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#pounditMonday, January 30, 2023

Articles tagged: Oakland A’s

Oakland A’s signing former All-Star slugger

A look at the Oakland Coliseum

Oct 1, 2020; Oakland, California, USA; The video board displays A s win! after the Oakland Athletics win against the Chicago White Sox at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Athletics might not be very good next season, but at least their fans will be able to see a few dingers.

Robert Murray of FanSided reported Tuesday that the A’s have agreed to a free-agent contract with veteran slugger Jesus Aguilar (pending a physical). Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports adds that Aguilar’s deal with Oakland is worth $3 million.

Aguular, 32, was an All-Star with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2018 (a season in which he hit a career-high 35 home runs and 108 RBIs). He also posted a 22-homer, 93-RBI season with the Miami Marlins in 2021. Aguilar’s hitting splits did take a dip last season (with an overall slash line of .235/.281/.379). But he can still provide very good pop for that $3 million price point.

Oakland’s offseason has been largely characterized by an outflow of talent. They recently traded away arguably their best player and also appear to be letting longtime outfielder Chad Pinder walk in free agency. But Aguilar, who is a great troll as well, figures to be a quality addition for the A’s.

Athletics pitcher missed start with extremely bizarre finger injury

A look at the Oakland Coliseum

Oct 1, 2020; Oakland, California, USA; The video board displays A s win! after the Oakland Athletics win against the Chicago White Sox at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Athletics righty James Kaprielian suffered a real “Looney Tunes” moment this week.

Kaprielian, who was supposed to start Friday’s game against the Chicago White Sox, was scratched just hours before the first pitch. The team said that the veteran had suffered a right middle finger laceration.

Oakland manager Mark Kotsay told reporters that Kaprielian suffered the laceration when he extended his arm out while putting on his shirt and accidentally hit a poster on his wall, per Martin Gallegos of MLB.com.

That definitely gives an unfortunate new meaning to the term “posterized.”

The 28-year-old Kaprielian has struggled this season, going 3-9 with a 4.79 ERA in 22 starts for the A’s. Now he can also add the world’s most ill-timed paper cut to his list of woes.

Kaprielian does have some company though. We once saw another pitcher scratched from his start due to a similarly unusual pitching hand injury.

Elvis Andrus calls out Athletics over playing time

Elvis Andrus in his Athletics uniform

Jul 23, 2022; Oakland, California, USA; Oakland Athletics shortstop Elvis Andrus (17) before the game against the Texas Rangers at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports

Veteran shortstop Elvis Andrus is not happy with how the Oakland Athletics are handling his playing time.

Andrus has found himself on the bench much more frequently for Oakland in recent games, with manager Mark Kotsay publicly discussing giving a longer look at young infielder Nick Allen. Andrus admitted he is aware of the team’s plans, but not happy about them.

“They told me about it, but yeah, I’m super surprised,” Andrus said, via Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle. “Everybody knows I’m an everyday player. So doing this, it’s not fun for me. Especially second half, I feel so good, and I was feeling I was going up, and this stop did not help me personally. But as much as I can do right now is stay healthy and stay prepared and be ready for my time.”

There are other possible reasons the Athletics are cutting back on Andrus’ playing time, even if they are unlikely to admit them publicly. The veteran shortstop is in the final guaranteed year of his contract, but would have a player option worth $15 million on the table if he were to reach 550 plate appearances in 2022.

Andrus was at 376 plate appearances entering play Sunday. Oakland, a franchise notorious for penny-pinching, has the lowest payroll in all of Major League Baseball, so one hardly needs to be an expert to realize that the team would probably like to get Andrus’ salary off the books as soon as possible. The A’s won’t say this, and Andrus probably wouldn’t be doing himself many favors by pointing it out, especially since he agreed to the contract in the first place.

Andrus, a former All-Star, is hitting just .237 on the season, though he has a long career as an everyday shortstop to demonstrate his value. He probably hasn’t done much wrong for Oakland other than have a contract they want to get rid of at the end of the season, and it will cost him playing time in the interim.

Cardinals GM zings Oakland A’s after Kyler Murray contract

Kyler Murray in shoulder pads

Oct 24, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) against the Houston Texans in the second half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Even the Arizona Cardinals’ general manager couldn’t help taking a jab at the Oakland A’s.

Kyler Murray and the Cardinals on Thursday announced that they had agreed on a huge five-year, $230.5 million contract extension for the quarterback. The big contract led one reporter to ask Murray whether the two-sport athlete’s once-promising baseball career had ended.

Murray didn’t know how to answer the question, so Keim stepped in and zinged the A’s in the process.

“Did you guys see the Oakland A’s payroll vs. Kyler’s contract? Enough said,” Keim said.

