A’s, Gi­ants take ro­ta­tion is­sues into meet­ings

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - SPORTING GREEN - John Shea is The San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle’s na­tional base­ball writer. Email: jshea@sfchron­i­cle. com Twit­ter: @JohnSheaHey

The A’s and Gi­ants don’t have much in com­mon these days. One team won 97 games with a tiny pay­roll, and the other won 73 with a huge pay­roll.

But both need to so­lid­ify their ro­ta­tions and cer­tainly will dis­cuss start­ing pitch­ers at the up­com­ing gen­eral man­ager meet­ings in Carls­bad, just north of San Diego.

With Madi­son Bum­gar­ner a year from free agency, Johnny Cueto com­ing off Tommy John surgery and Jeff Sa­mardz­ija a mys­tery af­ter win­ning one game and post­ing a 6.25 ERA in 10 starts, sud­denly the Gi­ants’ so-called big three is more of an un­known than Dereck Ro­driguez and An­drew Suarez; that is, un­less one of those promis­ing rook­ies is dealt for a hit­ter.

The A’s had no short­age of starters, but most ei­ther de­clared for free agency or are ex­pected to open next sea­son on the dis­abled list, leav­ing few cer­tain­ties for 2019.

GMs will gather Mon­day and en­gage in meet­ings Tues­day, Wed­nes­day and part of Thurs­day. While the A’s are send­ing their top de­ci­sion-

mak­ers, the Gi­ants — who still haven’t hired a base­ball op­er­a­tions chief, mean­ing it’s any­one’s guess which di­rec­tion they’ll go — are send­ing as­sis­tant GM Jeremy Shel­ley to be their front man.

With Clay­ton Ker­shaw tak­ing him­self off the mar­ket by re-up­ping with the Dodgers, the top free-agent starters are Pa­trick Corbin and Dal­las Keuchel. The next tier in­cludes Hyun-Jin Ryu, J.A. Happ, Nathan Eo­valdi and Char­lie Mor­ton, who, like CC Sa­bathia has hinted he’ll re­tire af­ter one more sea­son.

Other names: Gio Gon­za­lez, Ani­bal Sanchez, Matt Har­vey, Lance Lynn, Wade Mi­ley and Derek Hol­land, who could re-sign with the Gi­ants.

While the A’s are deep enough in other ar­eas to fo­cus mostly on the ro­ta­tion, the Gi­ants have sev­eral press­ing needs, not the least of which is re­build­ing the out­field with power bats and solv­ing their late-in­ning re­lief.

⏩ How will the Ker­shaw sign­ing (three years, $93 mil­lion) af­fect Bum­gar­ner? Ker­shaw is 30, the same age Bum­gar­ner will be when he be­comes a free agent a year from now. It would be an in­sult for the Gi­ants to ask Bum­gar­ner to take a home­town dis­count be­cause that’s ex­actly what he has taken for sev­eral years. In fact, even though the pitch­ers are a year and a half apart in age, Bum­gar­ner’s ca­reer in­come ($46 mil­lion) has been less than one-third of Ker­shaw’s ($165 mil­lion). Bum­gar­ner will make $12 mil­lion next year and then is due for a sig­nif­i­cant bump. It’s one of the first ma­jor de­ci­sions the Gi­ants’ new boss needs to make: Keep the World Se­ries hero for 2019 or trade him for a le­git­i­mate hit­ter (prefer­ably an out­fielder) or a high-end prospect or two. An­other op­tion is to do what the Dodgers did with Ker­shaw and tear up Bum­gar­ner’s re­main­ing con­tract and agree on a long-term deal, which many Gi­ants fans would wel­come.

⏩ A’s sec­ond base­man Jed Lowrie turns 35 in April, an age when a player’s value quickly di­min­ishes if it al­ready hadn’t done so, but Lowrie is com­ing off a ca­reer year, which leaves the A’s in a predica­ment. No doubt Lowrie wants a mul­ti­year deal, but why would the A’s budge be­yond one year if they truly be­lieve in Franklin Bar­reto, the heir ap­par­ent? For now, the A’s are say­ing they want Lowrie back, but whether their dol­lars and years mea­sure up to their words is a story that’ll play out. If the A’s agree to an ex­tended deal for Lowrie, it would show they aren’t to­tally sold on Bar­reto. On the other hand, if the A’s are slow to move on Lowrie, he might find an of­fer to his lik­ing else­where.

⏩ Catcher Jonathan Lu­croy is Oak­land’s other free agent from the ev­ery­day lineup, but un­like in Lowrie’s case, the A’s have no one in the sys­tem ready to as­sume start­ing du­ties. Josh Phe­g­ley is a backup, Bruce Maxwell’s stock nose­dived and Sean Mur­phy needs sea­son­ing in Triple-A. An ar­gu­ment could be made that it’s more im­por­tant to bring back Lu­croy than Lowrie. Lu­croy’s num­bers dropped, but he was a vi­tal pres­ence be­cause of his de­fense and lead­er­ship and how he worked with Oak­land’s boat­load of pitch­ers. It just so hap­pens the free-agent mar­ket is full of catch­ers who won’t break the bank on one-year deals. The big­gest mul­ti­year deal should go to Yas­mani Gran­dal, who looked far more equipped in the reg­u­lar sea­son than post­sea­son. The rest of the list in­cludes Martin Mal­don­ado, Wil­son Ramos, old friend Kurt Suzuki, Robin­son Chiri­nos, Matt Wi­eters, Brian McCann and Nick Hund­ley, some of whom have hit bet­ter than Lu­croy but don’t match up de­fen­sively.

⏩ The Mets gave new GM Brodie Van Wa­ge­nen the author­ity to de­cide if man­ager Mickey Call­away will re­turn — yes, Call­away is com­ing back — while the Gi­ants took a dif­fer­ent ap­proach, an­nounc­ing Bruce Bochy will re­turn be­fore de­cid­ing who’ll over­see the front of­fice. Granted, Call­away has one year of ex­pe­ri­ence while Bochy is go­ing to the Hall of Fame, but it shows the dif­fer­ence in or­ga­ni­za­tional mind-sets. The Gi­ants’ hire will have no choice but to in­herit Bochy, not as if he/she wouldn’t want him any­way to or­ches­trate a sea­son of tran­si­tion. Bochy has never had a prob­lem mov­ing from one boss to an­other, and the next one will be his fifth.

⏩ The Gi­ants won’t pay a lux­ury tax for the first time in four years af­ter stay­ing be­neath the com­pet­i­tive bal­ance tax thresh­old of $197 mil­lion. That gives them free­dom to ex­ceed next year’s thresh­old of $206 mil­lion with­out pay­ing a 50 per­cent tax. It would be just 20 per­cent. That pro­vides more flex­i­bil­ity to en­ter the Bryce Harper sweep­stakes, if in­deed that will re­main the in­ten­tion. Other free-agent out­field­ers in­clude A.J. Pol­lock, Michael Brant­ley, Nick Markakis, Car­los Gon­za­lez and ver­sa­tile Mar­win Gon­za­lez. Oh, and An­drew McCutchen.

Car­los Avila Gon­za­lez / The Chron­i­cle

The Gi­ants’ Madi­son Bum­gar­ner has one sea­son left be­fore free agency. He could be traded as part of a re­build.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.