UPDATE: Welp, as soon as I wrote about the A’s courting either Jonathan Lucroy or Matt Wieters, they went out and signed Lucroy to a one-year deal. No word on the terms yet.
Lucroy is a better catcher than Wieters and, in all likelihood, a better option than Bruce Maxwell, so even if, as I suggested below, there’s an element of grievance-avoiding in all of this, it also happens to be a positive baseball move.
4:32 PM: MLB.com’s Jane Lee reports that the Oakland Athletics have been in talks to sign free agent catcher Jonathan Lucroy or trade for Washington Nationals’ backstop Matt Wieters.
Lucroy hit a disappointing .265/.345/.371 with six home runs last year for the Rangers and Rockies, and a lot of that line was buoyed by far better numbers at altitude than down in Texas. That relatively poor showing has hampered his ability to find work this offseason but he could make sense on the A’s on a short-term deal during which he could build up some value.
The Nats shopping Wieters likewise makes some sense. He’s coming off his worst year in the bigs, both offensively and defensively, and is set to make $10.5 million on his player option this year.
The A’s currently have Bruce Maxwell at the top of their catching depth chart, but they don’t seem 100% sold on him as the starter. Likewise, the A’s are one of the teams against which the MLBPA has filed a grievance for not spending revenue sharing money on players, so getting either Lucroy or Wieters may be a way of getting the heat off of them.
On Friday evening, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association announced the first set of results for COVID-19 testing as part of the mandatory intake screening process under MLB’s COVID-19 Health Monitoring & Testing Plan. Per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Athletics are not part of this data because their testing has not yet been completed.
There were 38 positive tests, accounting for 1.2% of the 3,185 samples collected and tested. 31 of the 38 individuals who tested positive are players. 19 different teams had one or more individuals test positive.
Sports Illustrated’s Emma Baccellieri notes that the positive test rate in the U.S. nationally is 8.3 percent. The NBA’s positive test rate was 7.1 percent. MLB’s positive test rate is well below average. This doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is wrong with MLB’s testing or that it’s an atypical round of testing. Rather, MLB’s testing population may more closely represent the U.S. population as a whole. Currently, because testing is still somewhat limited, those who have taken tests have tended to be those exhibiting symptoms or those who have been around others who have tested positive. If every single person in the U.S. took a test, the positive test rate would likely come in at a much lower number.
Several players who tested positive have given their consent for their identities to be made known. Those are: Delino DeShields (link), Brett Martin (link), Edward Colina, Nick Gordon, and Willians Astudillo (link). Additionally, Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodríguez has not shown up to Red Sox camp yet because he has been around someone who tested positive, per The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey.