Tag Archive for Jesse Chavez

Monday, April 14th: Atherton Pitches Ports to Victory while Hounds & Snappers Get Postponed, Neal Gets Set to Join Cats & Jesse Chavez Goes for a Ride

 

A’s Farmhand Of The Day

Stockton Ports Pitcher Tim Atherton (6 IP / 6 H / 2 ER / 1 BB / 5 K / Win)

 Stockton Ports Pitcher Tim Atherton  (6 IP / 6 H / 2 ER / 1 BB / 5 K / Win)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Bakersfield Blaze  5

Stockton Ports   7

WP – Atherton 1-0 / 4.80

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Tim Atherton

(6 IP / 6 H / 2 ER / 1 BB / 5 K / Win)

RHP Tim Atherton was solid in his third start for Stockton on Monday, allowing 2 runs while striking out 5 in 6 innings of work to earn his 1st win for the Ports. RHP Tucker Healy gave up his 1st run of the season in 2 innings of relief, while RHP Nolan Sanburn surrendered 2 runs in the 9th. Third baseman Renato Nunez tripled and scored a run, while outfielder Bobby Crocker collected 3 hits, stole a base and drove in a run, designated hitter Ryon Healy singled, doubled and drove in a run, and second baseman Chad Pinder singled and drove in 3 runs for the Ports.

Click here for more on Midland, Beloit, Sacramento’s 5th starter & Jesse Chavez’s classic ride…

Spring Has Sprung!

Phoenix Muni

The A’s will be spending their last spring at Phoenix Municipal Stadium (photo via Kate Longworth’s twitter @KLongworthCSN)

As you may already know, A’s pitchers and catchers began reporting to the team’s spring training camp in Phoenix on Friday, with the team’s first workouts on Saturday. And there are already plenty of observations we can make about the major league team, as well as the minor league teams, at this point.

First of all, the A’s are still a very young team. On the 40-man roster, only two players – Coco Crisp and Nick Punto – were born before 1982, and only three of the team’s pitchers – Scott Kazmir, Jim Johnson and Jesse Chavez – will be over the age of 29 on opening day.

On Thursday, one day before pitchers and catchers began reporting to the A’s spring training camp in Phoenix, A’s assistant general manager David Forst told Bay Area radio station 95.7 The Game that he thought he knew what the A’s starting rotation was going to look like and mentioned Jarrod Parker, Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, A.J. Griffin and Dan Straily. That would make Tommy Milone the sixth starter in waiting at Sacramento, with recent acquisitions Josh Lindblom and Drew Pomeranz right behind him.

Returning River Cats Andrew Werner and Arnold Leon, along with minor-league free-agent signee Matt Buschmann, will be the top contenders for the remaining spots in the River Cats rotation, with former perfect-game hurler Phil Humber likely serving time in Sacramento’s bullpen. Last year, Humber made 10 relief appearances for the Astros and came into 13 games out of the bullpen for Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Midland’s top three starters from last season – Murphy Smith, Sean Murphy and Zach Neal – would be the next in line to take a step up should there be an issue with any of the previously-mentioned A’s or River Cats starters. If the three of them remain at Midland though, the top three candidates to join them in the RockHounds rotation will be Drew Granier, Raul Alcantara and Tanner Peters.

Billy Beane and Bob Melvin

Billy Beane and Bob Melvin overseeing the action Saturday in Phoenix (photo via Kate Longworth’s twitter @KLongworthCSN)

The 21-year-old Alcantara is the hottest young pitching prospect in the A’s system at the moment, and the team would like to see him start the season in the RockHounds rotation and then see where his talent takes him from there. But at this point, it’s clear that Alcantara could be a fast-riser.

Former bonus baby Michael Ynoa will probably be the other most closely watched young pitcher in the A’s camp this spring. He’s been throwing hard in Phoenix, but the key for him will just be staying healthy and staying on the mound. It’s still expected that he’ll start the season at Stockton. But if he starts out well, he should be due for a quick promotion to Midland.

As far as relievers go, A’s manager Bob Melvin was impressed with Evan Scribner’s and Fernando Nieve’s initial bullpen sessions in Phoenix, and both are likely to end up starting the season as key cogs in the River Cats bullpen, as long as Scribner can clear waivers anyway.

One of last year’s biggest objects of attention when camp opened, Japanese shortstop Hiro Nakajima, won’t be making any headlines in big league camp this time around though, since Nakajima will be spending his time in the A’s minor league camp this year. But another shortstop, top prospect Addison Russell – who appears on schedule to become the A’s starting shortstop in 2015 – will definitely be getting a good chance to show the A’s staff what he can do this spring in the big league camp.

 

Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir

Starting pitchers Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir take to the mound in Phoenix (photo via Jane Lee’s twitter @JaneMLB) 

 

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A’s Assistant GM David Forst on Top Prospects Russell & McKinney, Coco’s New Contract and What the A’s Expect from Reddick in 2014

DSC03126fAs part of A’s FanFest this past weekend, a few representatives of the A’s took some time out to attend a bloggers-only press conference at the Coliseum. First up was A’s assistant general manager David Forst who volunteered a generous bit of time to talk about some top major and minor league players for the A’s. We had the chance to ask him about two of the A’s most promising young players – shortstop Addison Russell and outfielder Billy McKinney. Forst clearly couldn’t be more excited about the prospects for Russell, and he’s definitely not the only one in the A’s front office who feels that way.

Earlier in the day, in a question-and-answer session at the Oracle Arena, A’s general manager Billy Beane lit up like a Christmas tree when the subject of Russell came up. He characterized the young shortstop as a special kind of player who doesn’t come along very often and said he was “knocking on the door.” The A’s GM went on to enthuse, “We’ve had some great young players come through the system, and we’re as excited about Addison as we have been about a lot of the guys…that went on to be stars. So he’s got a chance to be a really, really good player.”

In his session, Forst also talked about some of the team’s top young pitching prospects and shared some interesting insights on the A’s draft philosophy that has seen the team increasingly shift its focus to high school players in recent years. On the major league front, the assistant GM discussed the challenge of having to fill a number of holes in the offseason, Coco Crisp’s recent contract extension, what the team expects from Josh Reddick and John Jaso in 2014, and how the A’s expect to contend in a strengthened American League West and push themselves past the competition in the postseason. But A’s Farm started things off by asking Forst to share his take on the A’s most promising young player in the pipeline…

 

On A’s top prospect Addison Russell

I expect he’ll start the year at Midland. The thing that impressed me most about Addison last year, and there were obviously a lot…to see the way he kind of turned his season around…that tells me as much about Addison as a player as anything he did. You can go and watch him and see the power, see the swing, see the arm from the hole…with a guy like that, it’s really easy to see. But I remember having conversations in April with Todd Steverson, who at the time was our minor league hitting coordinator, and saying, “Hey, is this kid okay? Look, let him know we understand, he’s going to struggle.” And when I saw him myself in May, I said, “Hey, you’re not going to hit .200 forever – it’s just not going to happen.” I think he’s a confident kid, but anyone who spends a whole month doing that, there’s going to be a little bit of doubt. And within a couple weeks, he started to turn around. He’s going to hit, he’s going to have enough power for the middle of the diamond, he can throw from anywhere. There’s a reason he’s a top ten prospect in baseball. And to see him turn the season around, put everything together, and continue on into the [Arizona] Fall League, that’s a long year for anyone, particularly for a kid in his first full season…Everyone says we haven’t had a kid put it all together since Eric Chavez was there…and we’re going to see a lot of him in spring training. I know one of Bob Melvin’s main objectives is to get Addison a lot of reps because there’s no telling how soon he’s going to be here…You can see the tools and the ability, but when you spend time with him and you understand how much fun he has and how mentally strong he is, you really feel good about his chances going forward.

 

Billy McKinney: Following in Addison's footsteps.

Billy McKinney: Following in Addison’s footsteps.

On last year’s top draft pick Billy McKinney

I actually didn’t get to Arizona to see those guys. I saw Billy in March last year – I went to see him play in high school. There wasn’t a lot of consensus on the board last year in the draft room. It was just one of those years where we were picking so low that guys had different opinions. But by the time that we got down there, the nice thing was we did have a strong voice in Billy’s favor – and you always feel good about a pick when that happens. And he came out and hit the way we expected, sort of above what you’d expect for his years. He got a chance to go to Vermont and get his feet wet a little bit. And I know in Instructional League, he talked to [A’s farm director] Keith Lieppman and said, “Just so you know, I expect to follow Addison’s path and start in Stockton next year.” It’s nice to hear. You don’t put expectations on a kid like that, because we know how special Addison is, but we know he will go be with a full-season club. We know he can hit, he did a great job in center field, and we’re excited about Billy.

 

On the A’s recent shift to drafting top high school players like Russell and McKinney…

We didn’t like taking kids out of high school when the information was so limited. Things have evolved over the last ten years. These kids play in so many showcases – they play against the best competition in the country. We know so much more performance-wise about a high school kid than we did even five years ago, but particularly when the book (Moneyball) was written…Sure, you’re dealing with an extra three years of personal development, and any kid from the ages of 18 to 21 changes a lot…but I think we’ve gotten to the point where we are a lot more comfortable with what these kids show us on the field. Addison is from Pensacola, Florida. If he was only playing against kids in a 50-mile radius, then you’re not sure how he stacks up. But he went to California and played, he went to Texas and played, he went to Miami and played against all these kids. Billy did the same thing – he’s on that showcase circuit where you know how he stacks up against everybody in the country…When we didn’t take Mike Trout, it was because we thought, “this is a cold-weather kid from the northeast, we’re not sure how he stacks up against the rest of the country.” Well, if we’d stepped back to see that Mike did the same things and played those circuits and performed really well, we might have lined up our board differently. So really, it’s a different time with the high school kids. And if our scouts have seen a lot of them and they sort of check enough boxes, we feel really good about those guys – and Billy fell into that group.

 

Bobby Wahl: Will he be a fast riser?

Bobby Wahl: Will he be a fast riser?

On 2013 draft picks Dylan Covey and Bobby Wahl

Both Covey and Wahl were interesting conversations. Covey was a 1st-round pick in high school. Bobby was expected to potentially be a 1st-round guy, at least a top two guy. Both guys fell to an area where we paid over-slot for them because we wanted to, and we felt like both guys had some sort of marks against them that hurt their draft status. With Dylan, he never sort of performed the way people expected him to out of high school, but the stuff was always there and there was an upward trend in his college performance. And Bobby we knew had an injury history, but if we could get him healthy and keep him healthy, this was a 1st-round talent. So as far as the diversity of our draft portfolio, those guys fit really nicely after taking a guy like Billy [McKinney] in the 1st-round because they’re a little more advanced. And if they did stay healthy and kind of live up to what their pre-draft status was, you potentially have some top guys. And both guys went out and pitched great. Dylan obviously was able to make the jump to the Midwest League for a couple starts. But both those guys have a chance to start the year in Stockton, depending on how things shake out, and potentially move quickly because of their status as college players.

 

On the value of 1st-round draft picks and the recent trades of former 1st-rounders Grant Green and Michael Choice

The goal of a 1st-round pick is always to get them here. You never draft someone hoping just to create an asset to move. With Grant and with Michael, it sort of worked out that way. But it’s a lot more rewarding certainly when Sonny Gray pitches here or ultimately when Addison Russell does get here. That’s what you want out of your 1st-round pick. I won’t say that we’re sort of focused on any position ever in the 1st-round – we’re looking for the best player…I know there’s been a lot made of trading those guys. Throughout the farm system, we’ve moved a lot of players and, as such, we’re sort of in a position where we need to rebuild. But there’s never a specific goal with a 1st-round pick.

 

Craig "Kitten Face" Gentry: Just what the A's were looking for?

Craig “Kitten Face” Gentry: Just what the A’s were looking for?

On meeting the team’s key offseason needs…

When you look at our checklist at the end of October, replace Bartolo Colon, replace Grant Balfour, so you’ve got a starting pitcher and a closer. Craig Gentry was a guy we had been focused on for a long time who we just felt fit so well…with his ability to play all three outfield spots, running, hitting from the right side, so we sort of checked that one off…We added more pieces to the bullpen. We got some depth in the starting rotation with Josh Lindblom and Drew Pomeranz. These were all things that we sort of laid out in October. You just hope you can hit as many as possible.

 

On how the A’s expect to best the rest of the west in 2014…

We still feel like the make-up of the complete 25-man roster gives us a chance to repeat, and as great a job as Bob Melvin has done the last two years of managing that group – putting guys in the right spots, platooning, using the bullpen. We feel like from 1 to 25, we’re just as strong as we were, if not stronger than, the last two years. And certainly the bullpen – with adding Jim Johnson and Luke Gregerson to what was already an outstanding group, maybe potentially a full season of Dan Otero, and Jesse Chavez showed last year what he can do – that has to be a strength that we’re going to lean on a lot.

 

Jim Johnson: The $10 million man.

Jim Johnson: The A’s $10 million man.

On the effect of increased national TV revenue on the team’s spending…

There’s no doubt our payroll is going to be higher this year probably than ever, certainly in the time I’ve been here. You just have to do the math and see we’re significantly above where we were last year. And that’s what allowed us to go get Jim Johnson, knowing there’s going to be a $10 million price tag on him, and to sign Scott Kazmir, even a move like signing Eric O’Flaherty, where you’re only adding a little bit for this year. But we had already sort of bumped up against our number, and [managing partner] Lew Wolff and [team president] Mike Crowley were very open to what we were trying to do with Eric for half a season and then backload the money. So there’s no doubt that, whether it’s the TV money, the success of the team, all these things have gone into ownership being very open to increasing the bar and letting us do some things this offseason that we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.

 

On avoiding long-term contracts and Coco Crisp’s extension…

I think we’ve benefited a lot from the flexibility over the last few years. Obviously having added Coco in the last 24 hours, but other than Yoenis Cespedes and Scott Kazmir, there was nobody signed for 2015. We don’t necessarily want to recreate the team every year, because obviously the fans like the players that are here and we like the certainty of the guys that we know, but that we’ve given ourselves the ability to do it is a huge factor in our success. So to commit to a guy like Coco, obviously we know the guy, we know the player, he’s so important to what we do, and it was just an opportunity where we felt like this was the right dollar amount to commit to him beyond the next couple of years.

 

Josh Reddick: Hoping to reclaim his 2012 glory in 2014.

Josh Reddick: Will he reclaim his 2012 glory in 2014?

On expectations for Josh Reddick in 2014…

We certainly expect Josh to bounce back. I don’t think anybody knows fully how much his wrist affected him last year, and Josh will never ever admit it privately or publicly. But the fact is that he had that injury in Houston early in the year. And when you look at the difference in his numbers between 2012 and 2013, a player with his talent, you have to assume there’s something else going on. So we fully expect Josh to bounce back – and I fully expect to have him under contract hopefully sometime in the next couple weeks. But Josh adds so much with his defense alone that it’s hard to calculate his value to the team. And if he does get back to being the offensive player that we saw in 2012, he has the chance to carry this team at times.

 

On expectations for John Jaso’s return in 2014…

He’s coming to camp as a catcher. He’s cleared all exams. He’s had no setbacks with his physical activity. Look, you can’t predict how he reacts when he gets hit by a foul tip – that’s a medical issue. We did everything we could in terms of giving him the rest he needed and getting him to see the right people. But he comes into camp as a catcher – same situation with him and Derek Norris. The nice thing is Stephen Vogt sort of emerged last year in John’s absence, and that’s a great problem to have. If you end up having a roster with all three of those guys, they’re great options for the DH spot and the catching spot.

 

Nick Punto: He's been there, done that.

Nick Punto: He’s been there, done that.

On how he expects new additions like Scott Kazmir, Jim Johnson, Luke Gregerson and Nick Punto to help the A’s, particularly in the postseason…

Each of those guys we felt addressed, not necessarily a weakness, but somewhere we could get better. It’s hard to say how they specifically help us in the postseason, but anytime your pitching depth is strong – whether it’s with Kaz or Jim Johnson or Gregerson – you expect that to come into play in a tight postseason game. Nick has played in the postseason quite a bit, he’s been on winning teams, he knows a lot of the guys around the league. There’s no way that his experience isn’t going to help us when it comes down the stretch – it’s sort of subjective to say exactly what that is, but we’ve seen it before with players that we’ve brought in. So hopefully these guys fit as well as the group has the last two years. Ultimately, that’s what we’re trying to do is put that puzzle together to compete in September, and I think we have every reason to believe that these guys will fit.

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A’s & River Cats Roster Outlook

Scott Kazmir - the A's $22 million dollar man

Scott Kazmir – the $22 million dollar man

It appears that most of the A’s off-season work is done. The team has found capable replacements for departing free agents Bartolo Colon, Grant Balfour and Chris Young and filled a few other holes as well. It’s possible that someone like Alberto Callaspo, who’s set to earn close to $5 million and doesn’t have a full-time position, could still end up being traded before spring training is through. It’s possible that a few younger players with major league experience who are out of options like outfielder Michael Taylor or reliever Evan Scribner could be dealt as well. But for the most part, barring any unforeseen injury issues, it looks like the A’s are now holding most of the cards they’ll be playing to start the 2014 season. And it’s becoming increasingly clear who most of the players are that Sacramento River Cats fans can expect to be seeing at Raley Field in 2014 as well.

