Athletics

A's 2013 roster breakdown: Third base

953399.jpg

A's 2013 roster breakdown: Third base

Editor's note: This is the fourth installment of the Oakland A's position-by-position offseason breakdown, teeing up the team's options for the 2013 season.The departure of Eric Chavez left the A's starting guys like Jack Hannahan, Adam Kennedy, and Kevin Kouzmanoff, and Oakland felt it had finally found its answer at third in Scott Sizemore. He smacked 11 homers and drove in 52 runs in 95 games with the A's in 2011, but in the first full squad workout in spring training, Sizemore tore the ACL in his left knee and was lost for the season. With Sizemore out for the year, the A's relied on catcher-turned-third baseman Josh Donaldson. He struggled to keep the job, though. Donaldson only hit .153 with one homer and seven RBIs in 28 games spanning two stints in the first half of the season. Without an answer at the hot corner, the A's added Brandon Inge. The veteran third baseman changed the chemistry of the A's clubhouse and crushed four home runs while driving in 16 runs over a stretch of five games shortly after being acquired. As Inge enjoyed a career renaissance with the A's, Donaldson worked hard in Triple-A. When Inge went on the DL in August, Donaldson took the job and ran with it. In Donaldson's final 47 games, he hit .290 with 11 doubles, eight home runs, and 26 RBIs. "It's safe to say the way Josh played, he's a guy we are thinking about over at third going forward," A's general manager Billy Beane said at the conclusion of the season. "He seemed to settle in when he played at third everyday. That's his natural position out of college. He played it great. He did everything that you would want a young third baseman to do.""He has a lot to be proud of going into next season," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Absolutely, he should be considered in the plans here."So, which Josh Donaldson will the A's get in 2013? The one that mashed and hit key home runs in the second half? Or the one that struggled in the first half? We just might find out. Donaldson is considered the favorite to win the third base job in 2013, especially because Sizemore will be moved back to second base. That's a huge vote of confidence from the front office. The A's should also consider bringing back Inge. The free agent market at third base is very thin this offseason. He is coming off season-ending shoulder surgery and could be affordable. The A's could really use some depth at third base. Inge, who was a finalist for a Rawlings Gold Glove award in 2012, would provide very capable defense and give the A's leadership presence in the clubhouse. Here in 2013:Josh Donaldson, 75 G, .241 AVG, .289 OBP, 9 HR, 33 RBI
Adam Rosales, 3 G
Grant Green, 11 G (AAA)
Eric Sogard, 14 G
Scott Sizemore, DNP

Free Agents:Brandon Inge
Biggest Question:Can Donaldson parlay his strong second half into full-time success at the hot corner?Analyst's Take -- Shooty Babitt:"They always talk about that sophomore jinx. I think Donaldson snuck up on a lot of people last year but he does have a chance to be a good Major League player. I don't think third base will have a lot of competition. That's his job to fall flat on his face or lose at this point." "The dude does have an incredible amount of confidence and if you talk to him, there's no way in the world to get him to believe he wasn't supposed to do the things that he did last year. He showed ability and confidence." Best Available (and possibly affordable)Brandon Inge, 36
Jack Hannahan, 32
Mark DeRosa, 38
Scott Rolen, 38
Eric Chavez, 35

A's hire Matt Williams as third base coach

williams-matt-ap.jpg
AP

A's hire Matt Williams as third base coach

OAKLANDThe Oakland A’s named Matt Williams as third base coach on Bob Melvin’s coaching staff for the 2018 season, the club announced today.

Williams spent five seasons on the Arizona Diamondbacks coaching staff as first base coach (2010) and third base coach (2011-13, 16) and also managed the Washington Nationals for two seasons.  He was named National League Manager of the Year by the BBWAA in his first season as manager in 2014, guiding the Nationals to a 96-66 record and an NL East title.  He went 83-79 in 2015 for a 179-145 (.552) record in two seasons as manager.

Williams played 17 seasons in the majors with San Francisco (1987-96), Cleveland (1997) and Arizona (1998-2003).  He was a .268 career hitter with 378 home runs and 1218 RBI in 1866 games.  Williams was a five-time All-Star and won four Gold Gloves as a third baseman.

A's Media Services 

Ryon Healy trade has domino effect

khrisdavis-healy-ap.jpg
AP

Ryon Healy trade has domino effect

The A’s wasted no time making their first major move of the offseason, and it has a domino effect on how their 2018 lineup will take shape.

The trade of young slugger Ryon Healy to the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday paves the way for left fielder Khris Davis to start getting heavy at-bats as the designated hitter, the spot left vacant by Healy.

It also points to another move the A’s want to pull off — acquiring a right-handed hitting corner outfielder who presumably can eat up those defensive innings that Davis spends as the DH.

It’s a series of moves that isn’t all that surprising given the A’s roster makeup right now. Healy, who hit .282 with 38 homers in 221 games over his first two big league seasons, is capable of playing either first or third base. But Matt Olson and Matt Chapman secured those spots, respectively, with their solid showings as rookies last season.

“We’ve obviously talked a lot since the end of the season about adding to the bullpen,” A’s general manager David Forst said on a conference call Wednesday night. “At the same time, with the emergence of Matt and Matt, on the corners, maybe Ryon needed to be somebody we might have to move ...”

It makes sense for Oakland to find a way to shift Davis from being the everyday left fielder while still keeping his 40-homer bat in the lineup. Opponents have routinely taken extra bases the past two seasons on Davis’ throwing arm, and whether they add a newcomer to play left or shift Joyce or someone else there, chances are they can benefit from better defense in left.

The A’s also feel they got an important chip back from Seattle to help bolster a bullpen that ranked 13th in the American League last season with a 4.57 ERA. They received right-hander Emilio Pagan (along with minor league shortstop Alexander Campos), and figure that the 26-year-old Pagan is someone the A’s have pegged to be an immediate contributor in their ‘pen.

A 10th round draft pick in 2013, Pagan made his big league debut in 2017 and posted a 3.22 ERA over 34 games spread over four stints with Seattle. He endured a rocky first couple of outings but, after being called up for good in the second half, eventually worked his way into a late-inning setup role. Pagan struck out 56 and walked just eight in 50 1/3 innings, numbers that surely popped out to Oakland’s front office.

He’ll likely be called upon in middle relief to help set the table for Chris Hatcher and closer Blake Treinen, as the bullpen currently looks.

Campos, just 17, spent this past season in the Dominican Summer League, and Forst said the A’s were eyeing Campos last summer when they eventually traded Yonder Alonso to the Mariners. Oakland wound up getting center fielder Boog Powell back in that deal.

Did the A’s rake in enough for Healy? As with all trades, it will take time to judge. But it’s fair to say that Healy’s departure will be felt in a clubhouse that is characterized by the emergence of many young position players, and he was a part of that group. In fact, when Healy was called up in July 2016 — knocking Danny Valencia out as the regular third baseman — he became the first of several promising position-player prospects to establish himself in Oakland’s lineup.

He rented a house in the East Bay and eventually took in Chapman, Olson and Chad Pinder as roommates. There’s a fiery side to Healy’s on-field personality that was a positive for the A’s, and watching him play Oakland as a member of an AL West rival will make for entertaining theatre.

Another storyline is how Davis takes to being a regular DH. Forst praised Davis’ approach to his game and doesn’t anticipate any problems, adding that the A’s still want to get Davis some time in the outfield.