At today’s press conference announcing his two-year extension with the Athletics, manager Bob Melvin acknowledged to reporters, including CSN Bay Area’s Joe Stiglich, that he recognizes the significance of being granted an extension despite the club’s last place standing. “It’s not lost on me that during a year like this, these are things that don’t typically happen, and I’m very fortunate and appreciative of that,” said Melvin. “The one thing the front office always has done for me here is given me good players. I believe we’ve underachieved this year, and I’m responsible for that.” Specifically, Melvin referenced the team’s struggles in one-run games, taking the blame for not using the right players to finish out such contests while preserving the lead. GM Billy Beane said that he closely examined his options when he initially hired Melvin and felt him the best person to guide the next generation of A’s players, and he feels that Melvin is still the best choice. As Beane explains, he didn’t want the question of Melvin’s contract status coming up next season, so he elected to proactively address the issue.
Here’s more from the AL West…
- Beane also said today that he’s not planning on trading away the team’s best prospects this offseason, tweets Stiglich. Rather, the GM hopes to see his top talent develop into pieces that can contribute in the near future. If he holds to that approach, it’ll be slightly different than the one Beane has taken over the past 14 months or so. The A’s have traded many prospects since last July — most notably Addison Russell — although Beane has also added quite a bit of young talent, including Marcus Semien, Franklin Barreto, Kendall Graveman, Sean Nolin and Brett Lawrie (though Lawrie, of course, was not a prospect at the time of his acquisition).
- Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle examines the way in which the Astros came to acquire prospects David Paulino and Francis Martes. The primary reason, Drellich writes, is a scouting system set up by director Kevin Goldstein in which he placed a greater-than-normal focus on scouting low-level minor leaguers due to the team’s standing when he assumed the role in 2013. GM Jeff Luhnow explained the idea behind the team’s scouting efforts. “We were, we knew we were in a position where we had a lot of already interesting prospects at the upper levels and we could afford to take some fliers on some guys that were further away,” said Luhnow. “…And as a result of (Goldstein’s system), we had good reports on players that maybe another organization might not have even seen, or might have had only one report on. Whenever you’re asking for the third player in the trade, and he’s a rookie ball player or a Low A ball player, those guys are far away. They’re — it’s like rolling the dice. But in the case of both Paulino and Martes, Kevin and his scouts did a tremendous job of identifying those guys.”
- Although Mike Zunino won’t be called up to the Mariners this September and will instead report to the instructional league, Seattle is not giving up on the young catcher by any means, writes Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. “Mike is still very much in our future,” manager Lloyd McClendon told Divish. “Going into spring training next year, I will consider him my everyday catcher. We thought this was the best path moving forward for his career.” Zunino is part of a Mariners catching contingent, which, as noted by Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan, is on pace for a historically bad offensive campaign. However, the former No. 3 overall pick has shown plenty of pop in his career and is a strong defender, so the Mariners are being patient in their hopes that he could yet turn into a strong all-around option at the plate.