A's react to the addition of Stephen Drew

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A's react to the addition of Stephen Drew

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."

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.