The App is Back! Don’t forget to download the NBC Sports EDGE app to receive real-time player news, mobile alerts and track your favorite players. Plus, now you can check out articles and player cards. Get it here!
If you haven’t been paying close attention to the transactions and chatter from the first official week of the 2021-2022 offseason, a lead story so far is that the Athletics will be doing a lot of selling -- and very little buying -- over the course of what could be a somewhat depressing baseball winter in general.
The A's already declined a relatively inexpensive club option on late-inning reliever Jake Diekman, and they allowed longtime manager Bob Melvin to take his talents to San Diego as part of an apparent cost-cutting measure.
At the annual GM Meetings on Tuesday in Carlsbad, California, general manager David Forst confirmed to Jon Heyman of MLB Network and other reporters present that the phone lines are open for other moves that would decrease payroll. “This is the cycle for the A’s,” said Forst. “We have to listen and be open to whatever comes out of this. This is our lot in Oakland until it’s not.”
Inspiring words for the fanbase with the talk of relocation to Las Vegas growing louder by the day. Any player due for a raise via salary arbitration could be on the trade block. That list includes Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Ramon Laureano, Sean Manaea, Chris Bassitt, Frankie Montas, Sean Murphy, Chad Pinder, Lou Trivino, and Tony Kemp. So, yeah, a good chunk of the 26-man roster, some of them hugely important players.
Olson, specifically, has already been tied to the Yankees. And you can bet that any team searching for rotation help -- which teams aren’t searching for rotation help? -- will be in touch about the asking price for Manaea, Bassitt, and/or Montas.
The ongoing MLB/MLBPA negotiations toward a new collective bargaining agreement will soon take center stage and could delay most of the big-ticket deals, but it’s a safe bet whatever happens that the A’s will look far different -- and probably be far less competitive -- in 2022 than what we saw in 2021. It was an 86-win season, and they weren't eliminated from postseason contention until September 29.
Expect significant fantasy fallout from a wide range of areas.
Editor’s Note: Play for FREE! Download the NBC Sports Predictor app, make picks and win huge, weekly jackpots. Get started here!
France At First In Seattle
In another corner of the American League West activity at the GM Meetings, Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto told the gathered media on Tuesday that Ty France -- not Evan White -- will be the team’s starting first baseman leading into the 2022 regular season.
White appeared in only 30 games in 2021 due to a hip flexor injury that eventually snowballed into labrum repair surgery, but he has restarted all baseball activities and is expected to have a normal offseason. The problem is not health, it's offensive production -- the 25-year-old former top prospect owns a wretched .165/.235/.308 batting line in 306 total plate appearances since making his MLB debut on Opening Day in 2020.
Along with the hitting homework that White has surely been assigned for the winter months, Dipoto has also requested that he get comfortable playing left field. Some added versatility could help his case to stick on the roster in the short and long term. White is a very athletic defensive player, to his credit.
France, meanwhile, is building a strong profile as a mid-round sleeper in fantasy drafts for the 2022 campaign. He has slashed .294/.368/.449 (.817 OPS) with 22 home runs and 96 RBI in 195 games since the beginning of 2020 while appearing at three different positions and DH. His strikeout percentage of 16.3 was 33rd-best among qualified MLB hitters this year, and his power metrics are encouraging too. At age 27 -- 28 next July -- there might be more upside to unlock.
Quick Hits: Jim Bowden of The Athletic reports that the Yankees are "in conversation" with the agents for Corey Seager and Carlos Correa … According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, former Nationals assistant general manager Adam Cromie has a "real shot" to be the Mets' next general manager … Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said Tuesday that the team will try to re-sign Kyle Schwarber … Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that the Angels are already showing interest in free agent left-handers Robbie Ray and Eduardo Rodriguez … Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters Tuesday that he has been in touch with the agent for Anthony Rizzo … White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said he's not ruling out the return of Carlos Rodon … Luis Robert is fully recovered from the right leg tightness that forced his early exit from ALDS Game 4 against the Astros … Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto confirmed Tuesday that his team has genuine interest in Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki … Free agent right-hander Carlos Martinez (thumb) is planning to pitch for Aguilas Cibaenas in the Dominican Winter League … Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that Athletics third base coach Mark Kotsay is a confirmed candidate for the team's managerial opening … Phillies president Dave Dombrowski said Tuesday that infield prospect Bryson Stott will have a shot to make the Opening Day roster in 2022 … Justin Dunn (shoulder) has been cleared for a normal offseason … DJ Stewart (knee) is expected to begin some baseball activities in January … David Bote recently underwent surgery on his left shoulder … Sam Huff was pulled out of the Arizona Fall League due to a minor tweak of his surgically-repaired right knee … Giants promoted Mark Hallberg to third base coach … Joshua Fuentes has elected to become a free agent … Nationals re-signed left-hander Alberto Baldonado to a minor league contract … Indians re-signed outfielder Oscar Gonzalez to a minor league contract.