A’s acquire outfielder Chris Coghlan from Cubs

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Chris Coghlan turned his career around in Chicago during the past two seasons and now he’s headed to Oakland, with the Cubs trading the former Rookie of the Year winner to the A’s for right-hander Aaron Brooks.

Coghlan was voted the NL’s top rookie for the Marlins in 2009, but then had four mostly injured and ineffective seasons before joining the Cubs in 2014. Since then he’s hit .265 with a .793 OPS in 273 games as a platoon player while seeing time at left field, right field, second base, and third base.

Moments after making the Coghlan trade the Cubs announced that free agent center fielder Dexter Fowler was spurning the Orioles to re-sign, which comes as a huge surprise and certainly explains the rush to deal Coghlan for a somewhat underwhelming return. Not only do the Cubs have Fowler, Jason Heyward, and Kyle Schwarber as their starting outfield, Jorge Soler is still around.

Brooks seems underwhelming in that he’s 26 years old with an 8.38 ERA in limited MLB action and was a secondary piece of the A’s trade with the Royals for Ben Zobrist. He’s a potential bullpen option, which the Cubs have been collecting this offseason.

Coghlan doesn’t have a clear path to playing time in Oakland at the moment, but the A’s like to platoon as much as any team and he’s best suited to play primarily versus right-handed pitching. He has a lifetime .784 OPS off righties, including .830 in 2014-2015. At age 30 he’s under contract for $4.8 million in his final season before free agency.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.