 

2014 OAKLAND A’S

One area that seems to be most clearly set for the team is the outfield, with Josh Reddick in right, Coco Crisp in center, Yoenis Cespedes in left and newcomer Craig Gentry serving as the fourth outfielder. The left side of the infield will also remain in place for the A’s, with the team’s most valuable player in 2014, Josh Donaldson, manning the hot corner and the team’s best-hitting shortstop in recent memory, Jed Lowrie, returning to shortstop.

The other four positions in the lineup – second base, first base, catcher and designated hitter – are the areas where the A’s will deploy their patented platoons. Free agent infielder Nick Punto is likely to take over for Adam Rosales and Callaspo as Eric Sogard’s platoon partner at second base. And based on manager Bob Melvin’s comments, it seems like that might push Callaspo into the role of Brandon Moss’s platoon partner at first base, which would then push Nate Freiman to Sacramento along with fellow first baseman Daric Barton.

Craig "Kitten Face" Gentry

Craig “Kitten Face” Gentry

Melvin’s recent comments also make it sound like John Jaso is likely to get most of the DH at-bats, replacing the departed Seth Smith in that position, while against left-handers, Craig Gentry would join the lineup in left field with Yoenis Cespedes moving into the DH spot. With Jaso getting most of the DH at-bats, that requires the A’s to carry a third catcher, and that’s most likely to be Stephen Vogt, who got plenty of valuable experience last year down the stretch and in the postseason for the A’s. And his left-handed bat is the perfect complement to righty-swinging backstop Derek Norris, who hit just .149 against right-handed pitching last year.

Basically, Vogt would be replacing Jaso in the catching platoon, just as he did late last year, with Jaso moving out from behind the plate to replace Seth Smith in the DH platoon, while Punto replaces Callaspo in the second base platoon, Callaspo replaces Freiman in the first place platoon and Craig Gentry takes Chris Young’s place in the lineup against left-handers.

As far as the pitching staff goes, the plan seems pretty clear. Free agent lefty Scott Kazmir will take over for Bartolo Colon as the veteran presence in the team’s starting rotation, while young righty Sonny Gray appears set to take lefty Tommy Milone’s spot in the rotation, just as he did late last season, with Jarrod Parker, A.J. Griffin and Dan Straily rounding out the starting five.

Meanwhile, in the bullpen, Jim Johnson will take over for Grant Balfour as the team’s closer, while top-notch setup man Luke Gregerson will take the roster spot that Pat Neshek occupied most of last season and lefty Fernando Abad is likely to take Jerry Blevins’ spot on the left side of the bullpen, with fellow lefty Sean Doolittle and righties Ryan Cook, Jesse Chavez and Dan Otero rounding out the rest of the A’s bullpen – though it’s possible that, since he’s out of options, the team could also decide to have Evan Scribner take Otero’s spot to start the season. The A’s will also likely start the season with two relievers who are both recovering from Tommy John surgery on the disabled list – recently-signed free agent lefty Eric O’Flaherty and righty Fernando Rodriguez, who was acquired from the Astros in the Jed Lowrie deal.

 

2014 SACRAMENTO RIVER CATS

If we make the preceding assumptions about the major league roster, then the River Cats roster starts to fall pretty clearly into place. Of course, there are a few players who are out of options, and it’s quite possible that at least one of them won’t end up clearing waivers.

Daric Barton: Back in River City?

Daric Barton: Back in River City?

The A’s have two veteran minor league catchers to handle the River Cats pitching staff, returning backstop Luke Montz along with Chris Gimenez, who was recently claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay. Meanwhile, the team looks to be overloaded with first basemen, with Daric Barton, Nate Freiman and Anthony Aliotti all looking for playing time – unless the A’s end up trading Callaspo and opening up a roster spot for Freiman as Brandon Moss’s platoon partner. If not, there could still be plenty of playing time to be found for all three between the first base and the designated hitter spot.

Returning River Cat Andy Parrino appears to be set at shortstop. Hiro Nakajima is likely to get the majority of starts at third base while also picking up at-bats at other positions around the infield, while free agent signees Jose Martinez and Alden Carrithers should get most of the playing time at second base. Shane Peterson is set to return to Sacramento’s outfield, along with Jake Goebbert and, if they clear waivers, veteran minor leaguers Michael Taylor and Corey Brown (who was recently designated for assignment).

The River Cats should have plenty of worthy contenders for their starting rotation. If the A’s other five starters are all healthy to start the season, then Tommy Milone is likely to anchor Sacramento’s starting five, along with recently-acquired righty Josh Lindblom and lefty Drew Pomeranz. Returning River Cats Andrew Werner and Arnold Leon will also be competing for a spot as well as free agent signees Phil Humber and Matt Buschmann, with those don’t make the rotation starting the season in the River Cats bullpen. If he clears waivers, they’re likely to be joined there by Evan Scribner, along with returning River Cats Paul Smyth and Fernando Nieve and free agent signees Deryk Hooker and Jose Flores as well as Triple-A Rule 5 draftee Tim Atherton.

So that’s how things seem to be shaping up for both the A’s and the River Cats, assuming everyone clears waivers and Billy Beane doesn’t have any last-minute surprises up his sleeve!

Click here to see the projected 2014 A’s and River Cats rosters…

A’s Eager to Deal Prospects to Win Now!

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Billy Beane’s been a busy boy!

A’s general manager Billy Beane has had a busy week – and it ain’t over yet! On Monday, the team signed free agent left-handed starting pitcher Scott Kazmir to a two-year $22 million deal. And later that same day, the A’s acquired right-handed closer Jim Johnson from Baltimore in return for second baseman Jemile Weeks and a player to be named later.

Then on Tuesday, the team traded two of its top minor league prospects, outfielder Michael Choice and second baseman Chris Bostick, to Texas for outfielder Craig Gentry and right-handed starter Josh Lindblom. The A’s then followed that up just hours later by sending outfielder Seth Smith to San Diego for right-handed reliever Luke Gregerson.

Just the previous week, the team dealt minor league outfielder John Wooten to Washington for left-handed reliever Fernando Abad. And two weeks prior to that, the A’s signed utility infielder Nick Punto as a free agent.

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Craig “Kitten Face” Gentry

The A’s new outfielder, Craig Gentry – who was nicknamed “Kitten Face” in Texas – is a right-handed hitting outfielder who can play all three outfield positions. He brings excellent defense and speed and hits lefties well, so he figures to take Chris Young’s place as a right-handed platoon player and fourth outfielder who could take over full time in center field for the A’s when Coco Crisp becomes a free agent after next season.

In order to acquire Gentry, the A’s gave up their top outfield prospect, who also happened to be the team’s top major-league-ready hitting prospect, former 1st-round draft pick Michael Choice. After hitting .302 at Triple-A Sacramento in 2013, many had hoped that Choice would be given the chance to fill Young’s role on the A’s roster in 2014. But instead, he’ll get the chance to battle for a starting spot in the Rangers’ outfield this season.

Top talent evaluators are divided on Choice’s chances for success as a major league slugger. But the A’s have a history of undervaluing and trading away talented young outfielders who’ve gone on to become successful major league hitters elsewhere. And A’s fans have to hope that Choice doesn’t turn out to be the next Andre Ethier, Nelson Cruz or Carlos Gonzalez in Texas.

With Choice now gone, Shane Peterson and Michael Taylor are now the most major-league-ready outfielders at the upper levels of the A’s minor league system, while 20-year-old B.J. Boyd and 19-year-old Billy McKinney are the team’s top outfield prospects at the lower levels of the system.

The A’s also traded away their top second base prospect, Chris Bostick, in the deal. And it looks increasingly likely that shortstop Daniel Robertson might have to try to make the move to second base to provide a future double play partner for top shortstop prospect Addison Russell. With fellow second baseman Jemile Weeks now gone as well, Sacramento’s 2014 infield could be comprised of Daric Barton or Anthony Aliotti at first base, minor league free agent signee Jose Martinez at second base, Andy Parrino at shortstop, Hiro Nakajima at third base and Dusty Coleman as the utility infielder filling in at second, short and third.

Meanwhile, RHP Josh Lindblom is likely to start the season in Sacramento’s starting rotation, along with River Cats returnees Arnold Leon and Andrew Werner as well as recent minor league free agent signees Phil Humber and Matt Buschmann.

Scott Kazmir - the $22 million dollar man

Scott Kazmir – the $22 million dollar man

At the major league level, new acquisitions Scott Kazmir and Jim Johnson are clearly intended to take the place of free agents Bartolo Colon and Grant Balfour on the A’s pitching staff. With Kazmir guaranteed $11 million this season, Johnson expected to net $10-11 million in arbitration and seven starting pitchers currently on the staff, the A’s second-highest-paid starter, Brett Anderson at $8 million, is expected to be the A’s most appetizing bit of a trade bait to be dangled at next week’s Winter Meetings. And rumors already have the Blue Jays, Twins, Royals, Yankees, Indians and Mariners licking their lips over the left-hander.

Assuming the A’s are able to complete a deal for Anderson, the team’s 2014 rotation would then be comprised of five of the following six starters: Scott Kazmir, Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone, A.J. Griffin, Dan Straily and Sonny Gray. Given the general health of starting pitchers, it wouldn’t be surprising if one out of any group of six starters wasn’t 100% healthy to start the season, so I wouldn’t bother spending too much time worrying about which five of the six will end up making the opening day cut – it’ll surely sort itself out by the end of spring.

As far as the A’s bullpen goes, new closer Jim Johnson, who has saved at least 50 games in each of the last two seasons, and new RHP Luke Gregerson, who has been one of the best setup men in the National League over the past couple of years, are set to join LHPs Sean Doolittle and Jerry Blevins and RHPs Ryan Cook and Jesse Chavez, who is out options and whom the A’s value as a long man and spot starter.

Since the team typically likes to carry seven relievers, there’s room for one more arm in the A’s pen, and RHP Dan Otero is clearly the most deserving candidate for the final spot. But since Fernando Abad, Evan Scribner, Pedro Figueroa and Fernando Rodriguez are all out of options, it’s possible that Otero could start the season being stashed at Sacramento, waiting for someone to hit the DL while one of the others is given a shot.

Over the past week and a half, the A’s farm system has suffered the loss of outfielder Michael Choice, second baseman Jemile Weeks, second baseman Chris Bostick and outfielder John Wooten. And in the last six months, the team lost its 2007 #1 draft pick James Simmons as a minor league free agent and traded away 2008’s #1 pick Jemile Weeks, 2009’s #1 pick Grant Green and 2010’s #1 pick Michael Choice. 2011’s #1 pick Sonny Gray has already made it to the majors, while 2012’s #1 pick Addison Russell should be starting the season at Double-A Midland and 2013’s #1 pick Billy McKinney is expected to start the year at Class-A Beloit.

baanderson_brett2

Brett Anderson – next up on the trading block?

As previously mentioned, LHP Brett Anderson is the most likely member of the A’s roster to be the next one to find himself on Billy Beane’s trading block, with infielder Alberto Callaspo not far behind. With six other starters on the staff, a long injury history and an $8 million salary attached to his name, Anderson is clearly expendable. And with a salary close to $5 million and no definite spot in the A’s lineup, Callaspo seems to just be taking up roster and salary space at this point.

Outfielders Seth Smith, Chris Young and Michael Choice have all recently departed, with Craig Gentry being the only outfielder the A’s have acquired to take their place. So it certainly seems like there could be room for one more big OF/DH bat to be added to the A’s lineup to help boost the team’s offensive output, possibly as the result of an Anderson deal.

It’s also been reported that the A’s have been inquiring about middle infielders and catchers in trade talks for Anderson. So the team could be looking for a second baseman to take the place of Eric Sogard, or a shortstop who would then enable Jed Lowrie to make the move to second, or possibly a catcher who would allow John Jaso to take over for Seth Smith in the designated hitter role.

The A’s major league roster currently shapes up with Jaso and Norris as the catching platoon, Donaldson, Lowrie, Sogard, Punto, Moss and Freiman serving around the infield, and Cespedes, Crisp, Reddick and Gentry making up the outfield. Since the team typically likes to carry thirteen position players, that leaves one last roster spot open. At this point, it would most likely be filled by Callaspo. But if he ends up being traded, then it would be Barton, unless, of course, the A’s acquire another big bat who would end up pushing Barton back to Sacramento.

With all the current question marks, one thing seems certain – Beane and company aren’t done dealing just yet, and the A’s roster is far from set. There are surely more changes to come. But for the time being, here’s how things are shaping up for the 2014 A’s and River Cats, assuming everyone who’s out of options can clear waivers.

Click here to see the possible 2014 A’s and River Cats rosters…

Sunday, May 5th: Hounds & Ports Win while Cats Fall and Ynoa Looks Sharp in Snappers Loss

 

A’s Farmhand Of The Day

Midland RockHounds’ Pitcher Murphy Smith (7 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 4 K)

Midland RockHounds’ RHP Murphy Smith (7 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 4 K)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Las Vegas 51s                  6

Sacramento River Cats  2

LP – Chavez 2-2 / 2.70

HR – Horton (1)

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Farmhand Of The Game:

Third Baseman Josh Horton

(Home Run / 2 RBIs)

 

Starter Jesse Chavez allowed 4 runs, 2 earned, on 8 hits over 6 2/3 innings to take the loss on Sunday. Third baseman Josh Horton had 2 hits, including a 2-run homer in the 7th inning to account for all of the River Cats’ scoring on the day, while outfielder Michael Choice and designated hitter Ryan Ortiz collected a pair of hits apiece. Shortstop Hiro Nakajima missed his second straight game after his debut on Friday and will be reevaluated in Oakland on Monday.

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Frisco RoughRiders        4

Midland RockHounds  5

WP – Newby 1-3 / 2.20

HR – Barfield (6)

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Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Murphy Smith

(7 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 4 K)

 

Starter Murphy Smith had another solid start on Sunday, allowing 3 runs, just 1 earned, on 5 hits over 7 innings. The right-hander was set to earn the win until Frisco scored a run off RHP Kyler Newby in the 8th inning. But outfielder Chad Oberacker drove in shortstop Dusty Coleman in the bottom of the 9th to allow Newby to pick up his 1st win of the season. Outfielder Jeremy Barfield clubbed a 3-run homer to put Midland on the board in the 1st.

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Visalia Rawhide   1

Stockton Ports  7

WP – Walz 3-0 / 4.76

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Farmhand Of The Game:

Shortstop Wade Kirkland

(Double / 2 RBIs)

 

After being demoted from Midland, RHP Sergio Perez allowed just 1 hit over 3 scoreless innings in his first start for Stockton on Sunday. LHP Omar Duran contributed 3 perfect innings in relief, while RHP T.J. Walz struck out 3 in 2 scoreless innings to pick his 3rd win. Shortstop Wade Kirkland and outfielder Dusty Robinson each had 2 hits and drove in a pair of runs. And catcher Phil Pohl, making his debut for Stockton, had a pair of hits and a pair of walks to reach base in his first 4 plate appearances for the Ports.

 

MIDWEST LEAGUE  (Class-A)

Beloit Snappers  4

Lansing Lugnuts    5

LP – Healy 0-1 / 2.25

Michael Ynoa

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Michael Ynoa

(4 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 4 K)

 

Starter Michael Ynoa had his most impressive outing yet for Beloit, allowing 3 hits while walking none and striking out 4 over 4 scoreless innings of work on Sunday. In his first appearance with Beloit since being demoted from Stockton, RHP Andres Avila gave up 2 runs on 5 hits in 3 innings of relief, and RHP Tucker Healy took the loss after allowing 3 unearned runs to score in the bottom of the 8th inning. Third baseman Renato Nunez, who made 3 errors on Saturday, made a pair of errors in the 8th on Sunday to now give him a total of 9 on the season. And shortstop Daniel Robertson continued his hot hitting, collecting 3 more hits to raise his average to .448.

 

Monday’s Games:

Las Vegas @ Sacramento – 7:05pm PT

Frisco @ Midland – 4:30pm PT / 6:30pm CT

Visalia @ Stockton – 7:05pm PT

Beloit @ Lansing – 4:05pm PT / 6:05pm CT

 

 

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm to keep up with all the news down on the farm!

Tuesday, April 30th: Ortiz’s HR in 10th Leads Ports to Victory while Cats & Snappers Win and Hounds Get Blanked

 

A’s Farmhand Of The Day

Sacramento River Cats’ Third Baseman Scott Moore (3 for 4 / Double / 5 RBIs)

Sacramento River Cats’ 3B Scott Moore (3 for 4 / Double / 5 RBIs)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Sacramento River Cats  10

Fresno Grizzlies                  2

WP – Chavez 2-1 / 2.70

HR – Vogt (6), Barton (3)

Scott Moore

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Third Baseman Scott Moore

(3 for 4 / Double / 5 RBIs)

 

RHP Jesse Chavez returned to Sacramento and delivered another solid outing for the River Cats, allowing 2 runs over 5 innings to earn his 2nd win, while RHPs Mike Ekstrom and Darren Byrd combined for 4 scoreless innings in relief. Third baseman Scott Moore had a big night, collecting 3 hits, including a double, and drove in 5 runs, including the go-ahead run for the River Cats.

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Midland RockHounds  0

Corpus Christi Hooks      1

LP – Smith 3-3 / 2.04

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Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Murphy Smith

(6 2/3 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 5 K)

 

Starter Murphy Smith had another impressive outing for Midland, allowing just 1 run over 6 2/3 innings, but he still ended up taking the loss as the RockHounds were held scoreless. Midland managed only 6 hits, 2 of them off the bat of hot-hitting outfielder Jake Goebbert.

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Rancho Cucamonga Quakes  5

Stockton Ports                      6

WP – Joseph 3-0 / 1.29

HR – Ortiz (3)

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Farmhand Of The Game:

Catcher Ryan Ortiz

(2 for 3 / Home Run)

 

RHP Andres Avila had another rocky outing for Stockton, allowing 5 runs on 9 hits over 4 2/3 innings on Tuesday, but LHP Omar Duran and RHPs Pedro Vidal and Jonathan Joseph, who picked up the win, combined for 5 1/3 scoreless innings of relief. Shortstop Addison Russell, who’s been heating up of late, went 2 for 3 with a triple and drove in 2 runs. And with the game tied in the bottom of the 10th inning, catcher Ryan Ortiz clubbed a home run to give the Ports the win.

 

MIDWEST LEAGUE  (Class-A)

West Michigan Whitecaps  5

Beloit Snappers              9

WP – Lamb 1-0 / 2.25

HR – Nunez (5)

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Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Brett Vertigan

(3 for 5 / 2 Doubles / 3 RBIs)

 

Former top prospect Michael Ynoa allowed 1 run on 1 hit while walking 2 and striking out 2 over 3 innings of work on Tuesday. LHP Chris Lamb tossed 2 scoreless innings to pick up his 1st win, and RHP Tucker Healy got the final 6 outs to post his 1st save. Outfielder Brett Vertigan collected 3 hits, including 2 doubles, and drove in 3 runs, while third baseman Renato Nunez hit his 5th home run, and first baseman Matt Olson, who’s been coming on strong of late, had a pair of hits, including a double, for the Snappers.

You can see Matt Olson’s sweet home run swing from Monday’s game below, courtesy of @TommyECook from www.shadowsofwrigley.com. And you can check out Tommy’s scouting report on Beloit prospects Matt Olson, Daniel Robertson, Renato Nunez and others here: http://www.shadowsofwrigley.com/2013/04/30/west-michigan-whitecaps-beloit-snappers-429-430-recap/

 

 

Wednesday’s Games:

Sacramento @ Fresno – 7:05pm PT

Midland @ Corpus Christi – 5:05pm PT / 7:05pm CT

Rancho Cucamonga @ Stockton – 7:05pm PT

Beloit @ Great Lakes – 4:05pm PT / 6:05pm CT

 

 

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm to keep up with all the news down on the farm!

Monday, April 15th: Cats Ride Chavez’s Arm & Choice’s Bat to Victory while Hounds & Ports Both Fall

 

A’s Farmhand Of The Day

Sacramento River Cats’ Pitcher Jesse Chavez (7 IP / 6 H / 2 ER / 0 BB / 9 K / Win)

Sacramento River Cats’ Pitcher Jesse Chavez  (7 IP / 6 H / 2 ER / 0 BB / 9 K / Win)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Sacramento River Cats  7

Reno Aces                         3

WP – Chavez 1-1 / 2.45

HR – Choice (4)

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Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Jesse Chavez

(7 IP / 6 H / 2 ER / 0 BB / 9 K / Win)

 

Starter Jesse Chavez had another solid outing for Sacramento, allowing 2 runs while walking none and striking out 9 to earn the win, and RHP Mike Ekstrom gave up a run in 2 innings of relief to pick up his 2nd save. Outfielder Michael Choice hit his 4th home run, his 3rd in the last 2 days, and drove in 3 runs for the River Cats.

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Arkansas Travelers       12

Midland RockHounds  4

LP – Leon 1-1 / 7.27

HR – Head (2), Goebbert (1)

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Farmhand Of The Game:

Designated Hitter Miles Head

(Home Run / 2 RBIs)

 

After making a stunning debut in his first start for Midland, RHP Arnold Leon struggled mightily in his second outing, allowing 9 runs, 7 earned, on 10 hits over 3 2/3 innings to take the loss. Designated hitter Miles Head hit his 2nd home run and outfielder Jake Goebbert slugged his 1st for the RockHounds.

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Stockton Ports   6

San Jose Giants  12

LP – Hassebrock 0-1 / 8.49

HR – Lamas (1)

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Farmhand Of The Game:

Second Baseman Antonio Lamas

(Home Run / 3 RBIs)

 

Starter Blake Hassebrock had a tough time of it on Monday, allowing 9 runs, 7 earned, on 8 hits over just 2 2/3 innings to take the loss. Second baseman Antonio Lamas hit a 3-run homer, his 1st for the Ports, while outfielder Josh Whitaker had 2 hits and drove in a pair of runs in the loss.

 

MIDWEST LEAGUE  (Class-A)

Burlington Bees

Beloit Snappers

(POSTPONED)

 

Tuesday’s Games:

Sacramento @ Las Vegas – 7:05pm PT

Arkansas @ Midland – 4:30pm PT / 6:30pm CT

Stockton @ San Jose – 7:00pm PT

Game #1 – KaneCounty @ Beloit – 2:00pm PT / 4:00pm CT

Game #2 – KaneCounty @ Beloit

 

 

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm to keep up with all the news down on the farm!

Wednesday, April 10th: Delgado Drives Ports to Victory in Extras while Cats Drop Third Straight

 

A’s Farmhand Of The Day

Stockton Ports' Catcher Ryan Delgado (Game-Winning Home Run)

Stockton Ports’ Catcher Ryan Delgado (Game-Winning Home Run)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Tacoma Rainiers               7

Sacramento River Cats  4

LP – Norberto 0-1 / 40.50

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Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Shane Peterson

(4 for 5 / Double / RBI)

 

Outfielder Shane Peterson had 4 hits, catcher Stephen Vogt had 3 hits, and outfielder Michael Taylor, second baseman Grant Green and Jemile Weeks, making his first start at shortstop, had 2 hits apiece. But the 16 hits by the River Cats weren’t enough on Wednesday. RHP Jesse Chavez allowed 3 runs on 9 hits over 6 1/3 innings of work and left the game with the lead, but LHP Jordan Norberto allowed 5 straight batters to reach base, 4 of whom scored, without ever recording an out to take the loss as the River Cats dropped their third straight.

