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.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Major League Baseball Players Association has submitted a proposal to the league concerning the 2020 season. The proposal includes a 114-game season with an end date on October 31, playoff expansion for two years, the right for players to opt out of the season, and a potential deferral of 2020 salaries if the postseason were to be canceled.
Passan clarifies that among the players who choose to opt out, only those that are considered “high risk” would still receive their salaries. The others would simply receive service time. The union also proposed that the players receive a non-refundable $100 million sum advance during what would essentially be Spring Training 2.
If the regular season were to begin in early July, as has often been mentioned as the target, that would give the league four months to cram in 114 games. There would have to be occasional double-headers, or the players would have to be okay with few off-days. Nothing has been mentioned about division realignment or a geographically-oriented schedule, but those could potentially ease some of the burden.
Last week, the owners made their proposal to the union, suggesting a “sliding scale” salary structure. The union did not like that suggestion. Players were very vocal about it, including on social media as Max Scherzer — one of eight players on the union’s executive subcommittee — made a public statement. The owners will soon respond to the union’s proposal. They almost certainly won’t be happy with many of the details, but the two sides can perhaps find a starting point and bridge the gap. As the calendar turns to June, time is running out for the two sides to hammer out an agreement on what a 2020 season will look like.