A’s exec Owens on Padres’ GM list?

Heard an interesting tidbit that I thought I’d pass along, as we watch the Phillies and Yankees march toward the World Series …

You might have seen today’s stories that the San Diego Padres are close to naming Red Sox assistant GM Jed Hoyer as their next general manager. David Forst, the A’s assistant GM, was mentioned as a potential candidate for the Padres’ job two weeks ago, and the A’s quickly released a statement shooting down that possibility. But it appears another member of Oakland’s front office is (or at least was) under some degree of consideration.

It’s my understanding that Billy Owens, the A’s director of player personnel, was on San Diego’s radar. Realize that this hasn’t been confirmed by anybody from the A’s or Padres. But I talked to both Owens and A’s GM Billy Beane today, and neither one came out and denied it either.

“It’s one of those things, (the Padres) are handling everything privately down there, so I’ll just stay out of it,” Owens said, declining to say whether he had been interviewed.

Beane also was mum on the issue, but said Owens has the potential to continue advancing up the front-office ranks. A Padres spokesperson said the team wasn’t discussing GM candidates publicly.

It’s probably a moot point anyway, as Hoyer appears to be the Padres’ guy. MLB.com, ESPN.com, the San Diego Union-Tribune and North County Times all ran stories on the topic Wednesday. But it’s something to keep an eye on for future front office openings around the majors. Forst is considered one of the top young executives in the game, and his name gets mentioned whenever there’s a GM position available (Forst enjoys living in the Bay Area and has always expressed his happiness with the A’s).

Perhaps Owens, 38, is beginning to attract interest as well. He just completed his 11th season with the A’s and sixth as director of player personnel. He scouts everywhere – majors, minors, amateur and internationally – and his input has been key as the A’s have decided which prospects to target in their many trades of recent years.

I expect to hear Hoyer announced as the Padres’ GM in the near future, but keep Owens’ name filed away …


Stephen Strasburg playing alongside A’s prospects at Arizona Fall League

If you need a baseball fix (outside of the playoffs) during October or November, the Arizona Fall League is a pretty nice option. It’s a developmental league featuring some of the major leagues’ best young prospects, and runs from Oct. 13-Nov. 6. Games are held at spring training ballparks all over the Phoenix area, and single-game tickets cost no more than $6. Check out rosters here.

The A’s have seven players suiting up for the Phoenix Desert Dogs — second baseman Jemile Weeks; outfielders Corey Brown and Grant Desme; and pitchers James Simmons, Sam Demel, Mickey Storey and Justin Friend. Also playing for the Desert Dogs — pitcher Stephen Strasburg, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2009 draft and probably the most hyped draft pick ever. AFL games typically don’t draw much of a crowd, but I’m guessing more fans will show up to see Strasburg.

–A brief update that didn’t make my A’s season wrap-up story: Pitching prospect Michael Ynoa has been doing well in throwing sessions during instructional league in Phoenix, but he won’t throw in any games there. Another right-hander, Fautino De Los Santos, has had complications in his comeback from ligament replacement surgery on his elbow. The A’s were having him undergo more tests this week …

–I’ll be updating the blog throughout the winter, so check back often!!


Movin’ out day — lineups for A’s season finale

Boxes were scattered everywhere in the A’s clubhouse this morning and players were shaking hands all around — there’s no hiding it’s the last day of the season.

A’s manager Bob Geren decided to pitch all relievers today, w/Brad Kilby starting. So expect lots of pitching changes. “Honestly, I think it gives us the best chance to win, and that’s been the goal since spring training,” Geren said. Edgar Gonzalez had been the previously announced starter. But Gonzalez is a known quantity to the A’s, and emptying the bullpen gives Geren one last chance to see a lot of relievers.

Here’s today’s lineups, featuring two players likely playing their final game in an A’s uniform — third baseman Bobby Crosby and DH Nomar Garciaparra:

Davis CF
Ellis 2B
Suzuki C
Nomar DH
Crosby 3B
Barton 1B
Carson RF
Patterson LF
Pennington SS

Kilby LHP

Figgins 3B
Abreu DH
Hunter CF
Rivera LF
Morales 1B
Kendrick 2B
Matthews Jr. RF
Napoli C
Aybar SS

Saunders LHP


Leftover notes and quotes from A’s 4-2 loss to Mariners

Leftover tidbits from tonight’s game:

–The A’s have lost four straight and finished an ugly 5-14 against Seattle this season. They went 1-8 at Safeco Field. Going back further, the A’s have lost 16 of their past 22 to the Mariners and are 20-37 since the start of 2007.

–The A’s finished their 2009 road schedule at 35-46. They’re 40-38 at home, and wrap up the regular season with a three-game series against the Angels at the Coliseum starting tonight. They’ve finished with a losing record at home just once in the past 11 seasons (2007).

–What exactly is going on with the A’s defense? They’ve committed 19 errors in the past 12 games. Their 104 errors on the season is their highest total since they had 107 in 2003. Third baseman Adam Kennedy had tonight’s error, misplaying a short-hop grounder in the fifth that led to three unearned runs off Brett Anderson. Kennedy has committed a career-high 20 errors this season, but they’ve come in bunches in the past couple of weeks.

“I’ve just been having a hard time with, like, the depth of the ball straight at me,” said Kennedy, who converted from second to third base about midway through this season. “In the middle infield, you don’t have that. You can always move to get the ball where you want it. Lately, on balls right at me, I’m not knowing how hard they’re hit, or getting the right steps (down to field them).”

Kennedy, a free agent this offseason, added that he wouldn’t be opposed to playing third again next year. And he thinks his problems are correctable with more time there.

–Brett Anderson finished his rookie season 11-11. He went five innings Thursday and just one of his four runs allowed was earned. His overall take on his first season:

“You don’t really know what to expect. I couldn’t have told you that I thought I was gonna throw a complete-game shutout in Boston in my first start there. That was probably the highlight of the season. But I also wouldn’t have said I’d give up a double to Matt Cain either. So there’s low points and high points throughout the season. You just gotta kind of roll with it.”


One more from the road; A’s-Mariners lineups

It’s a slow news day as the A’s prepare for their final road game of 2009. Seattle has not been kind to them, as they’ve gone just 1-7 in the Mariners’ home park. Brett Anderson takes the hill for his final start of the season. He’s 11-10 with a 4.12 ERA — pretty solid rookie season no matter how you slice it.

It’s looking likely that outfielder Ryan Sweeney’s season is done. A’s manager Bob Geren maintains that he’d play Sweeney if his knees felt better, but I can’t believe the A’s would run him out there even if he improved physically. What’s the point? They have a chance to get a last look at guys like Travis Buck and Matt Carson. Buck starts in right tonight, but Geren said Carson would probably play Saturday and Sunday against the Angels, who throw lefties those days.

Tonight’s lineups:

Kennedy 3B
Davis CF
Suzuki C
Cust DH
Barton 1B
Ellis 2B
Patterson LF
Buck RF
Pennington SS

Anderson LHP

Ichiro RF
Gutierrez CF
Lopez 1B
Sweeney DH
Beltre 3B
Hall LF
Tuiasosopo 2B
Moore C
Wilson SS

Fister RHP