You don't often see a player with a sub-two ERA who throws 94-mph from the left side get released. Unless that player requests the release himself. That's exactly what happened with A's prospect Erick Threets who requested and was granted his release by the A's on Saturday. Threets, 30, had a 1.84 ERA this season in 34 games with the River Cats. He had 31 strikeouts and 19 walks. It is common for players this time of the season to ask for their release in order to latch on with a team that might give them a better chance to make it to the majors.Threets is a native of the Bay Area and attended Granada High School in Livermore before going to Modesto Junior College. He was originally drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 7th round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft. Threets appeared in 10 games for the Giants from 2007-2008, and 11 games with the White Sox in 2010. In the 2010 season he underwent "Tommy John" surgery and missed the entire 2011 season. Teams will now have the option to sign Threets to a minor league contract, much like the A's just did on Friday with reliever Chris Ray, who asked for his release from the Indians organization last week. The A's signing of Ray, who has 51 career saves, should help provide bullpen depth in the absence of Threets and Brian Fuentes -- who was released by the A's and signed by the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.
A’s general manager David Forst says he has a stack of strongly worded letters from fans who grow frustrated with many of the team’s personnel moves.
That comes with the territory of running a major league front office. But Forst also said, during a wide-ranging interview on the latest A’s Insider Podcast, that honest critiquing must come from within office walls.
“You do want to do some self-evaluation and self-assessing,” Forst said. “What I don’t do, I don’t go back and second-guess decisions, whether it’s a trade or a signing. I don’t sort of hypothetically think, ‘Well, what if we hadn’t done this,’ because it’s not a good use of anybody’s time. What you do have to do is make sure the process that led to that decision is sound and a good one.”
Certainly one of the most scrutinized A’s moves of recent history was their signing of designated hitter Billy Butler to a three-year $30 million contract in November 2014. That turned out to be a costly mistake, with Butler being released in September with one year left on his deal and the A’s still on the hook for roughly $10 million. Forst acknowledged how poorly that decision worked out but sticks by the initial motivation to sign Butler.
“Look, Billy Butler didn’t go the way we expected, and that’s one that gets brought up a lot,” Forst said. “But I think back to the time when we made that decision to sign him, and what we were projecting Billy to do. It was very clear what our team needed. Again, going into 2015, coming off the wild card that year, we still felt like this was a team that could compete for a division title. So all the things that went into the decision, ultimately I will stand by.”
Forst spoke frankly about several other topics during the podcast. Regarding fans’ frustration about seeing so many high-profile players traded:
“I’ve got a stack of letters on my desk, the substance of which I can’t repeat on the air,” he said with a smile. “… But there’s passion. And I know we have a fan base that cares, and that’s really a good place to be.”
Forst said the A’s definitely will pursue starting pitching this offseason, despite the fact that 1) he’s very optimistic about the crop of young pitching Oakland has developed, and 2) he believes Sonny Gray will bounce back from a poor 2016 season. The GM takes encouragement that Gray made a full physical recovery from a strained forearm.
“Am I going to get the Cy Young (caliber pitcher) from Day 1? I don’t know. But I think there’s a confidence that this was an aberration, this whole year, more than anything else.”
TORONTO -- A most unlikely pitching performance helped put a most unexpected team into the World Series.
Rookie Ryan Merritt coolly delivered a lead to the Andrew Miller-led bullpen and the Cleveland Indians won their first pennant since 1997, blanking Toronto 3-0 Wednesday in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series.
Cleveland, which has never hosted a World Series opener, will play Game 1 at Progressive Field on Tuesday night against either the Chicago Cubs or Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Indians will try to boost what's already been a magical year in Cleveland after LeBron James and the Cavaliers earned the city's first sports championship since 1964. The Indians' title drought dates to 1948.
The Dodgers led the Cubs 2-1 going into Game 4 of the NLCS on Wednesday night. Cleveland didn't play either team this season.
With all of 11 major league innings under his belt, Merritt took the mound and looked just like a seasoned vet. The 24-year-old lefty retired the first 10 batters and allowed only two hits before being pulled after 4 1/3 innings.
Then it was up to Cleveland's tireless relievers to hold a three-run lead.
Miller again did most of the heavy lifting, pitching 2 2/3 innings, and Cody Allen pitched the ninth for the save. Winner Bryan Shaw worked an inning before Miller came in.
Carlos Santana and Coco Crisp homered for the Indians.