The Athletics dealt star third baseman Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays last night for Brett Lawrie and three prospects, but general manager Billy Beane isn’t done with reshuffling his roster. According to John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group, the Athletics are discussing Justin Upton and Evan Gattis with the Braves. The thought is that Jeff Samardzija could be the “bait” in a potential deal.
It’s a odd match on the surface, as Upton and Samardzija are both under team control for only one more year. Gattis is a different story, as he won’t even be arbitration-eligible for the first time until after next season. Surely more players are being discussed and who knows, maybe a third team would end up being involved.
On a potentially related note, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes that the Athletics have “at least one more significant trade brewing.” While most of the speculation is that Samardzija will be the next to go, Rosenthal believes that that moving a left-handed hitter like Brandon Moss, Josh Reddick, or John Jaso is more likely.
Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.
The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.
The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.
In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.