It's Monday, November 6th. MLB free agency is officially open and underway. It's tough to imagine John Fisher significantly opening up the purse to address holes on the Oakland Athletics' roster, but other teams will be doing so.
Over the weekend, the A's extended a $1 million contract to pitcher Sean Newcomb. The deal will cover Newcomb's second year of arbitration. The left hander was talked about as a potential non-tender candidate after undergoing knee surgery at the end of September, but the A's have chosen to retain him.
Newcomb threw 15 innings for the A's in 2023. He showed a level of competence that he hadn't for the previous three seasons, where he found himself fighting for a roster spot in Atlanta and Chicago. Newcomb lived on the edges of the zone and was able to get whiffs with the breaking ball, but his 14.8% walk rate is representative of his avoidance of the strike zone.
At this point in his career, Newcomb just doesn't seem to have the stuff to get whiffs inside the zone. If the breaking stuff remains sharp, he could be a legitimate contributor in 2024, but the collapse risk is real.
The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported on Sunday night that A's manager Mark Kotsay was no longer in the running for the Mets open managerial position. Kotsay had been reported as one of several names interested in and interviewing for the job.
Whether Kotsay seeks an open position elsewhere or stays in Oakland remains to be seen. Kotsay has had a rough go as A's manager, almost entirely due to the roster he's been given to work with. It would be interesting to see him cook with a more competitive lineup, as he seems to have done a fair job as a leader, communicator, and tactician.
Former Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell always seemed like the frontrunner for the job, given his relationship with newly hired Mets President of Baseball Operations David Stearns. Counsell had been the Brewers skipper since 2015, and Stearns held the GM position in Milwaukee from 2015-2023.
On Tuesday, Mayor Sheng Thao, the Oakland City Council, and the Oakland Port Authority will convene to adopt a resolution to attempt to keep the A's in Oakland. The resolution is aimed at making MLB owners more aware of the effort the city has put into keeping the franchise in the Bay area.
The proposed ballpark district in Howard Terminal would seemingly work for all involved parties, despite the necessary work to make that a success. However, the location isn't what John Fisher has in mind. What he wants, and has wanted from the time he took primary control of the A's, is to move the organization out of the city.
There are many reasons why Oakland is a better location for the A's than Las Vegas. The argument has been fleshed out numerous times in recent months. Las Vegas is a smaller, less diverse, metro region than Oakland. There's so much history in Oakland that Fisher is willing to completely wash away simply due to greed and incompetence.
The city and the mayor are urging fans to show up on Tuesday and make their voices heard. The Oakland 68's will be passing out a limited number of "stay" t-shirts, and there will hopefully be a sizeable crowd. Whether it makes a difference in the long run is to be determined.