It was a season full of ups and downs for the Athletics in 2021.
One of the unfortunate storylines of the campaign was Ramon Laureano's 80-game suspension on August 6, which sidelined him the rest of this season and will keep him out until May of next season.
Without Laureano, the A's were missing one of their best bats, not to mention a Gold Glove-caliber defender in the outfield.
Manager Bob Melvin, Executive Vice President Billy Beane and General Manager David Forst met with the media Monday afternoon to discuss the 2021 season.
Melvin was asked to revisit Laureano's mid-season suspension.
“We took a lot of hits this year, a lot of dramatic hits," Melvin said. "That was one of them as well. That stunned everybody for a while. Kind of similar to the [Chris] Bassitt situation, although completely different. You can go back to last year in the playoffs, he’s got a passion to him that is unique here with a lot of leaders in our clubhouse. There’s a fiery side to him that resonates, there’s a competitive side to him that resonates and it was disappointing that it happened, and nobody’s more disappointed than he is."
Laureano, who was suspended after testing positive for an anabolic steroid, is in good spirits and looking forward to contributing next season.
"I’ve stayed in contact with him quite often, and he looks forward to turning this page and getting back and being another huge part of this club," Melvin added. "That hurt, you don’t want to make excuses as far as losing players, but that was one that probably hurt more than others."
Laureano is not only an electric player on the field, but he also is a leader in the A's clubhouse. You could point to many reasons as to why the A's missed out on the postseason in 2021, but the loss of Laureano's bat, glove, and personality throughout the second half of the season likely played a big role.