Oakland GM Billy Beane has a plan

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Around this time of year, MLB.com asks its beat writers to put together a year-in-review for each of the league’s 30 teams.  Tom Singer took care of the task for the Oakland A’s, who struggled to a 75-87 record this past season and a last place finish in the American League West division.

Some lowlights of the A’s 2009 season, courtesy of Singer:

  • Oakland finished in the
    AL West cellar for the first time since 1998, and lingered there for 106 total days.
  • The A’s have been around for 109 years and have never had such a long stretch at the bottom of the standings.
  • The offense reached fewer total bases than any other team in the American League.
  • The team’s combined .328 on-base percentage ranked 21st in all of baseball and their .397 slugging percentage ranked 25th.
  • The 2009 A’s finished last in the American League in home runs.  That hadn’t happened since the organization was in Kansas City.

But fear not, A’s fans, GM Billy Beane has a plan:

Our organization has two waves of players,” Beane said this week. “We have a
strong group of young pitchers up in the Majors, and we have a group of
young hitters coming up behind them who will be ready soon. It’s a
process we went through in the 1990s, so we know how it works
.”

It’s hard to doubt the guy.  The last time the A’s rattled off three straight losing seasons (1996-1998) the next eight years brought four division championships and four second-place finishes.  And he’s right about the young pitching staff, a group that compiled the AL’s third-lowest ERA and set a franchise record for
strikeouts.  There is some hope for Oakland.

Report: Blue Jays and Marco Estrada nearing agreement on contract extension

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Jon Morosi reports that the Blue Jays and starter Marco Estrada are nearing an agreement on a contract extension. The deal is expected to be for one guaranteed year, Morosi adds.

Estrada, 34, was set to become a free agent after the season. He earned $26 million on a two-year contract signed with the Jays in November 2015. While the right-hander has a subpar 4.84 ERA on the season, he has a solid 170/67 K/BB ratio in 176 2/3 innings and has looked much better since the end of July. Between July 31 and his most recent start on Saturday, Estrada owns a 3.75 ERA.

J.A. Happ is the only other starter technically under contract with the Jays next season. Marcus Stroman will be eligible for his second year of arbitration and the Jays will certainly agree to give him a raise on his $3.4 million salary for the 2017 season. The Jays will likely be active this offseason in adding rotation help and they’re starting early by locking up Estrada.

Video: Jackie Bradley, Jr. robs Chris Davis of a home run

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Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. robbed Orioles first baseman Chris Davis of his 25th home run on Tuesday evening, leaping at the fence in center field to make the catch and keep the game scoreless in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Davis swung at the first pitch he saw from Drew Pomeranz, a slider that crossed the middle of the plate.

This game has potential playoff implications, as the first-place Red Sox hold a three-game lead over the Yankees in the NL East. Meanwhile, the Orioles are still in the AL Wild Card race, trailing the Twins by 5.5 games for the second Wild Card slot.