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With Raiders’ bid to move south scuttled, it’s back to a waiting game for A’s in bid for a baseball-only stadium

The Raiders' and the A's sharing of the Coliseum goes on for now with the Raiders' bid to move to Southern California scuttled by the NFL.

The Raiders’ and the A’s sharing of the Coliseum goes on for now with the Raiders’ bid to move to Southern California scuttled by the NFL.

The Raiders aren’t going to move to the Los Angeles area – National Football League owners made sure of that by carving out a compromise that will have the Rams moving from St. Louis and the Chargers moving from San Diego to a yet-to-be built stadium.

So what does that mean for the A’s, who have shared the Oakland Coliseum with the Raiders off and on since 1968?

The A’s want to build a new baseball-only stadium on the site of the Coliseum. If the Raiders’ petition to move had been approved the A’s could have started planning on their future immediately. As for now, however, things remain, as ever, on hold.

The NFL wants the Raiders to stay in Oakland. Major League Baseball wants the A’s to remain in Oakland, too. The trouble is, those two wants aren’t compatible given the desires of the two franchises.

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NFL vote on Raiders moving to L.A. area, whether yea or nay, won’t have any immediate impact on the A’s going forward

Regardless of the news that comes out of the NFL meetings in the next couple of days, the A's will be at the Coliseum for the foreseeable future..

Regardless of the news that comes out of the NFL meetings in the next couple of days regarding a move of the Raiders, the A’s will be playing at the Coliseum for the foreseeable future..

Owners of the 32 National Football League teams meet Tuesday and Wednesday in Houston.

On the agenda is whether or not the Rams will move from St. Louis, the Chargers from San Diego or the Raiders from Oakland to the Los Angeles area.

The only Major League Baseball team to be impacted by all this  is the Oakland A’s, but if you think the A’s are particularly anxious about whatever pronouncement is going to come out of Houston, you’d be wrong.

“It’s not a particularly big week for us,’’ A’s owner Lew Wolff said.

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Henderson’s passing reminds us of baseball’s mortality

Dave Henderson is all smiles while signing for A's fans in 2000.

Dave Henderson is all smiles while signing for A’s fans in 2000.

I got a chance to connect with some of the guys I grew up with Sunday.

At the other end of the phone were Dave Stewart, Dennis Eckersley, Rickey Henderson, Mark McGwire, Sandy Alderson, Terry Steinbach and Tony La Russa.

This isn’t a case of dropping names here. These are some of the guys I talked to after the news came out that Dave Henderson, center fielder par excellence for the A’s from 1988-93 had died in Seattle at 57 of a massive heart attack.

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Teammates salute Dave Henderson, dead too soon at 57

Rickey Henderson (24) Dave Stewart and Dave Henderson (42).

Rickey Henderson (24) Dave Stewart and Dave Henderson (42).

Dave Henderson’s ever-present gap-toothed grin symbolized the joy with which he lived, and that’s what teammates remembered Sunday upon the news that the longtime A’s center fielder died of a massive heart attack in Seattle. He was 57.

“I never saw him have a bad day,’’ first baseman Mark McGwire said. `He’d strike out, and he’d come back to the dugout flashing that gap-toothed grin. He loved to play the game. He was a beautiful man.’’

Henderson joined the A’s in 1988 as just another player in a massive roster reorganization orchestrated by general manager Sandy Alderson, but as the former A’s general manager and current Mets’ GM said, “he was incredibly important to the run of success we had in those years.’’

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Ex-A’s star Dave Henderson gone too soon at 57

Outfielder Dave Henderson, the former first-round pick of the Seattle Mariners who became an All-Star and World Series champion as part of the core of the 1989 Oakland A’s, died Sunday at 57.

Henderson had a kidney transplant about a month ago, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today,

Henderson hit one of the most dramatic home runs in post-season history, a two-out, two-strike ninth-inning bomb in the American League Championship Series that helped get Boston into the World Series.

Two years later after a 15-game stay with the 1987 Giants, Henderson signed with the A’s just before the Winter Meetings and had his best year on the 104-win A’s team with a .304/.363/.525 monster season that included 25 homers and 38 doubles.

