A's lineup: Carter getting extended look?

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A's lineup: Carter getting extended look?

Oakland Athletics (37-41) lineupCoco Crisp, CF
Jemile Weeks, 2B
Josh Reddick, RF
Yoenis Cespedes, DH
Jonny Gomes, LF
Chris Carter, 1B
Brandon Inge, 3B
Brandon Hicks, SS
Kurt Suzuki, C
Instant AnalysisChris Carter remains in the lineup, playing first base. I had a chance to catch up with his former River Cats coaches who were thrilled to hear that he hit a home run in his first game back in the major leagues. They stressed that the power-hitting first baseman is a different player than he was when he got called up last year. "He's staying on the baseball a lot better, particularly to left field. "River Cats hitting coach Greg Sparks said. "Mostly his power has been to right center, but his power is all over the place. He cut down on strikeouts. I'm really happy for him."Sparks added that Carter has worked very hard to improve his defense and that he believes he has upgraded from a below average fielder to an above average one. "He wants to be there and he wants to stay there," River Cats manager Darren Bush said. "Nothing is given to you. You have to go up there and take it." Carter being in the lineup and playing first base in back-to-back games is a sign that the A's might finally be ready to give the one-time top prospect a chance to prove what he can do in the big leagues.After misreading a ball in left field that ended up being Craig Gentry's game-winning hit, Cespedes returns to being the designated hitter. The A's lineup is stacked with power. It looks like A's manager Bob Melvin is attempting to fight fire with fire against Texas' slugging lineup. The three-through-seven spots in the lineup are all filled by home run hitters. Top of the orderWeeks might be getting healthier after being nagged by a hip injury that slowed him down. He hit his American League-leading fifth triple on Friday. Heart of the orderCespedes had a career-high tying three hits on Thursday, and has been a force for the A's when healthy. He has missed 31 games due to injury, but is still ranked second amongst AL rookies in homers (9) and RBIs (35). He is 5-for-8 with three RBIs and a walk in this series. Manny never made it to the A's lineup, but they have Jonny. Gomes has been effective in left field for the A's, he is also batting .324 (11-for-34) with three homers, three doubles and seven RBIs in 16 games in June. Bottom of the orderBrandon Hicks starts at shortstop instead of Cliff Pennington. Hicks could provide an offensive boost for the A's over Pennington, who is hitting .094 over his last 10 games. Two of Hicks' three hits with the A's are doubles. He hit 13 homers in Triple-A before being recalled one week ago today. Texas Rangers (49-29) lineupIan Kinsler, 2B
Elvis Andrus, SS
Josh Hamilton, LF
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Michael Young, DH
Nelson Cruz, RF
Mike Napoli, 1B
Yorvit Torrealba, C
Craig Gentry, CF

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.

A's media services

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.