MLB threatens Oakland that the A’s could play in San Francisco next year

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The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that Major League Baseball has told the Oakland Coliseum Authority that unless the Authority renews the A’s lease in Oakland for only two years — which the A’s and MLB want — instead of five — which the Authority wants — that the A’s could move to AT&T Park in San Francisco and play its home games as early as next year.

Fun threat! And the visuals on that would be amazing, of course. Especially on those days when the A’s and Giants both play at home on the same day as they do a handful of times each year.

Of course, how realistic a threat it is is another story. The logistics would be hard. But much harder would be getting the Giants approval, which would be required. The same Giants which are objecting to the A’s playing in San Jose as it is. This sort of approval would have a totally different set of incentives, though. For one thing the A’s would presumably pay the Giants huge rent. For another thing, it’d, by definition, be a temporary move. And one that one would assume would end up with the A’s out of town entirely to the first available permanent home than it would end up with them in San Jose, which the Giants don’t want.

One other fun thing: If the threat works and the A’s get only a two-year lease extension, figure on the Coliseum becoming even more intolerable a place for baseball. Think about it: the Coliseum Authority will have a short-timer tenant who likes to play hardball. Think they’ll go out of their way for the A’s in that situation? I probably wouldn’t.

Anyway, I wouldn’t bank on the A’s playing in San Francisco next year. But the relatively audacious nature of this threat will probably lead to many more fun twists and turns as we creep toward the end game in this sad affair.

Robinson Cano hit his 300th home run last night

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Last night Robinson Cano hit a solo homer in the ninth inning of the Mariners’ loss to the Texas Rangers. It was his 22nd on the season. Though it was insignificant to the outcome of that game, it was significant to Cano: it was his 300th career homer.

While we’ve become accustomed to not caring much about home run milestones south of, say, 500, 300 homers for Cano is a big deal, as he’s only the third second baseman to cross that threshold in baseball history. The other two: Jeff Kent, at 377, and Rogers Hornsby at 301.

Cano, who turns 35 next month, has a career line of .305/.354/.495 and 1,179 RBI, 512 doubles and 33 triples to go with those bombs. He’s in his 13th big league season and still has six more years left on his deal with the Mariners. He’s averaged 24 homers a year since coming to the Mariners. While he’ll obviously trail off at some point — and while great second baseman’s have this weird habit of just suddenly falling off a cliff — it’s highly likely that he’ll finish his career as the all-time home run leader among second baseman. If he remains healthy he should also get over 3,000 hits in his career.

Cooperstown, here he comes.

Reds sign catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year deal

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Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension. The terms: $16 million total, with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.

The deal buys out all three of his arbitration years — he was going to be eligible for the first time this offseason — and the first year of his potential free agency. The club option buys a second. Barnhart made $575,000 this season.

Barnhart, 26, is finishing his second season as the Reds primary catcher. This year he’s hitting .272/.349/.399 with six homers and 42 RBI in 113 games. For his career he has a line of .257/.328/.366 in 330 major league games. His real value is defensive, however. He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and number of base stealers caught (31-for-70, 44%) and leads all players at any position in the league in defensive WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.