Coco Crisp Getty

A’s make option calls on Coco Crisp, Brett Anderson, Kurt Suzuki, Chris Young


Oakland announced four decisions on players with options for 2014, exercising their contracts on Coco Crisp and Brett Anderson while declining on Kurt Suzuki and Chris Young.

Crisp will make $7.5 million and Anderson will make $8 million, but they chose to buy out Suzuki for $650,000 instead of paying him $8.5 million and bought out Young for $1.5 million instead of a $11 million option.

For the most part all four moves were relative no-brainers, although there’s been some speculation that the A’s could look to trade Anderson to a team more in need of young pitching help after building a strong rotation mostly without him this season.

Scott Kazmir in Game 2, Dallas Keuchel in Game 3 for Astros

Scott Kazmir
AP Photo/Stephen Brashear
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Astros manager A.J. Hinch said after Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game victory in New York that Collin McHugh would serve as the team’s ALDS Game 1 starter on Thursday against the Royals. Now we know how the rest of Houston’s Division Series rotation will shake out …

Hinch told Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle on Wednesday that Scott Kazmir will pitch Game 2 on Friday and Dallas Keuchel will take Game 3 on Sunday. Keuchel tossed six scoreless innings on Tuesday night against the Yankees to push the Astros past the Wild Card round.

If the Astros need a Game 4 starter, they’ll go with either Lance McCullers or Mike Fiers.

Jessica Mendoza and Chris Archer were great in the booth

Jessica Mendoza

Not news: Jessica Mendoza, who has been excellent on all of the ESPN broadcasts she has done since taking over for Curt Schilling, was excellent last night too.

She was great on the nuts and bolts, continued to show that she can describe hitting mechanics better than most color commentators — way more of them seem to be more comfortable talking about pitching — and was a seamless presence in the booth in terms of flow, timbre and all of the aesthetic aspects of broadcasting. If she has a fault thus far it’s that she leans on some cliches about hitters’ mindsets and desire to win sometimes. This puts her in with approximately 100% of all other color commentators in baseball now and throughout the history of baseball, of course, so it’s not really a demerit.

Ultimately, the true test of a good commentator is whether they (a) add insight; and (b) do so without distracting or upstaging the game. In this Mendoza is superior to most commentators in baseball and clearly superior to the “stop and listen to me” brand of analysts the major networks have employed on national broadcasts in recent years.

Indeed, the best compliment I think I can give Mendoza is that she was — in the literal sense, not the judgmental sense — unremarkable. Meaning: during the game and after there was nothing she said or did that was worthy of the highly-critical remarks almost every broadcaster gets, going back through Schilling, Kruk, Harold Reynolds Tim McCarver, Joe Morgan and everyone else ESPN and Fox have forced upon us in their history doing playoff baseball. I’m on Twitter during most playoff games and sometimes the broadcaster bashing is more interesting than the game. Mendoza gives the would-be bashers very little material.

At least those who would bash on the actual merits. There remains a group of deadenders who are irked by her very presence in the booth because she is a woman. The New York times rounds up some of the less mouth-breathery types today, but God knows there are many, many worse. Some of them even in professional media. At least for now. Whether you choose to ignore those people or choose to engage them — which, their dead end opinions notwithstanding can be a useful exercise in my view — know that they are out there being miserable and sexist as God and the First Amendment intended them to be.

While there are many who slam Mendoza on the faulty premise that she lacks credentials and experience in the booth, there was one person in the ESPN booth last night, at least for a while, who was a total TV noob. His name was Chris Archer. He pitches a bit for the Tampa Bay Rays. And lo and behold, he was pretty damn good himself.

Archer needs some polish for style — he has a lot of “ummms” and “uhhhs” about him — but his analysis is both sharp and quick. Meaning he was RIGHT ON the points when he needed to be without any of the usual prompting guests in the booth need from the play-by-play guy. At one point he even flowed into play-by-play and did a pretty good job of it.  Chris: if that pitching stuff doesn’t work out, you have a bright, bright future in television.

So, on the first night of the playoffs, there were no complaints about the broadcast. Mostly because the broadcasters weren’t the stars of the show. The game was. And it was complemented nicely by a couple of good voices.

And John Kruk.