It’s that time of the year. Pitchers and Catchers start reporting this week and soon Spring Training will be in full swing. It is also the time where I send a couple of TTM batches to current Major and Minor Leaguers in hopes of getting their autographs on some cards.
This year my first batch is almost exclusively Oakland Athletics. Honestly this is no different than in years past. There is only one non-Athletics player and that is Daniel Robertson of the Tampa Bay Rays. As many know he was drafted by and played for the Athletics’ minor league system until he was traded prior to the 2015 season.
In the first batch there are 11 players/coaches that I am sending requests to. Usually my batches are in groups of 10, but I had a couple of extra stamps so I decided to add one more. 4 of these players are ones I have received TTM successes from in the past. 7 I have not sent to before. 1 of those 7 can be classified as “Why not? What’s the worst that could happen?” (i.e. Long Shot)
Here is the list of players in the first batch:
The Long Shot:
From time to time I see successes from Mark McGwire so I figured why not? What’s the worst that is going to happen? I lose 1 card. The potential reward far out weighs the risk.
*Received prior successes.
The 114th Annual MLB Winter Meetings are set to take place December 6-10, 2015 in Nashville. This is the time of years we major deals go down and some of the remaining top free agents sign contracts with teams. Executives from all 30 teams will be present, most ready to make deals.
The Oakland Athletics were very active during the meetings in 2014 making a total of 9 deals. This year Oakland will look to shore up it’s league worst bullpen. There are 2 slots they need to fill and there are a couple of good options in Ryan Madson and Joakim Soria of which Oakland could land one of these guys.
The Athletics will likely continue to shop Brett Lawrie and Danny Valencia. One of these players are expendable with the re-acquisition of Jed Lowrie. Lawrie is likely the one to be moved as he can bring a higher return than Valencia.
With the Winter Meetings upon us it is time for GMs to do some Christmas shopping for their teams.
On Wednesday Jed Lowrie was traded by the Houston Astros to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for Oakland’s number 30 prospect Brendan McCurry. Jed returns to the Athletics after signing a 3 year deal with the Astros after the 2014 season. He played in 290 games with Oakland during the 2013 and 2014 seasons and batted .271 with 74 doubles and 125 RBIs. In 2015 Jed was limited to 69 games with Houston.
The arrival of shortstop Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve at 2nd base, made Lowrie expendable in Houston. Barring any subsequent moves. in Oakland he will have the chance to platoon with Marcus Semien at shortstop, Brett Lawrie at second and Danny Valencia at third.
Brendan was drafted in the 22nd round of the June 2014 draft. In 2015 he split time with the Stockton Ports and Midland RockHounds. He posted a 1.86 ERA in 50 games, converting 27 out 28 save opportunities. McCurry was selected to pitch in the Arizona Fall League this year and posted a 4.73 ERA in just over 13 innings. He was selected as the reliever on Oakland’s organizational All-Stars for the 2015 season.
Oakland Athletics’s Top Prospect Addison Russell will miss at least one month due to a grade 3 strain (tear) of the right hamstring. The current injury is believed to be higher up on the leg than the injury that hampered his Spring. Addison came out of Friday’s game with the Midland RockHounds because of a cramp like pain.
Prior to coming out of the game Addison was 5-7, 1 HR and 2 RBIs with the RockHounds. This Spring Addison was 7-25 in 12 games with the major league camp.
The Athletics will take every precaution necessary with Addison as he figures to be the replacement for Jed Lowrie as early as next season. Having watched Addison play most of the season in 2013 I can say he will bounce back. However, don’t expect him to come back early, hamstring injuries have a tendency to linger.
On Tuesday March 11th, I received my 7th overall TTM success from Spring Training. I received signed cards from Oakland Athletics shortstop Jed Lowrie. This success came from the second batch I sent out.
Jed really came into his own during the 2013 season. He was originally acquired from the Houston Astros to be a backup to Hiroyuki Nakajima, a Japanese shortstop the Athletics signed between the 2012 and 2013 seasons. However an injury to Nakajima at the end of Spring Training opened the door for Lowrie and he took full advantage of it. Jed batted .290 with 45 doubles, 15 home runs and 75 RBIs in 154 games. The only player on Oakland’s roster to play in more games was third baseman Josh Donaldson who played in 158 games.
Jed Lowrie signed 2 2013 Topps Update cards for me. He also included a business card promoting his photography website: www.JL4photography.com
TTM Autographs of Jed Lowrie
Today I mailed my second batch of Spring Training TTMs. This batch consisted of 10 envelopes. Most are to current Oakland Athletics. Two were sent to former Athletics who are current MLB coaches in other organizations. One was sent to a non-Athletics player. Here are the Spring Training TTMs I have sent out.
Batch #1 – Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Batch #2 – February 28, 2014
A. J. Griffin
Don Baylor, hitting coach for LA Angels of Anaheim
Steve Henderson, hitting coach for Philadelphia Phillies
Hector Santiago, pitcher for LA Angels of Anaheim
I will be posting updates as I receive these cards back. I am considering a third batch of Spring Training TTMs. Not sure for who, but will likely be mostly non-Athletics since I have already sent to most on the Athletics who are confirmed signers. If you have any suggestions please post them in a comment!
Before the game began on Tuesday night the Athletics knew they would receive no help from the Tampa Bay Rays. The Texas Rangers beat the Rays 7-1. So in order for the Athletics to reduce the magic number they would have to take matters into their own hands. This is not always an easy task against the Angels. Athletics/Angels games are always competitive. The two teams seem to rise to the occasion and Tuesday night was no exception.