A’s “going younger” could mean passing on Hideki Matsui

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MLB announcing Oakland versus Seattle as the season-opening series in Japan next year led to speculation that the A’s were committed to re-signing Japanese outfielder Hideki Matsui, but it turns out that may not be the case.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that the A’s are intent on “going younger” and could pass on re-signing Matsui even if he’s willing to take a pay cut from this season’s $4.25 million salary.

Matsui is 37 years old and coming off the worst season of his career, hitting just .251 with 12 homers and a .696 OPS in 141 games. He came into the year as a career .290 hitter with an .848 OPS.

Slusser reports that Matsui’s agent will meet next week with Billy Beane, but the general manager has hinted that the A’s may spend even less than usual on free agents this winter because they’re waiting to hear back from MLB about a possible new ballpark in San Jose.

Javier Baez, D.J. LeMahieu have disagreement about sign-stealing

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Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.

LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.

The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.