The owner of an almost ever-present gap-toothed grin, Henderson grew up in Dos Palos southwest of Merced and was a multiple-sport star at Dos Palos High before signing with the Mariners as the 26th pick in the in 1977 draft.

He made it to the big leagues in 1981 and spent six seasons as a fixture in the Mariner outfielder before being traded to Boston in August of 1986. The acquisition seemed to be a flop when he hit just .186 in 36 games, but Henderson wrote his way into Red Sox lore with his Game 5 off the Angels’ Donnie Moore with California one strike away from its first-ever pennant.

The Red Sox came back to win the game and the series.

After the game, Henderson said “everybody talks about the pressure on me for that at-bat, but there was no pressure.’’

“Defensive replacements aren’t supposed to hit closer,’’ he said. “(Angels’ manager) Gene Mauch caught a lot of flak for changing pitchers, but any manager would take that matchup 100 percent of the time.

“Donnie Moore against a defensive replacement who had five at-bats in two weeks? You gotta go with those odds. They’re in the Angels’ favor. Basically I was looking for a way to get back to our dugout after striking out.’’

Henderson would go on to be at his best in the post season with a slash line of .298/.376/.570 in 151 post-season at-bats.

He had some trouble getting national notice with the 1988-92 A’s loaded with stars, but his connection with fans was strong.

“Hendu’s Bad Boy Club’’ was a fixture in center field at the Coliseum from 1988-93, and occasionally he would spend time with its members after game. He made the All-Star team for the first and only time in 1991 with 18 homers and a slash line of .298/.378/.551 for the first half of a season when the A’s were struggling with injuries.

He played with the A’s through 1993, played the 1994 season in Kansas City then retired at 35, moving back to the Puget Sound after that. He did some radio and television work after that for the Mariners and his engaging personality made him a hit.

He never worked full time as a broadcaster, preferring instead to pick and choose his appearances, but Mariners fans found his insights and personality a winner.

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Parker avoids salary arbitration; is Kazmir next for A’s?

Jarrod Parker and the A's have agreed on a new $8.5 million deal that avoids salary arbitration.

Jarrod Parker and the A’s have agreed on a new $8.5 million deal that avoids salary arbitration.

The A’s have avoided salary arbitration with right-handed starter Jarrod Parker Saturday, agreeing with him on a one-year deal for $850,000, half of it guaranteed.

Meanwhile the A’s are waiting to hear back from lefty Scott Kazmir, a free agent who spent all of 2014 and the first half of 2015 pitching behind Sonny Gray at the top of the Oakland rotation. He’s a free agent, and is amenable to a return to Oakland.

At the same time, cbssports.com reported the Orioles, Dodgers and Royals all have competing offers out to Kazmir, who seems to be close to accepting a three-year deal from one of the four teams in the next few days.

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If Dodgers let Iwakuma go, A’s rotation might be in luck; both clubs (and Astros) remain interested in Scott Kazmir, too

If starter Hisashi Iwakuma becomes a free agent again, the A's might be able to land him at a reduced cost

If starter Hisashi Iwakuma becomes a free agent again, the A’s might be able to land him at a reduced cost

The A’s have been interested in adding more starting pitching without breaking the bank, and fate may have given them the chance to do just that.

Oakland hopes it is still in the running for former A’s starter Scott Kazmir, who was traded to Houston mid-season, but he’d come with a heftier price tag.

The Dodgers had agreed with former Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma on a three-year, $45 million deal, but according to Asahi Degital of Japan, the club has backed out of the deal after seeing the results of Iwakuma’s physical exam.

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A’s Manaea, Pinder named to AFL top prospects team

Two A’s minor league prospects, left-handed starting pitcher Sean Manaea and second baseman Chad Pinder, were named to the Arizona Fall League’s 2015 Top Prospects team Monday.

