OAKLAND -- A's players found out they had a new teammate during the seventh inning of their Monday game against the Minnesota Twins when it was announced over the public address system. Before shortstop Adam Rosales stepped to the plate it was announced over the in-stadium speakers that Stephen Drew had been acquired by the Oakland Athletics from the Diamondbacks for Single-A infielder Sean Jamieson. Rosales popped out. This season A's shortstops are hitting an MLB-worst .187. Oakland had been actively trying to upgrade at the shortstop position. They finally got their man. Drew will be reporting to the A's on Tuesday and a corresponding roster move will be made prior to the game. "We've been looking for a few weeks since before the deadline to see if there was a chance to get this team some added help," A's assistant general manager David Forst said. "It worked out with the Diamondbacks because Stephen Drew was available." How much of an upgrade Drew actually is remains a huge question. Drew, 29, is batting .069 (2 for 29) in his last nine games. He is batting .193 in 40 games this season after returning from a fractured ankle sustained on July 20, 2011. He missed a total of 137 games with the injury."At times and certainly before his injury he was a pretty good offensive player," Forst said. "He's shown that occasionally since he's been back this year. Hopefully coming here gives him a little added boost and gives us a boost as well."Drew is a career .266 hitter with 72 home runs and 333 RBIs in 773 games. He has a .328 career on-base percentage. His best year was in 2008 when he batted .291 with 44 doubles, 11 triples, 21 homers, and 67 RBIs. He was named the Diamondbacks player of the year that season. His manager at the time was Bob Melvin. Melvin managed Arizona from 2005-2009. He didn't want to talk much about the addition of Drew after the team's 7-2 loss to the Twins. "I think in fairness to everyone in the clubhouse I'd prefer not to get into it too much," Melvin said. "I do know Stephen. He is a good player, he will be a good fit here and lets just kind of leave it at that."The A's had scouts watching Drew before and after the trade deadline. Forst says they feel good about what they know about Drew because Melvin and bench coach Chip Hale have a history with him. "Anytime you are trading for a player that you don't know it helps when you've had somebody that's been around him." Forst said. "He's struggled a little bit as of late, but we think that player is still in there."The A's will eat the remainder of Drew's 2012 salary. He has a mutual option for 2013 worth 10 million dollars and a 1.35 M opt-out clause. Forst says they will see how he performs for the remainder of the season before making any determinations about if they want to keep their new shortstop around in 2013. The timing of the move to acquire Drew came as a surprise to the A's players. Especially to the team's longest tenured shortstop Cliff Pennington. "He plays the same position, so I guess we'll see what happens," Pennington said. Pennington was reinstated from the disabled list on August 7. He is batting .207 in nine games since his return. The addition of Drew sends a message that the A's are attempting to upgrade. "Hopefully he is a guy that comes in and fits in well and helps us win," A's starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy said. "But I think we are past the point of needing a spark. We just need to keep playing well.""I guess they are trying to make a push," second baseman Jemile Weeks said. "They're trying to improve where they feel they need to improve."The way the move was announced and that it happened at this late stage of the season may caught the players slightly off guard, but they understand that baseball is a business.."It's like anything where there's a new person coming in," McCarthy said. "Something has to happen to somebody you know and like. That's never a fun thing. That's why you hope someone comes in and plays well right away and you sort of smooth that transition." The A's shortstop position has been a revolving door this season. They have started Pennington, Rosales, Eric Sogard, and Brandon Hicks at that position. Weeks has had to adjust to a lot of double play partners. He says he is ready to adjust to one more. "He's a good player," Weeks said. "If he comes along and fits in and helps us win we are all for it."
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.
Matt Holliday spent the first half of the 2009 season in Oakland.
Apparently, he has no desire to return.
In his one-year, $13 million contract with the Yankees that was finalized on Wednesday, Holliday has a limited no-trade clause that protects him from being traded to only the A's, according to SB Nation.
Holliday was acquired by the A's following the 2008 season for Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street and Greg Smith.
But he only played in 93 games with the A's before they dealt him to St. Louis for Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortensen and Shane Peterson.
The 37-year-old spent the last seven full seasons with the Cardinals.
Interesting wrinkle in Matt Holliday's deal with Yankees. Contract allows him to block trades to one team: Oakland Athletics.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) December 7, 2016