The Athletics have already traded for Josh Reddick, Seth Smith and Collin Cowgill and signed Coco Crisp and Jonny Gomes this offseason. But do you know what they could really use? Another outfielder.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the A’s still have some interest in bringing back Conor Jackson. The 29-year-old was mentioned as a possibility even before the club re-signed Crisp earlier this month.
Jackson, a first-round pick of the Diamondbacks in 2003, had an impressive .292/.371/.451 batting line and an .822 OPS over his first three full seasons in the big leagues. However, he hasn’t been the same player since missing most of the 2009 season with Valley Fever, posting an ugly .241/.320/.336 batting line and a .656 OPS over the past two seasons. He has also battled numerous injuries, including a banged up knee after the A’s traded him to the Red Sox prior to last year’s August waiver deadline.
Jackson bats right-handed, has solid plate discipline and can also play some first base, so most teams would likely jump at the chance if he’s willing to accept a minor-league deal. Though there’s nothing to suggest the Rays are legitimately interested, our own Matthew Pouliot mentioned them as a potential fit earlier this week.
With a 6-1 win over the Twins in Sunday’s season finale, the Royals clinched the best record in the American League, which nets them home field advantage in the ALDS and ALCS. The Royals stand at 95-67 while the Blue Jays, who lost on Sunday, finish at 93-69.
95-67 is the Royals’ best record since finishing 97-65 in 1980, when they lost the World Series to the Phillies. Their division title is their first since 1985.
In the ALDS, which starts on Thursday, the Royals will host the winner of the AL Wild Card game between the Astros and Yankees. They are looking to avenge last year’s World Series loss, in seven games, to the Giants. The Blue Jays will host the Rangers in the other ALDS series.
Both the Astros’ and the Yankees’ fates were decided before their own games had completed on Sunday. The Rangers defeated the Angels, which clinched a Wild Card spot for the Astros. Then the Astros dropped Sunday’s season finale to the Diamondbacks, which clinched the first AL Wild Card slot for the Yankees. The Yankees are on their way to a loss against the Orioles as of this writing, but that will not affect anything now.
The Astros were in a 3-3 tie with the Diamondbacks in the seventh inning, but reliever Chad Qualls served up a two-run home run to Paul Goldschmidt. That would prove to be the deciding factor in a 5-3 loss.
The Yankees are losing 7-4 to the Orioles behind a subpar start by Michael Pineda and a shaky performance by the bullpen.
The MLB postseason opens up with the Yankees hosting the Astros on Tuesday in the AL Wild Card game. The winner moves on to face the Royals in Kansas City in the ALDS.