Manaea, picked up by Oakland when the A’s traded Ben Zobrist to Kansas City mid-season, led the AFL with 33 strikes and 11.57 strikeouts per nine innings. He was the East Division starter in the Nov. 7 Fall Stars Game, throwing two scoreless innings with four strikeouts and no hits allowed.

He is rated as MLB.com’s No. 3 A’s prospect and the No. 10 overall left-handed pitching prospect.

Pinder, who also played for Mesa Solar Sox this fall, hit four homers and divided his playing time between shortstop and second base while hitting .235.

Neither man is on the 40-man roster, but both are strong candidates to get invitations to spring training.

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Madson’s arrival bulks up bullpen heading into 2016

The A’s made yet another move as a prelude to Monday’s start of the annual Winter Meetings by getting hard-throwing right-handed reliever Ryan Madson to agree to terms on a three-year, $22 million contract.

Madson, the one-time Phillies closer who missed the 2012-14 seasons with injuries before coming back with a dominant season out of the Kansas City bullpen (2.13 ERA, 0.963 WHIP) mostly as a setup man, still needs to pass a physical exam before the deal is finalized, sources say. The deal was first reported by ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick.

After finishing 28th among the 30 Major League teams in ERA in 2015, Oakland has begun the rebuilding process with the addition of right-handed reliever Liam Hendriks, lefty Marc Rzepczynski and now Madson. At the same time, the A’s have cut ties with six of the men occasionally tasked with seventh- and eighth-inning setup work – Dan Otero, Edward Mujica, Eric O’Flaherty, Ryan Cook, Drew Pomeranz and Pat Venditte since the middle of last season.

General manager David Forst said this week that the bullpen continues to be a main focus of reconstruction as the A’s try to turn around after an American League-worst 68-94 record last season. Oakland had a composite ERA of 4.63 and a WHIP of 1.322, the team lost 35 one-run games and the relievers suffered 31 losses.

The A’s spent most of the 2015 season without closer Sean Doolittle, who pitched in just one game before Aug. 23. Oakland is looking for the left-handed Doolittle to close in 2016 with Madson as his primary setup man. However, the 6-foot-6 Madson, who got his velocity back into the mid-90s range with the Royals in 2015, has experience as a closer, saving 32 games in 2011 before injuries struck him down, posting a 2.37 ERA and a 1.157 WHIP.

“Arms are still a priority for us,’’ Forst told the Bay Area media this week in addressing the upcoming meetings. “There are some other conversations that have unfolded. There’s going to be plenty of conversation unfolding over the next 10 days.’’

Not only did Madson put up big numbers for the Royals in 2015, he threw in 68 games, his best total since 2009. That suggests his injury problems are behind him, although at age 35 pitchers historically tend of fall off some.

Because of that, there is a risk for the A’s in committing $22 million to an aging reliever who has been healthy for just one on the last four seasons. At the same time, the club couldn’t stand idly by with a bullpen that collapsed last year after three consecutive strong seasons. The A’s went into 2015 believe the bullpen would be its bedrock as a team, and it turned out to be quicksand instead.

 

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It’s reunion time for Alonso, Valencia in Oakland infield; Pomeranz surprised to leave, but not too surprised; A’s sign Fuld, Rzepczynski, Sogard & Lambo; Ike Davis not tendered

 

Yonder Alonso moves from Padres to A's with Wednesday's trade that sends Drew Pomeranz to San Diego

Yonder Alonso moves from Padres to A’s with Wednesday’s trade that sends Drew Pomeranz to San Diego

Yonder Alonso batted fifth and Danny Valencia fourth in college at Miami.

Alonso, a first baseman, will reunite with third baseman Valencia in the A’s lineup in 2016 after Oakland traded Drew Pomeranz, minor league lefty Jose Torres and a player to be named later for him. The A’s also got a lefty situational reliever in Mark Rzepczynski from the Padres in the deal.

“We’ve been playing together since high school,’’ Alonso said Wednesday. The two were on a traveling team in south Florida called the Florida Bombers, then later played together with the Hurricanes. “I hit fifth and he hit fourth. We went to the College World Series. Every time we’ve played together, we’ve won.’’

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