A's give up on Jake Fox, trade him to Orioles for Ross Wolf

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Jake Fox’s time in Oakland lasted all of 39 games, as the A’s traded him to the Orioles today after giving up three minor-league pitchers to get him from the Cubs this winter. Fox certainly didn’t do himself any favors by hitting just .214 with a .591 OPS, but giving up on him after just 106 plate appearances is another example of general manager Billy Beane and the A’s being increasingly impatient with many moves lately.
None of which is to suggest Fox is any kind of special player. He’s already 27 years old despite having just 368 career plate appearances in the majors, hasn’t hit much with a .711 OPS, and isn’t really a good defender anywhere despite being versatile enough to see time at first base, left field, right field, third base, and catcher.
In return for Fox the A’s get 27-year-old right-hander Ross Wolf from the Orioles, which is significantly less than they gave up to get Fox in December. Wolf has a 3.81 ERA and 171/95 K/BB ratio in 255 innings at Triple-A and was rocked for 16 runs in 12 innings during his only big-league stint in 2007, so it’s pretty close to a giveaway.
Baltimore likely represents Fox’s last chance to show that his success in the minors was for real. He’s hit .298 with 77 homers, 100 doubles, and a .920 OPS in 350 games between Double-A and Triple-A, but poor plate discipline and little defensive value make him more of a part-time player and bench bat than starter material. Either way, the A’s just bought relatively high and sold relatively low on Fox, and the Orioles picked up a potentially useful player on the cheap.

Must-Click Link: The Turbulent Final Year of Yordano Ventura’s Life

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 23:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals reacts in the sixth inning while taking on the Toronto Blue Jays in game six of the 2015 MLB American League Championship Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 23, 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The Kansas City Star has covered the death of Yordano Ventura and its aftermath in a thorough, thoughtful, respectful and admirable fashion and it has all been compelling to read, even if it’s often been difficult to read. Their latest story may be the most difficult, though it is nonetheless essential.

It covers the final year of Ventura’s life which, sadly, was tumultuous. He had become estranged from his family. He was married to a woman who, at the time of the ceremony, was still married to her first husband and whose family, allegedly, later made threats against Ventura that we’re only now learning about. This includes allegations of armed men accosting Ventura at his home near the Royals spring training facility a year ago. An incident which led to him missing time due to “flulike symptoms,” but which, in reality, caused him considerable mental distress. He was again threatened, it is claimed, in Kansas City during the season. There is also an allegation that Ventura attempted suicide via an overdose of Benadryl, though that is disputed.

Beyond that, there is an arc to the end of Ventura’s life which sounds unfortunately familiar. It’s a story of a young man whose life changed dramatically in a very, very short period of time and who struggled at times to process the changes. Were it not for a fateful drive on a dark and winding road one night in late January, they all could’ve been things that, as his career matured, he could look back on as learning experiences. Now that he’s gone, however, they form the final, tragic chapter.

Report: Royals and Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals and the American League rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the National League in the 2nd inning of the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.

Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.

Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.