anybody can replace Wash, it's Chip Hale.”

**

Forst said John Axford will pitch for Canada in the World Baseball Classic. Fellow reliever Liam Hendriks has not yet committed to Team Australia.

**

Right-hander Chris Bassitt, who underwent Tommy John surgery in May, was examined by A’s head trainer Nick Paparesta on Wednesday and his recovery is going very well. He’s between throwing programs right now. Forst added that lefty Felix Doubront is also coming back well from the same procedure.