A’s catcher Stephen Vogt has been cleared to run after spending 9.5 weeks in a surgical boot following foot surgery.
Stephen Vogt has sore feet, but the A’s catcher isn’t complaining.
He spent 9½ weeks in a boot following surgery on his right foot Oct. 14, and the soreness is just a matter of getting acclimated to not having his foot encased in a boot for all that time.
His surgeon, Dr. Kenneth Jung, cleared him to start running last week and Vogt says he expects to be good to go when spring training starts in Mesa, Ariz. in a month’s time.
“There is soreness, but there is no pain, so that’s a huge improvement for me,’’ Vogt said. “I played in pain for the last three months of the year, and that’s gone. So even with the soreness, I’m feeling good physically.
Hector Olivera, at the plate in 2010 for Team Cuba, could be a good fit for A’s.
In the aftermath of the A’s season-ending loss to the Royals in Kansas City, I mentioned that in looking forward, Oakland might want to take a close look at Cuban free agent second baseman Hector Olivera.
A dozen weeks later, with the calendar ready to morph from 2014 to 2015, it’s time to revisit that hypothesis and expand on it.
The A’s have made wholesale changes and will have an almost entirely different infield going forward than the one that served them the last three seasons or so. The exception is at second base, where Eric Sogard, a good defender coming off a miserable offensive season, returns.
That’s if the roster doesn’t have any more turnover. However, the A’s have both a history of post-Christmas trades and money to address deficiencies thanks to their three-month spree in which the Oakland roster has gotten both younger and less expensive.
The trade of Derek Norris brings two good arms into the A’s camp and leaves open more possible moves.
You have to wonder what’s next for the A’s.
Billy Beane & Co. have spent the last six weeks stocking up on young talent, most of it pitching, including right-handed starter Jesse Hahn and right-handed reliever J.R. Alvarez who are the newest additions with Derek Norris having been traded to the Padres Thursday night.
Already five of the seven players the A’s had at the All-Star Game this season are off the roster, and as Norris told me Thursday night, it seems like the A’s “are looking to rebuild’’ heading into 2015.
Norris may be right about that, but it seems more than a little possible that Beane is loading up for one big swing between now and the start of spring training. With Matt Kemp off the block now, the biggest bats known to be available are outfielder Justin Upton of the Braves and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies.
It was a small move the A’s made Thursday, if only because the newest left-hander in the bullpen is Eury De La Rosa, all 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds of him.
The Dominican product isn’t overpowering with a low- to mid-90-mph fastball, but he has a nasty slider that right-handed hitters find particularly difficult. And despite his mid-range velocity and small stature, he has 48 strikeouts in 51.1 innings in parts of the last two seasons pitching with Arizona.
The 24-year-old has shown decent control (19 walks) in those 51 big league innings, but as a minor leaguer his control was above average (17 walks in 63.1 innings) at Double-A in 2012.
Eric Sogard is the only remaining member of the 2014 A’s infield still with the team after free agency Jed Lowrie signed Sunday with Houston.
In trading Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss and Jeff Samardzija this off-season, the A’s have made it very clear that they are going younger in 2015. And, as a byproduct, they are seeing their payroll obligations much reduced.
But they A’s were willing to chase at least one expensive free agent, Padres’ third baseman Chase Headley, this time around. I wrote about the possibility when the Donaldson trade went down. And when the third baseman signed a four-year $52-million deal Monday with the Yankees, Ken Rosenthal of Fox confirmed via Twitter that Oakland had indeed made a competitive offer for Headley early on.
While no one now will get from the A’s as much as they were willing to offer Headley, the A’s still have money to spend in free agency.
But despite the rumors that persist on the internet, Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang will not be one on the Oakland shopping list. Kang was posted Monday, but at the winter meetings, A’s general manager Billy Beane made it clear the A’s were not interested.
Mark Canha, who went from Bellarmine High to Cal, is mostly a left fielder and first baseman, but he can play some third, and A’s may well give him that chance in 2015.
The smart money says the A’s aren’t done with their tri-annual roster remake, but as we await those, there are some intriguing possibilities put forward by the moves the club already has made since the end of the season.
For me, one of the more compelling is the addition of Rule 5 slugger Mark Canha, the Cal product who is mostly a first baseman and left fielder.
He also plays third base, and has a Triple-A slash line good enough – .303/.384/.505 – that the A’s traded a young pitcher they liked, Austin House, Thursday morning to make sure they could emerge from the Rule 5 draft with Canha, the owner of 68 career minor league homers, in the fold.
Mark Canha, who went from Bellarmine High to Cal, will get every chance to stick with A’s in 2015.
Oakland had one more trick up its sleeve before leaving town at the end of the Winter Meetings Thursday, trading with the Colorado Rockies for infielder/outfielder Mark Canha.
The A’s sent minor league pitcher Austin House and cash to the Rockies, who had just minutes earlier taken Canha off the roster of the Miami Marlins as the second pick in the Rule 5 draft. To make room on the big league roster, the A’s designated Shane Peterson for assignment.
Under baseball rules, Canha was drafted at a cost of $50,000 and must remain on the A’s 25-man roster all year or be offered back to the Marlins for $25,000.
When the A’s shelled out $4.25 million for Dominican right-handed pitcher Michael Ynoa back in 2008, it was a record for an international signing by a Major League club.
That, sadly, was the high point for Ynoa’s time with the A’s. He was a hard thrower with a big arm who never developed. It happens.
He missed two of his first three seasons, first in 2009 with elbow tendinitis, then after he came back, he needed Tommy John surgery and didn’t pitch in 2011.
At 6-foot-7 and 210 pounds, Ynoa originally was seen as a prospect who could develop into a top-end starting pitcher. It never happened.
John Jaso wants to be back with the A’s, but doesn’t know if a trade is in his future.
It’s possible that the A’s have done their damage at the 113th Winter Meetings and will cool their heels the rest of the week, but it’s not a solid bet.
Oakland still has at least one other player the A’s might consider moving, catcher John Jaso. To be sure, general manager Billy Beane is a huge fan of Jaso, who works the count, has a habit of coming up with timely hits and who is an on-base machine.
On the down side, he’s had concussions the last two years that have taken him out of back-to-back stretch drives with Oakland. Doctors have given him the go-ahead to resume catching.
“I think that’s ancient history now,’’ Jaso told me Tuesday morning. “I’m moving on, starting my workouts and I’m ready to go. As of right now, I’m still planning on taking up catching again, whatever team I’m on.’’
The slow process of rebuilding the Oakland A’s took another step forward Tuesday with the completion of a deal with the Chicago White Sox that saw Oakland potentially bring a starting shortstop and a starting pitcher into the fold.
At the cost of top-end starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija and minor league reliever Michael Ynoa, the A’s added four players, two of whom, infielder Marcus Semien and pitcher Chris Bassitt, could have an immediate impact on the big league club.
The two other players acquired, catcher Josh Phegley and first baseman Rangel Ravelo, figure to be Triple-A players to start 2015.
Semien, from St. Mary’s High and the University of California, will have the shortstop job to lose come spring training. He’s mostly been a third baseman with a secondary role at second base for the White Sox, but in the minor leagues two-thirds of his playing time has been at second base.