The zinger drew some laughs.

“I’m where I wanna be,” Murray concluded.

Murray’s $230 million deal dwarfs Oakland’s $41.9 million active payroll.

The A’s drafted Murray No. 9 overall in 2018, but the former Oklahoma athlete decided to play pro football instead. Murray became the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. His choice to pursue a football career has paid off not only in strong on-field results for the QB, but also financially.

Meanwhile, the A’s slashed payroll, traded top players, and are struggling to draw fans as they prepare to possibly move. There is little doubt that Murray made the right choice.

Warriors owner interested in purchasing notable MLB team

Joe Lacob smiling

April 28, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob smiles against the Denver Nuggets during the first quarter in game four of the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Lacob is a popular man in the Bay Area due to his stewardship of the Golden State Warriors. If it were up to him, that would not be the only pro sports franchise in the region in his portfolio.

In an interview with John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, Lacob said he made an offer to purchase the Oakland Athletics in 2005. Lacob said he maintains a standing offer to buy the team.

“I had the A’s done,” Lacob said. “It was just taken away from me. You know what, everyone’s confident in their own abilities, obviously. I think we would’ve had a stadium a long time ago if I had bought it. That’s just me.”

Lacob claimed he had a verbal agreement to buy the team for $180 million, but the team instead went to Lew Wolff, who was acquaintances with then-commissioner Bud Selig. Lacob also added that his interest in buying the A’s has not diminished, and he has a “standing offer” on the table if current owner John Fisher is interested in selling.

“I’ve had a standing offer to buy the A’s from John Fisher for I don’t even know how long. Over a decade,” Lacob said. “It’s up to him; it’s his business. It would have been smarter to sell to me a long time ago because we would have been partners, and he would have been able to own a part of the Warriors as well. I tried to tell him that. I would have done a ratio deal.”

Lacob ultimately bought the Warriors in 2010, and has overseen four titles and the construction of a new arena. The A’s, on the other hand, are threatening to leave Oakland without a new stadium. The team has slashed costs on the field. Their 29-57 record entering Sunday is the worst in the league.

From the Warriors’ perspective, Lacob has been a great hands-on owner and has even stirred some things up with rivals. One has to wonder what he could have done with the A’s if given the chance.

Oakland Athletics have world’s saddest concession stand item

Wide shot of RingCentral Coliseum

Oct 1, 2020; Oakland, California, USA; The video board displays A s win! after the Oakland Athletics win against the Chicago White Sox at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Attending an Oakland Athletics game is looking more like punishment than entertainment at this point.

A photo went viral this week of a concession stand item apparently for sale at RingCentral Coliseum, the home of the A’s. An Oakland fan said that the stadium was selling a packet of hot cocoa mix and a cup of hot water for $4 … and you still have to mix it yourself.

That has to be a new low, even for the notoriously dilapidated RingCentral Coliseum. That very same packet of Nestle hot cocoa mix is selling for about 43 cents each right now on Amazon. Meanwhile, the Athletics are selling it (plus a cup of what is presumably hot tap water) for $4. Now if you want a plastic spoon to mix your hot cocoa with, that’s really going to cost you!

The 19-30 A’s, who are exploring a potential relocation to Las Vegas, are struggling with attendance in 2022, posting historically dismal numbers. With gimmicks like this being pulled on the few fans who do attend, it is hard to blame those who want to stay far away.

A’s teammates Elvis Andrus, Chad Pinder had scary collision on fly ball

Chad Pinder and Elvis Andrus collide on a fly ball

Oakland A’s shortstop Elvis Andrus and outfielder Chad Pinder collided with one another on a frightening play during Tuesday’s game against the Detroit Tigers.

Willi Castro hit a flare to shallow left field during the top of the fifth inning, and both Andrus and Pinder tried to make a play on it. The two sprinted full-speed at one another. Pinder dove at the same time Andrus slid, which caused Andrus to inadvertently kick his teammate in the head. You can see the play below:

Fortunately, Pinder and Andrus were both able to stay in the game. Neither appeared to suffer a significant injury.

Oakland Athletics posting some awful attendance numbers

Wide shot of RingCentral Coliseum

Oct 1, 2020; Oakland, California, USA; The video board displays A s win! after the Oakland Athletics win against the Chicago White Sox at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland is not exactly making a strong case for the Athletics to stick around.

The Athletics reported an absolutely abysmal attendance figure for Monday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays at RingCentral Coliseum — a mere 2,488 (out of a possible capacity of 63,132). Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported that the attendance was the smallest crowd at an Athletics game in Oakland since Sept. 9, 1980. It was also the lowest attendance number of any MLB game so far this season.

