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Bailey addresses trade rumors, Melvin sidesteps extension talk

In for Joe Stiglich tonight. I sense a pattern here; he’s always taking the fireworks nights off …

It’s rather puzzling that of all the A’s players you would be expecting to get buzz two days before the MLB trading deadline, Andrew Bailey would be far down the list. But right now, he might be the hottest. The word out of Texas is that the Rangers are working the cellphones hard regarding Bailey, along with Padres closer Heath Bell. Another Texas news outlet said the Rangers are looking at A’s relievers without mentioning Bailey specifically.

As Joe noted in his blog post right before this one, you can see both sides of the argument as far as the notion of the A’s trading Bailey. Yes, he’s under A’s control through 2014, he’s making a pittance (although he’ll be due a hefty raise in his first arbitration next year), and — oh yeah — he’s a pretty darned good closer when he’s healthy.

On the other hand, this is a team that believes it can sign or develop a closer whenever it needs one. It’s a team that traded a young closer in Huston Street just a few years ago. Bailey has also had elbow issues, which might prompt the A’s to strike while the iron is hot if the right deal drops in their laps. It’s highly unlikely they’re pushing a Bailey trade, but it makes sense that they’d listen.

I would doubt the A’s will be shipping Bailey somewhere, particularly to a division rival. But you never know, especially if Billy Beane sees a young prospect he covets.

So how does Bailey feel about being mentioned in trade talk?

I think our bullpen is one of our strong points and other teams’ GMs are just doing their due diligence to find the best arms out there,” he said. “It’s a little different, since I’ve only known this organization. So we’ll see what happens.”

Bailey straddled the fence on whether he would welcome a trade. On one hand, he doesn’t want to be excised from what the A’s may be building. On the other hand, if he could play with a contender now …

“I love this organization,” he said. “Obviously, the name of the game is winning and I want to be part of that. We have a lot of young talent and something to build around. But maybe go somewhere and have an opportunity to win now would be cool as well.”

Bailey said he’s only heard what he’s read on Twitter and elsewhere online, so he’s not getting too nervous yet.

“Right now, it’s all media speculation, I assume,” he said. “I haven’t heard one thing from the organization or my agent.”

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Get ready for the every-day-or-so update on Bob Melvin’s status as manager beyond this year. The A’s are 20-22 under Melvin (they’d be .500 without yesterday’s bullpen abomination) and seem to have responded to his leadership. Then again, Oakland actually started the season 22-20 under Bob Geren — their high-water mark over .500 this year — so he hasn’t exactly moved the needle that dramatically yet.

Whatever, this is what Melvin had to say about his situation in Oakland and whether the A’s have approached him about a long-term deal.

“They have not,” he said. “When I came in here, I came on an interim basis and that’s where I’m at.”

Would he like to receive an extension before year’s end?

“I don’t know that it’s possible,” he said. “I think there’s been some scenarios before where an interim manager has been extended, but I think the hiring process is in part to do with where I am right now. Nothing’s been promised to me and I take it day to day, and that hasn’t changed since the first day I’ve been here. I came in under those terms, so obviously, I’m fine with that.”

But isn’t it something Melvin would want resolved quickly once the season was over?

“Sure,” he said. “I think in my position, anybody would like to be considered the answer long-term. I’d like to be here long-term and they know that.”

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Grant Balfour was hit in the small of the back by a baseball during batting practice earlier in the week. Melvin said he had him up in the bullpen during Thursday’s game and he wasn’t feeling very good. He’s hoping Balfour will be available tonight, but wasn’t sure before the game.

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Tonight’s lineups:

A’s: 2B Weeks, CF Crisp, DH Matsui, LF Willingham, 1B Jackson, RF DeJesus, 3B Sizemore, C Suzuki, SS Pennington. P Gonzalez

Twins:  CF Revere, 2B Plouffe, 1B Mauer, RF Cuddyer, DH Kubel, LF Young, 3B Hughes, SS Tolbert, C Butera. P Liriano

“They have not

Carl Steward