When the A's signed slugger Khris Davis to a two-year, $33.5 million contract extension earlier this month, it marked a major shift in the team's philosophy.
Over the years, Oakland has almost never signed its star players to multi-year contracts, instead trading them away or allowing them to leave in free agency. A's manager Bob Melvin believes this could be the start of a new era.
"It was huge for us on so many different levels," Melvin told MLB Network Radio. "Since I've been here, we haven't had a signing like this, let alone the hoopla surrounding it. Usually, prime time players like (Davis), once they get to free agency, they end up going somewhere else. We committed to him, he wanted us to, and he's happy here."
The real test will be whether the A's are able to keep their younger stars in the coming years – players like Matt Chapman and Matt Olson. Melvin thinks Davis' extension will go a long way toward making that happen.
"It sends a message to the rest of the team," he said. "We have a bunch of young players that we're trying to get done too and have them part of going into hopefully a new ballpark in 2023. This is just the start of that. I think guys like Chapman and Olson see Khris commit here, and they love him, and they love the group they play with here."
Chapman and Olson still have four more years of team control, but A's general manager David Forst has said the team is already having discussions about potential extensions.
"There are other players we've had conversations with," Forst said after the Davis extension. "There are ongoing conversations. It's a matter of timing. It takes two to tango. You have to find enough common ground. We will continue to have conversations focused on keeping players here into a new ballpark and beyond."
If nothing else, there is at least reason for optimism in Oakland moving forward.
Said Melvin: "For the first time, we feel like we can keep some of these younger players and some of these high profile guys we want to keep. Hopefully, it's a different direction for us and it starts with the signing of Khris Davis."