An image from the stadium showed just how poorly-attended Monday’s game was.

Granted, there are some signs that the local fans are staying away from the games on purpose. Athletics president Dave Kaval was interviewed recently by KTVU and got confronted with the theory that fans were intentionally not attending because (a) the team continues to sell off talent, (b) ticket prices have gone up, and (c) the Athletics are exploring possible relocation. Kaval acknowledged that those were all “fair points.”

You can read Kaval’s full interview, where he touches on several other aspects of the Athletics’ poor attendance and future in Oakland, here.

According to ESPN, the Athletics have been averaging just 8,422 fans at their games this season, which is worst in the league. The Pittsburgh Pirates are the next-worst at a 12,256 average while the Los Angeles Dodgers lead the league with a 49,312 average attendance.

The Athletics are not completely terrible with a record of 10-13 thus far. But they got rid of a lot of talent this past offseason, including their only two All-Stars from 2021. Matt Olson was traded to the Atlanta Braves, and Chris Bassitt was dealt to the New York Mets. Meanwhile, the Athletics also traded Matt Chapman to the Toronto Blue Jays, and let Mark Canha leave for the Mets as well.

Though the Athletics’ lease at RingCentral Coliseum runs through 2024, they are already casing out an interesting potential site for relocation. The Athletics are the last major pro sports team standing in Oakland after the NFL’s Raiders moved to Las Vegas in 2019 and the NBA’s Golden State Warriors moved to nearby San Francisco that same year too. But it seems like only a matter of time before the Athletics dip as well.

Dave Stewart offers update on A’s jersey retirement situation

Dave Stewart looking on

Sep 6, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart reacts during an MLB game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Former Oakland A’s pitcher Dave Stewart expressed frustration with the franchise earlier this week over the status of his jersey retirement ceremony, but it appears the confusion has been cleared up.

The A’s had announced in 2019 that Stewart would have his No. 34 retired during the 2020 season. The ceremony was postponed indefinitely due to the pandemic, but there was no word of a rescheduled ceremony last year. The team’s 2022 promotional schedule makes no mention of a ceremony for Stewart, either. A fan asked Stewart about the plans on Twitter Tuesday, and the former pitcher sounded extremely irritated with the A’s in his response.

That led to a conversation between Stewart and A’s president David Kaval, who assured Stewart that there will be a ceremony.

“He did not tell me when. He just said that they are planning it and they’re looking at dates, and just to expect that the celebration’s going to be top-notch and a very good celebration,” Stewart told Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday. “It’s something that he and (A’s owner John Fisher) want to do, and they want to be sure that it’s done properly and done right.”

Stewart said he did not intend to express frustration in his tweet but was just responding honestly. Kaval praised Stewart in a statement to The Chronicle.

“No one has made a larger impact on our organization than Dave Stewart,” Kaval said. “We are honored to retire his number and excited to celebrate his legacy this season.”

No. 34 is already out of circulation with the A’s, as they retired it for Rollie Fingers in 1993. Stewart had worn the same number prior to it being retired for Fingers.

Stewart was MVP of the World Series in 1989 when Oakland swept the San Francisco Giants. He had four consecutive 20-win seasons for the A’s from 1987-1990. He was clearly irritated with the team over his retirement ceremony, but all is well that ends well.

A’s legend calls out team over jersey retirement confusion

Dave Stewart looking on

The Oakland Athletics appear to have annoyed a franchise legend over the uncertain status of his jersey retirement ceremony.

Former A’s ace Dave Stewart was asked on Twitter Tuesday whether there were any updates on the plans from the team to retire the pitcher’s jersey. The A’s had announced in 2019 that Stewart would have his No. 34 retired, with the ceremony planned for 2020. The ceremony was postponed indefinitely due to the pandemic, but there was no word of a rescheduled ceremony in 2021. Similarly, the team’s 2022 promotional schedule makes no mention of a ceremony for Stewart.

That led a fan to ask Stewart over Twitter if there was an update.

The A’s ace sounded exasperated in his Twitter response, saying he had “no idea” what the team was doing. Stewart seemed so frustrated that he said he didn’t even care if they “just retire the number with no celebration.”

Stewart’s No. 34 is already out of circulation, as the team officially retired it for Rollie Fingers in 1993. Stewart had worn the same number prior to it being retired for Fingers, which prompted the team’s plans to specifically honor Stewart as well.

This isn’t a great look for the A’s. Obviously, the team had little choice but to postpone the initial ceremony. One would think they would have made it a priority to get a new date set up, but evidently that has not happened. Now that Stewart has called them out, perhaps that will catch the team’s attention.

Photo: Sep 6, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart reacts during an MLB game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports