Although the Oakland Athletics are usually against giving players long-term contracts, the right factors could lead the club to make their first deal in seasons.
I get it. The Oakland Athletics as a franchise don’t “do” long-term deals. The front office avoids such scenarios at all cost, knowing that big contracts are risky.
In a multi-year extension, a team often vies for consistency over value. The A’s tried this tactic with Eric Chavez back in 2004 only to watch the deal blow up in their faces.
Though Chavez was productive on both sides of the diamond, winning six consecutive Gold Glove Awards and a Silver Slugger, the third baseman missed parts of four seasons due to injuries.
With such a contract, the Athletics did not expect to receive value, meaning they did not see Chavvy out-performing his pay. What they did expect, however, was consistency at third base, and, due to his extended time on the DL, they didn’t receive that either.
With that being said, I still believe the A’s would be open to signing a current player to a long-term contract under the right circumstances. Of course, the club would most likely want a deal with upside and incentives.
Here are a few players the organization should consider signing to a multi-year deal, be it now or down the line:
The 30-year-old first baseman has, undeniably, been the team’s MVP up to this point.
Alonso has launched 17 bombs into the seats, hit 13 2Bs to the wall, and slashed an impressive .296/.389/.611. Come mid-July, the former-Padre should be the A’s lone All-Star.
Alonso has said repeatedly that he would like to stay in Oakland for the long haul. Such a statement could mean a home-town discount for the low-revenue A’s. However, with his value rising, a long-term deal is unlikely.
Though Alonso would provide a key left-handed bat to an order chock-full of righties and a veteran presence to a clubhouse stacked with young talent, the A’s and their first baseman will likely be off by millions in talks.
Also, with Alonso entering free agency upon season’s end, the front office could easily capitalize on his production and trade him.
A’s trade Alonso at the deadline along with fellow-infielder Jed Lowrie. His career season yields the Athletics top prospects from a contender. Factors like age scare the club off a big deal.
The former All-Star has shown glimpses of ace-status this season but has not put it all together.
Gray‘s ERA of 4.84 and WHIP of 1.42 are the second highest marks of his career. However, the righty’s FIP of 3.62 is only slightly higher than that of his magical 2015 season, suggesting a poor defense behind him could be the reason for his high ERA.
With Gray’s only real value stemming from his two years remaining of arbitration, I believe the A’s should entertain a long-term extension. The ace’s stock should only rise as he further recovers from arm issues responsible for his abysmal 2016 season.
Also, Gray’s rough starts over the last two years could net the Athletics a multi-year extension with a premier starting pitcher for cheap.
Gray is the A’s best bet to re-sign down the line. However, should the two sides not strike a deal, the front office will hunt a trade either this season or next.
Like Gray, the slugging left fielder still has two years remaining of arbitration, so the A’s may hold off on contract talks with Davis. However, with power bats losing value in a saturated market, the A’s would rather extend him than trade him.
Davis’s ability to hit the long ball (42 HRs last season) is definitely a quality the A’s like. In 71 games this year, he has continued his slugging trend, slashing a respectable .241/.319/.492 with 31 extra-base hits.
Also, Davis’s noodle arm and generally poor defense may prompt a long-term deal to come at a reasonable price for the low-payroll A’s.
A’s table talks with Davis and keep him at the deadline. The two sides may come to multi-year agreement down the road.
**Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference