Welcome back to The Weekly Bernie! It’s the best dance in the game, so let’s get rolling once more!
- On Sunday, the A’s officially optioned both righty Jesse Hahn and catcher Bruce Maxwell to Triple-A. Hahn gave up seven runs (five earned) over 3.1 innings in his start on Saturday against the Dodgers. He walked two, struck out four, and gave up two home runs. Overall, his spring ERA sat at 8.80 over 15.1 innings pitched. Hahn has been nothing short of frustrating during his time with the Athletics, as his potential is obvious but he lacks any consistency. However, he seems determined and might be just a small adjustment away this time.
- Maxwell was demoted following his best game of the spring, in which he smacked two home runs, raising his slash line for the spring to .282/.364/.513. However, it was very clearly a numbers game with the roster. Maxwell, a left-handed hitter, would have a hard time splitting playing time with All-Star catcher Stephen Vogt, also a lefty. Thus, the 26-year-old will start the season down in Triple-A for more seasoning, but could be one of the first bats called back up. His glove and bat both seem ready and he could be at least an average catcher right now.
- Outfielder Alejandro De Aza, in A’s camp on a minor league deal, is expected to opt out of his deal today, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. This is somewhat surprising, given that De Aza had a decent chance of winning the fifth outfielder spot and making the club. Now, the door is wide open for fellow spring invite Jaff Decker, who will soon be returning from a minor oblique injury.
- In addition, lefty Ross Detwiler opted out of his minor league deal with the A’s, as he was not going to make the team. The 31-year-old posted an ERA over six with the club down the stretch last year, and the team (correctly) sees him as nothing more than a depth arm.
- The A’s rotation, barring injury, appears to be set. The first three spots will be held by Opening Night starter Kendall Graveman, followed by youngsters Sean Manaea and Jharel Cotton. On Sunday, it was announced that the intriguing Andrew Triggs and Raul Alcantara will round out the rotation. The A’s picked up Triggs, 28, off of waivers last spring and he posted very good peripherals both in the rotation and the bullpen. It will be an interesting experiment to see if he succeeds in a full-time role as a starter.
- Alcantara, on the other hand, is out of options and needs to succeed to survive with the A’s. Once one of the A’s top pitching prospects, he needs to either miss more bats or show better control if he wants to succeed at the major league level. It seems to be a competition between the Alcantara and Triggs to see who will get to remain in the rotation when Sonny Gray is ready to come off of the disabled list. Two of the most likely candidates for the remaining bullpen spot are flamethrower Frankie Montas or southpaw Daniel Coulombe.
- The Oakland A’s Spirit Week kicks off today. Events include a mural unveiling, BART takeover, and cap trade-ins throughout the week. For more information, check out the A’s official page here.
- As part of Spirit Week, you can trade in a Giants hat for a new Oakland A’s hat!
- The A’s went 5-3 this past week. Check out all of the recaps here: Arizona; Seattle; White Sox; Milwaukee; White Sox; Cincinnati; Dodgers; Milwaukee.
- This was a very busy week for contract extensions around the MLB. The Tampa Bay Rays locked up star centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier to a six-year, $53.5 million deal with a club option. Kiermaier is arguably the best defensive outfielder on the planet, and even with just a league average bat he can be a star. Turning 27 in April, he has plenty of room to grow as a hitter. Kiermaier, along with pitcher Chris Archer, create an exciting young core for the Rays to be excited about going forward.
- Speaking of young, the Chicago White Sox signed 23-year-old shortstop Tim Anderson to a six-year, $25 million contract. Anderson doesn’t even have a full year of service yet, but the deal does also include two team options valued at $12.5 million and $14 million each. Anderson is not yet a star by any means, but he is a good defensive shortstop with some power and some speed and exciting raw potential going forward - exactly what a rebuilding club like the White Sox should hang onto.
- Also in the AL Central, the Cleveland Indians extended infielder Jose Ramirez to a deal worth $26 million over the next four years, starting in 2018, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. It will also include two club options, valued at $11 million and $13 million respectively. Ramirez, only 24, is a very complete player who enjoyed a very successful 2016. He is defensively versatile, doesn’t strike out much at all, walks a fair amount, and has plenty of power and speed. Cleveland will really enjoy his unique skill set for at least the next four years, if not much longer.
- The Texas Rangers are nearing an extension with second baseman Rougned Odor, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. If completed, the deal will be worth $49.5 million over six years with a club option. Odor, 23, is a sparkplug. The left-handed hitter mashed 33 home runs last season, but only walked 19 times. He isn’t fantastic defensively at second base, but he does have potential and is an all-around talented player with power and speed. He should be a mainstay in the Rangers’ lineup for years to come.
That’s all for this week. Today, Andrew Triggs and the A’s take on Jason Vargas and the Kansas City Royals at 1:05 PM PST. Feel free to dump any links in the comments below. Until next time - lean on, A’s fans!