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

San Jose Giants  3

Stockton Ports  4

WP – Joseph 1-0 / 3.00

HR – Muncy (4), Delgado (2)

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Farmhand Of The Game:

Catcher Ryan Delgado

(Game-Winning Home Run)

 

In his second start of the season, RHP Blake Hassebrock allowed 2 runs on 5 hits while walking 4 and striking out 7 over 4 1/3 innings on Wednesday. Designated hitter Max Muncy’s 4th home run of the year provided the Ports’ only scoring until the 9th inning, when Stockton scored 2, thanks to a double by Muncy followed by RBI singles by catcher Ryan Ortiz and second baseman Antonio Lamas, to tie the game. With 2 outs in the bottom of the 13th inning, catcher Ryan Delgado slammed a walk-off solo shot to end the game. RHP Pedro Vidal threw 3 scoreless innings in relief and RHP Jonathan Joseph struck out 4 over 2 scoreless innings to earn the win. In other news, shortstop Addison Russell was placed on the 7-day disabled list retroactive to April 7.

 

MIDWEST LEAGUE  (Class-A)

Beloit Snappers

Peoria Chiefs

(POSTPONED)

 

Thursday’s Games:

Tacoma @ Sacramento – 7:05pm PT

NW Arkansas @ Midland – 5:00pm PT / 7:00pm CT

Stockton @ Bakersfield – 7:15pm PT

Burlington @ Beloit – 4:30pm PT / 6:30pm CT

 

 

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm to keep up with all the news down on the farm!

Friday, April 5th: Aliotti & Thompson Lead Hounds & Ports to Victory, while Ynoa Makes Debut in Snappers Loss and Defense Undoes Cats

 

A’s Farmhand Of The Day

Midland RockHounds’ First Baseman Anthony Aliotti (4 for 4 / Home Run / Double / 3 RBIs)

Midland RockHounds’ First Baseman Anthony Aliotti (4 for 4 / Home Run / Double / 3 RBIs) 

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Las Vegas 51s                  9

Sacramento River Cats  3

LP – Chavez 0-1 / 0.00

HR – Taylor (1)

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Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Michael Taylor

(2 for 4 / Home Run)

 

Poor defense undermined the River Cats and Sacramento starter Jesse Chavez on Friday. With the bases loaded and 2 outs in the 3rd inning, errors by shortstop Andy Parrino and outfielder Michael Choice opened the door for 5 runs to score, and those were the only runs that Chavez would allow in his 5 innings of work. Outfielder Michael Taylor had 2 hits, including a home run, outfielder Michael Choice had a pair of hits and drove in a run, and third baseman Scott Moore doubled in a run in the loss. And for the second straight night, Grant Green got the start at second base with Jemile Weeks serving as the designated hitter.

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Midland RockHounds  10

NW Arkansas Naturals     3

WP – Smyth 1-0 / 0.00

HR – Aliotti (1), Barfield (1)

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Farmhand Of The Game:

First Baseman Anthony Aliotti

(4 for 4 / Home Run / Double / 3 RBIs)

 

For the second night in a row, the RockHounds’ lineup put double digits up on the scoreboard. First baseman Anthony Aliotti led the attack, going 4 for 4 with a home run, a double and 3 RBIs, while outfielder Jeremy Barfield homered and outfielder Chad Oberacker tripled and drove in 3 runs. RHP Zach Neal, making his first start for Midland, gave up just 1 hit in 4 scoreless innings, but RHP Paul Smyth struck out 4 in 2 2/3 innings to pick up the win.

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Bakersfield Blaze  2

Stockton Ports   4

WP – Walz 1-0 / 0.00

HR – Delgado (1), Thompson (1)

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Farmhand Of The Game:

Designated Hitter Tony Thompson

(Home Run / 2 RBIs)

 

Stockton trailed by a run heading into the bottom of the 7th inning, when catcher Ryan Delgado homered to tie the game. Designated hitter Tony Thompson then hit a 2-run homer in the 8th to give the Ports the lead. Starter Blake Hassebrock allowed 2 runs while walking none and striking out 5 in 4 2/3 innings of work, but RHP T.J. Walz tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings to pick up the win, and RHP Jonathan Joseph got the final 3 outs for the save. Second baseman Wade Kirkland had a pair of hits and shortstop Addison Russell went 1 for 4 with a walk and a strikeout.

 

MIDWEST LEAGUE  (Class-A)

Beloit Snappers         2

Cedar Rapids Kernels  3

LP – Pudenz 0-1 / 54.00

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Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Dakota Bacus

(5 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 9 K)

 

In his first start of the season for Beloit, former top prospect Michael Ynoa allowed a long home run to the first batter he faced – last year’s 2nd overall draft pick, Byron Buxton – that left the park. He settled down after that though and exited the game after having allowed just 1 hit and 1 run while walking 2 and striking out 1 in 3 innings of work. He was relieved by RHP Dakota Bacus who struck out 9 in 5 innings of relief, but RHP Stuart Pudenz gave up 2 runs in the 9th to take the loss. Catcher Bruce Maxwell, first baseman Matt Olson and outfielder Aaron Shipman had the Snappers’ only 3 hits on the night.

 

Saturday’s Games:

Las Vegas @ Sacramento – 7:05pm PT

Midland @ NW Arkansas – 5:00pm PT / 7:00pm CT

Bakersfield @ Stockton – 7:05pm PT

Beloit @ Cedar Rapids – 12:05pm PT / 2:05pm CT

 

 

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm to keep up with all the news down on the farm!