The A’s have been making all kinds of upgrades this offseason. They’ve improved the offense and have made their bullpen into one of the best in the game. They may not be done either. From the Contra Costa Times:
A source with knowledge of the situation said the A’s are trying to trade for Seattle infielder Chone Figgins, and that current A’s third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff and perhaps a pitcher could be shipped to the Mariners in return.
Figgins was lost in 2010, having been moved to second base and having struggled at the plate. He still figures to be an above average defensive third baseman, however, and even if he doesn’t draw 100 walks like he did in 2009, he is an offensive upgrade over Kouzmanoff, who has some pop but struggles to get on base.
For the Mariners, this would be a salary-shedding move, as Figgins is owed $26 million over the next three years. Normally you don’t see the A’s taking on that kind of obligation, but given that they offered Adrian Beltre serious cash, they are clearly comfortable spending some money to upgrade at third.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.
Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.
Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.
Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.