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Smarting A's turn focus to retention

OAKLAND, Calif. — GM Billy Beane has the perfect solution for his Athletics to advance in the playoffs, to get past Justin Verlander and the Tigers.

Clone Verlander and put him in green and gold.

Verlander pitched another gem and carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning during a 3-0 win Thursday in Game 5 of their AL Division Series, not much different from his four-hit, 6-0 shutout here 364 days earlier to end the A's season.

"Short of cloning our own Verlander and having him on Game 5 to go toe-to-toe … we want to put ourselves in position to have those days and hopefully come out on top, or win Game 4," Beane said Friday.

The GM plans to keep his club as close to intact as possible to make another run at the playoffs next year, and that starts with exercising a $7.5 million option for leadoff hitter Coco Crisp.

"It's pretty apparent that we would pick up Coco Crisp's option," he said. "Beyond being one of the GM's personal favorites, he's also been a very good player, and my kids' favorite."

Crisp, who hit a career-best 22 home runs in the leadoff spot, declined to speak to reporters.

Oakland plans to try to re-sign 18-game winner Bartolo Colon, 40. The A's could lose closer Grant Balfour in free agency as the team rarely spends big money on its bullpen. If he departs, manager Bob Melvin Melvin said he would feel comfortable turning the ninth-inning duties to Sean Doolittle, Ryan Cook or newcomer Dan Otero.

Piniella says no: The Mariners tried to lure former manager Lou Piniella to fill their current managerial opening, Fox Sports reported. The 70-year-old former Rays manager and Tampa native declined, saying he isn't interested in managing anymore. He does broadcasting work for the Yankees on occasion. Piniella was Seattle's manager 1993-2002, then led the Devil Rays 2003-05.

Spahn Award: Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw was selected the winner of the 2013 Warren Spahn Award, presented by the Oklahoma City Bricktown Rotary Club and the Jim Thorpe Association to the top left-handed pitcher in the majors. It's named for the Hall of Famer whose 363 career wins are the most by a lefty. Kershaw went 16-9 with 232 strikeouts and a 1.83 ERA. He also won the award in 2011.

Rangers: Reliever Jason Frasor, 36, agreed to a $1.75 million, one-year deal rather than becoming a free agent. Opponents hit a career-low .203 against him.

Reds: Former Reds and Yankees OF Paul O'Neill spoke with owner Bob Castellini about the Reds managerial job, reported YES Network broadcaster Michael Kay, who worked with O'Neill previously.

Smarting A's turn focus to retention 10/11/13 [Last modified: Friday, October 11, 2013 10:40pm]
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