Langeliers 'zoned in' on chance to start after Murphy trade


Athletics catcher Shea Langeliers got his first taste of the big leagues last season, and he's eager to prove he's ready for the starting role in 2023.

The 25-year-old made his MLB debut with Oakland on Aug. 16 against the Texas Rangers, earning a call-up after smashing a barrage of home runs in Triple-A. Now, with the A's former Gold Glove backstop Sean Murphy traded to the Atlanta Braves, Langeliers stands as a frontrunner to land the team's starting catching duties.

"I’m looking at it as an opportunity,” Langeliers told reporters at spring training in Mesa, Ariz., this week, referring to Murphy as "an unbelievable player" (h/t The Mercury News' Cole Bradley).

"When you’re behind a guy like that and you watch him play and you watch how he handles himself, it only makes you better in the process. And with Manny Piña being here, a veteran guy, he’s caught a lot of baseball games.”

Langeliers will compete alongside Piña in camp, whom the A's acquired from the Braves in the Murphy trade and touted as a veteran backup catching option for their young prospect. He's a career .243 hitter with a .722 OPS and has played in 414 MLB games, compared to Langeliers' 40.

During those 40 games with Oakland last season, Langeliers hit .218 with six homers and 22 RBI while striking out at a 37.4-percent clip. He described the call-up as "growing pains."


"I don’t want to go up there and try to do too much," Langeliers said of his approach this year. "I want to go to the plate every time and be myself with the right aggression in the right spot. Once you can slow that game down and kind of just focus on what you need to focus on, it makes it a little bit easier.”

A's manager Mark Kotsay said the team hopes Langeliers can build upon the strong finish he had last season. The catcher tallied 11 hits across Oakland's last 12 games, including two home runs against the Seattle Mariners on Oct. 2.

"For Shea, what we're looking for? Nothing different than what we saw last year at the end of the year," Kotsay told reporters Friday. "Shea came up, helped us win some ball games. He was mentored by two veteran catchers, so he's got some tutelage from them. But he went through his ups and downs as any young major league player does.

"So, [looking for] continued growth, really ... Shea displayed a lot of great qualities last year while he was here, and that's expected again."

Along with Murphy, Langeliers was able to glean advice from veteran catcher Stephen Vogt last season, too, who retired and now is on the Mariners' coaching staff. And since Langeliers also arrived in Oakland via a trade from the Braves, he's already familiar with Piña, who mentored him briefly when they both were in Atlanta.

“I knew him a little bit when he was in Atlanta for maybe two or three weeks, and now I have the opportunity to help him and be open with him in any way he needs from me,” Piña said (h/t Bradley). “So I think he has a lot of talent, he’s a young guy that can show that talent in the big leagues very soon.

“He’s got that talent, he just needs to play more and have more experience.”

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Langeliers is looking to make good on Piña's evaluation.

“I think I’m zoned in on what I’m trying to achieve,” Langeliers said. “Eventually, it’ll be nice to look back and see the journey, but right now I’m keeping my focus on getting better and getting better with these guys and being the best team we can be.”