morning afternoon, Athletics Nation!
The Oakland A’s finally made some news last week. Within five days, they traded for a reliever, got named in a couple other rumors, settled the salaries of a half-dozen arbitration-eligible players, and officially signed an international top prospect who had been linked to them for over a year. When it rains, it pours.
Meanwhile, MLB Network began their annual “Top 10 Players Right Now” series, in which they rank the Top 10 at each individual position. They’ve only done a few of the lists so far, and already a couple of A’s have shown up.
Among catchers, Sean Murphy ranks fifth.
- J.T. Realmuto, free agent
- Yasmani Grandal, CWS
- Will Smith, LAD
- Willson Contreras, CHC
- Sean Murphy, OAK
- Austin Nola, SD
- Salvador Perez, KC
- Travis d’Arnaud, ATL
- Mitch Garver, MIN
- James McCann, NYM
The center field list includes Ramon Laureano at seventh.
- Mike Trout, LAA
- Cody Bellinger, LAD
- George Springer, free agent
- Alex Verdugo, BOS
- Brandon Nimmo, NYM
- Kyle Lewis, SEA
- Ramón Laureano, OAK
- Trent Grisham, SD
- Starling Marte, MIA
- Byron Buxton, MIN
There aren’t any current A’s among the relievers, but only because Liam Hendriks became a free agent and signed with the White Sox. There’s another familiar name in the second spot on the list too.
- Liam Hendriks, CWS
- Drew Pomeranz, SD
- Devin Williams, MIL
- Nick Anderson, TB
- James Karinchak, CLE
- Brad Hand, free agent
- Aroldis Chapman, NYY
- Aaron Bummer, CWS
- Tyler Duffey, MIN
- Josh Hader, MIL
Sure, Hendriks isn’t on the A’s anymore, but he’s on this list because of the work he did wearing green and gold. If there’s one thing I’m excited about in 2021, it’s finding out which random name will rise from Oakland’s remaining unheralded group to become the next chart-topper on a future version of this list. The A’s do this over and over and over at the closer role, and it’s going to happen again sooner than later.
As for the others, it’s not taking the national media long to figure out what the Athletics Nation community already knew about Murphy, that he’s quickly becoming one of the best backstops in the league. There’s only one AL name ahead of him, or two depending where Realmuto ends up signing. “[Murphy] has all of the makings to be the top catcher in the game of baseball in the near future,” said MLBN analyst and former catcher Dave Valle.
In CF, you might nitpick by a spot or two, but Laureano is generally where he belongs somewhere in the middle of that list. In particular I wouldn’t put Verdugo that high yet, and I’d probably ask him to play a full MLB season in CF before being on a CF list at all, but overall Laser didn’t get snubbed nor overrated.
The rest of the positions will be announced over the next three weeks, beginning with LF and 1B early next week. The A’s don’t have any current LF candidates, but surely Matt Olson will be mentioned among first basemen.
- Bleav podcast: Host Ben Ross joined by sports agent Oscar Suarez, whose clients include Joakim Soria
- AN: A’s officially sign Pedro Pineda, 11 other international prospects
- AN: A’s agree to terms with all remaining arbitration-eligible players for 2021
- AN: A’s acquire Nik Turley from Pirates
- AN: Does Andrew Benintendi make sense as A’s trade target?
MLB News & Interest
- Nightengale: MLB rule changes: League still discussing universal DH and expanded playoffs for 2021 season
- MLBTR: Players Avoiding Arbitration, 1/15/21
- MLBTR: Notable International Signings, 1/15/21
- Today in Baseball History
Best of Twitter
We’ll miss you, HercuLiam!
Liam Hendriks posted a thank you note to Oakland— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) January 15, 2021
[via IG/hendriks_31] pic.twitter.com/aeSA2OspOV
Old friend joins the enemy
Angels in agreement with free-agent catcher Kurt Suzuki on one-year, $1.5M contract, source tells The Athletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 15, 2021
... And Soria could be the next former Athletic to join a division rival
Sources: Free agent Joakim Soria, 36, has drawn interest from AL West teams, including the A’s, Astros, Rangers and Angels. He appeared in 22 games for Oakland last year and is coming off his best ERA+ in a season since 2015. @MLB @MLBNetwork @MLB_Mexico @MexicoBeis— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 13, 2021
Biggest free agent contract of the winter so far, keeping an MVP candidate in New York
Second baseman DJ LeMahieu and the New York Yankees are finalizing a six-year, $90M contract, sources familiar with the agreement tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 15, 2021
LeMahieu’s return to New York always felt inevitable. It took a while. But he wanted to be there and Yankees get top free agent target.
A cheap starting pitcher comes off the board
Wood deal is for $3 million with potential for another $3 million in incentives tied to games in which he records 10 or more outs - $125,000 each up to 12 and 14, $250,000 for 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24, and $500,000 each for 26, 28 and 30, per Giants https://t.co/vCbRPBR7PN— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) January 15, 2021
... Alternatively, this is what a modest buy-low gamble looks like for the Yankees
Kluber is signing a one-year,— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 16, 2021
$11 million contract with the #Yankees
The updated A’s farm system
There’s always room on AN for Dunshee content
He isn't as tall, but he has a similar profile to Justin Duchscherer. Could see him having a similar (but hopefully healthier) career.— Melissa Lockard (@melissalockard) January 12, 2021