We've heard very little about James Kaprielian and Daulton Jefferies. Will they ever play baseball again?
--Steve L., Newport, Ore.
That's the plan. Kaprielian actually returned to the mound for instructional league action in October and will enter camp fully healthy and raring to go. The A's expect the same of Jefferies, who, like Kaprielian, suffered a setback in his rehab from Tommy John surgery in June. Both obviously need to prove they can stay healthy enough to pitch a full season -- keep in mind they've each appeared in just eight Minor League games -- but the talent between both is undeniable. The A's hope to finally get them moving through the system this year.
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Did Jonathan Lucroy just not want to come back or did the A's not want him back?
I think Lucroy would have returned for the right contract, and I'm still not sure why the A's couldn't agree to a reasonable figure considering what he ultimately got from the Angels: a one-year deal worth a guaranteed $3.35 million and incentives that can bring it to $4.525 million. The A's did negotiate with Lucroy, so you could say there was an effort to retain him, but it obviously wasn't enough. It doesn't sound like they were far off from the Angels' figure, which makes this all the more puzzling.
Do you think there is a chance Sonny Gray will come back to Oakland?
-- Susan J., Castro Valley, Calif.
Yes. That doesn't mean I think it will definitely happen, but there is a chance. From what I've heard, the A's have kept tabs on Gray all winter. The Yankees have made it known that they'd like to move Gray and it's unclear just how much, if any, their asking price has budged. Sources indicate it was too high in the early going of the offseason, at least too high for the A's.
I personally think a return to Oakland would be a good move for Gray, who has a great relationship with manager Bob Melvin and prefers pitching in a smaller market. The A's, obviously, could use him, so it would seemingly be a win-win should a deal be worked out.
Looking ahead to the 2020 season, what do you project the starting rotation to be if all arms are healthy?
Way to put me on the spot. Let's go with some combination of Jesus Luzardo, A.J. Puk, Sean Manaea, Grant Holmes and Mike Fiers. That is, like you said, if all arms are healthy. I also think Kaprielian gets to the big leagues in 2020.
Will the A's be wearing their Kelly green jerseys again this year?
-- Simon B., Montreal
Yes, during every Friday home game again.