A 40-homer regular, A’s Davis has Olson, Chapman to help
OAKLAND, Calif. — Khris Davis led the majors with 48 home runs, led the Oakland Athletics back to the playoffs for the first time in four years, then received a $6 million raise this offseason for a 2019 salary of $16.5 million.
Next up could be a long-term extension, if that is Davis’ top priority. It might not be. He put personal accolades aside last season, more determined to get his team to the playoffs for the first time since 2014.
Davis is the top slugger in a power-hitting lineup that surprised much of baseball with a run to the AL wild-card game and a loss to the Yankees.
“We never put sort of guidelines or deadlines on something like that,” general manager David Forst said. “We have continued that conversation, and certainly through spring training, we’re open to it. It’s open to the player if they want to continue into the season, but it continues to be an ongoing conversation.”
Davis, 31, set a career high with 123 RBIs and joined Jimmie Foxx (1932-34) as the only players in A’s history with three straight 40-homer seasons. Davis’ 85 homers in 2017-18 were second during that two-year span only to Giancarlo Stanton’s 86.
As Oakland tries to build off a 97-win season, here are some things to watch for this spring with the A’s, who open March 20-21 against the Mariners in Tokyo:
Kyler Murray: The A’s still expect Heisman Trophy the former Oklahoma quarterback and first-round Oakland draft pick to show up at spring training. He would report right away to big league camp, too.
While Murray declared for the NFL draft, Melvin hopes to manage him in Arizona.
Drafted last June with the ninth overall pick, the outfielder signed with Oakland for a $4.66 million bonus, of which $1.5 million was paid last summer. The remaining $3.16 million is due March 1.
Pitchers’ progress: Oakland re-signed righthander Mike Fiers to a $14.1 million, two-year contract in December, then added righty Marco Estrada in January for $4 million over one year. Those two give the A’s a pair of veteran front-line starters in a rotation that remains thin as others recover from injury.
Lefthander Sean Manaea pitched a nohitter against Boston on April 21 in a bright start to a season that ended with the ace’s undergoing shoulder surgery in September. He is expected to be out until around the All-Star break.
Jharel Cotton had Tommy John surgery in March, followed by three others who also underwent the elbow ligament replacement procedure: opening-day starter Kendall Graveman, Daniel Gossett and top prospect A.J. Puk.
They’re set: A pair of powerful Matts complement Davis’ big bat. Third baseman Matt Chapman is coming back from left shoulder surgery in December, hoping to find the stroke that led to 24 home runs, six triples and 68 RBIs in his first full big league season. Matt Olson, meanwhile, played all 162 games for Oakland and hit .247 with 29 homers and 84 RBIs.
Khris Davis last year had an MLB-best 48 homers and career-high 123 RBIs.