morning afternoon, Athletics Nation!
The 2021 MLB season has begun! The Oakland A’s lost their first game, but at least it happened and fans were in attendance to see it.
The new cycle is heating up quickly, so let’s get started!
The New York Mets signed shortstop Francisco Lindor to a contract extension on Wednesday, and it’s historic. The 10-year, $341 million deal is the third-largest in MLB history in terms of total guaranteed dollars, although it does have a small percentage deferred. MLB Trade Rumors has more details on the full terms.
- $365 million, Mookie Betts, 12 years (LAD)
- $360 million, Mike Trout, 10 years (LAA)
- $341 million, Francisco Lindor, 10 years (NYM)
- $340 million, Fernando Tatis Jr, 14 years (SDP)
- $330 million, Bryce Harper, 13 years (PHI)
Lindor narrowly edges out the total dollars guaranteed to Tatis in February, though Lindor’s will come in a much shorter duration since he was closer to free agency. Plus, Lindor was already due $22 million this season, and the new deal doesn’t kick in until 2022, so he has more like 11 years and $363 million committed to him from this day forward.
One record Lindor does set is the most dollars committed by a team he hadn’t yet played a game for, beating Harper’s free agent pact with the Phillies. Lindor was acquired from Cleveland over the offseason, and he still hasn’t made his Mets debut, as their opening series against the Nationals was postponed (see MLB News section below).
The shortstop market is going to be loaded next winter, even with Lindor off the board already. Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Javier Baez, and Trevor Story are still set to become free agents, as is Marcus Semien if a team wants to move him back over from his 2B assignment this year in Toronto.
But wait! There’s one more extension relevant to A’s fans, as the division rival Angels locked up one of their better players. Second baseman David Fletcher signed a 5yr/$26m deal with club options that could make it 7yr/$41m, reports Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic. The five-year guarantee takes him through all of arbitration and what would have been his first year of free agency (2025, age 31).
So, congrats, Athletics Nation. We get to watch Fletcher go 5-for-4 with eight doubles in every game against the Halos for the next half-decade.
MLB moves All-Star Game
The All-Star Game was set to be held in the Atlanta Braves’ new stadium this summer, but MLB announced Friday that they’ll move it to another location. Per a league press release:
Major League Baseball announced on Friday that it will relocate the 2021 All-Star Game and MLB Draft, originally scheduled to take place in Atlanta, to a to-be-determined location.
The decision comes a little more than a week after the passage of S.B. 202, a Georgia law that President Joe Biden criticized earlier this week, saying that it will restrict voting access for residents of the state.
Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement that the decision to move the All-Star Game was “the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport” and was made after consultation with teams, former and current players, the MLB Players Association and The Players Alliance, among others.
“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,” Manfred said. “In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States. We proudly used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.”
The Braves aren’t happy about the decision.
The Braves statement regarding the moving of the MLB All-Star Game: pic.twitter.com/0Iapm3eIre— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) April 2, 2021
Source of the boycott
Just got off the phone with MLB/MLBPA sources who all confirmed the same thing: MLB’s decision to move was the result of corporate sponsor pressure. It was NOT the result of a player-threatened boycott. The players did not even vote on the issue.— Full Dissident (@hbryant42) April 2, 2021
Remains to be seen where the ASG will be moved to
Leaving Georgia was ultimately MLB’s call. Commissioner Rob Manfred had the power to make the decision to unilaterally move the 2021 All-Star Game. It did not require the players' union approval. The same is true in choosing the city the game will now move to— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) April 2, 2021
- Gallegos: Ka’ai Tom’s journey from Hawaii to A’s opener
- Gallegos: Chapman: ‘We’re expecting to win division’
- Coffey: A’s season preview: 5 storylines to watch in 2021, from Elvis Andrus’ and Jed Lowrie’s durability to A.J. Puk’s future ($$$)
- Wernikoff: Benching COVID: Baseball fans return to California stadiums
- Kawahara: Steve Vucinich, A’s equipment manager, to retire next March after 54 seasons with team
Longtime A's equipment manager Steve Vucinich announces on A's Cast that he will be retiring after spring training in 2022. This 2021 season will be his 54th and his last with the club.— Alex Coffey (@byalexcoffey) April 1, 2021
- Why the A’s might be even better in 2021 than they were last year
- A’s announce 2021 Opening Day roster
- Chad Pinder, 2021 breakout candidate
- A’s second base search ended exactly where it began
- A’s add Reymin Guduan to 40-man roster, DFA Skye Bolt
- Cole Irvin gets A’s fifth starter spot; Daulton Jefferies and A.J. Puk optioned to Triple-A
- AL West offseason roundup: Every move by all 5 teams entering 2021
- Nelson: Centerfield of Dreams
The universe continues to have it out for Murphy, soon after recovering from a collapsed lung
#Athletics say Sean Murphy was scratched from the lineup with a right wrist contusion. He was hit with a pitch late in last night's game. Aramis Garcia will catch tonight.— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) April 2, 2021
Rosenthal latest update
Bob Melvin says Trevor Rosenthal was having "right shoulder fatigue ... It just wasn't bouncing back for him very well after his outings." Not sure on timetable. Diekman in the mix to close for now but A's could play matchups in the 9th. #Athletics— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) April 1, 2021
Melvin is "very optimistic" that Fiers will be back sooner rather than later. They're still targeting sometime in April, not sure when yet, but he will get more outings at the alt site. They hope to get him up to 80/90 pitches there before he returns.— Alex Coffey (@byalexcoffey) April 1, 2021
And Frankie sounds good to go!
Frankie Montas (cuticle tear) is on track to pitch Monday. Melvin said Montas "threw great" in sim game yesterday and "our hitters were raving about him."— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) April 1, 2021
MLB News & Interest
- Reddington: Nationals & Mets’ season-opening series postponed due to Nats’ positive COVID tests
- Reddington: Nationals have four positive COVID tests; nine players in quarantine overall following contact tracing
- Stark: Weird and Wild, Opening Day edition ($$$)
- Drellich: MLB’s latest rules to prevent sign-stealing make cheating tougher, but hardly impossible ($$$)
- Today in Baseball History
- Game #1: A’s quiet in Opening Day loss to Astros, but fans loud
- Chad Pinder steals Opening Day show with two run-saving catches
Elvis Andrus, first plate appearance for the A’s (to be fair, it later ended with him hitting a double)
Wait... a walk isn't three balls?? pic.twitter.com/B53xSREf5w— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) April 2, 2021
Pinder, 2021 breakout candidate
19,909th player in MLB history: Ka'ai Tom— Céspedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) April 2, 2021
- same HS in HI as Benny Agbayani, Tua Tagovailoa
- NJCAA All-American at Fort Scott Community College (KS) in '13, then transferred to Kentucky
- 5th round pick by CLE in '15
- .912 OPS across AA/AAA in '19
- Rule 5 pick in Dec. '20 pic.twitter.com/8cW3qUjsDf
Hall of Famer
I’ll sign it
Petition to put this in the Louvre. pic.twitter.com/bKrBSgwrd5— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) April 1, 2021
The A’s make this list once!
First MLB Home Run of the year (last 10):— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) April 1, 2021
2012: Dustin Ackley
2013: Rick Ankiel
2014: Scott Van Slyke
2015: JD Martinez
2016: Troy Tulowitzki
2017: Evan Longoria
2018: Ian Happ
2019: Stephen Piscotty
2020: Giancarlo Stanton
2021: Miguel Cabrera
Finally a Bieber who doesn’t suck
Shane Bieber last year: 14 K on Opening Day— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) April 1, 2021
This year: 12 K on Opening Day
Pitchers with multiple 12+ strikeout Opening Day games, Modern Era (since 1900):
...with 2 each!
And in the postseason, there was Robin Ventura
Most recent Rule 7.08(h), Out of the Park Singles:— Ryan M. Spaeder (@theaceofspaeder) April 1, 2021
April 1, 2020 - Cody Bellinger
April 14, 2018 - Devan Marrero
May 9, 2016 - J.T. Realmuto
April 16, 2006 - Javy Lopez
July 6, 2002 - Michael Tucker
April 29, 1985 - Bobby Meacham
May 14, 1982 - Lee Lacypic.twitter.com/sKqzRwKbAK
AN will always love you, Marcus!
Hope JD is OK
Josh Donaldson was removed with a tight right hamstring. #MNTwins— danhayesmlb (@DanHayesMLB) April 1, 2021
How bad was umpire Brian Gorman last night? Here's Bassitt vs Brantley (1st inn) & vs Maldonado (5th). Blue dots called Balls. Orange called strikes.— Alex Hall (@AlexHallAN) April 2, 2021
Up in zone to Brantley (6'2") didn't get Strike 3.
Bottom zone to Maldo (6'0") didn't get Strike 3.
But 6" off plate? Strike! pic.twitter.com/j6tv3Tndbq
Best of Twitter
Dallas has a Rollie Fingers tattoo, so now somebody else needs to get a tat of this fan to keep the chain going
Last night didn’t have the ending we wanted but it had fans in the stands & that’s what we ALL wanted. They say, you can go to the ballpark everyday and see something you’ve never seen before. This was one hell of a surprise. Please know the love is mutual A’s fans! @Athletics pic.twitter.com/yRZDVI7lt5— Dallas Braden (@DALLASBRADEN209) April 2, 2021
Jesús Luzardo echoed Matt Chapman's comments from yesterday about belief in the strength of this A's team. On Chapman's statement: "Just having that confidence that one of our big guys, our heavyweights, thinks that, it’s kind of we all fall in line."— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) April 1, 2021
Good summary of the 2021 A’s
2021 A's vs. 2020 A's— Athletics Farm (@AthleticsFarm) March 31, 2021
Rosenthal vs. Hendriks
Romo vs. Soria
Kolarek vs. McFarland
Andrus vs. Semien
Lowrie vs. La Stella
Moreland vs. Davis
Tom vs. Grossman
Garcia vs. Heim
As it should be, for a manager who has more than proven himself
A's GM David Forst said that he and Bob Melvin talked about his contract this offseason (his contract is through 2021, with a club option for 2022) and said that the club option is "more a function of what he wants to do rather than what we want. He's earned that right."— Alex Coffey (@byalexcoffey) March 31, 2021
Well then it’s settled, may I suggest a lifetime contract?
Bob Melvin on his 2022 contract option: "I have no desire to go anywhere else. I’m perfectly happy here and my bosses have taken good care of me here." #Athletics— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) April 2, 2021
Bummer news for a former A’s prospect
Angels placed Franklin Barreto on the 60-day IL and DFA’d Kyle Keller to clear spots for Rojas and Lagares. Felix Peña to 10-day IL.— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) April 1, 2021