Athletics

Athletics

Ironically, the first two position groups to report to spring training -- pitchers and catchers -- are the two areas where the A's face the most uncertainty.

We touched on the starting pitching situation Saturday. Oakland's catchers are even more unproven.

As it currently stands, Josh Phegley and Chris Herrmann are the only catchers on the A's 40-man roster. Neither has played more than 73 games in a season, but that could change this year.

It remains to be seen if the team adds a true starting catcher to replace Jonathan Lucroy, who signed with the Angels in December, but time and options are running out.

The A's have reportedly shown interest in free agent Matt Wieters, who is coming off back-to-back disappointing seasons with the Nationals. The 32-year-old hit .238/.330/.374 last season with eight home runs and 30 RBI. He has a career slash line of .251/.315/.410 in 10 major league seasons.

Another option could be 34-year-old Stephen Vogt. The former A's catcher recently held a workout for interested teams, though it's unclear if the A's were among them.

Vogt is coming off shoulder surgery and hasn't played since 2017. Still, he might be worth a flyer for a team like Oakland, which is looking for more depth at catcher just for this season.

 

The A's believe they already have their catcher of the future in 24-year-old Sean Murphy. The number four catcher prospect in baseball, as ranked by MLB Pipeline, will start the season at Triple-A but could earn a major league call-up at some point this year.

"I think that's one of the reasons that maybe we didn't pursue Jonathan Lucroy like we did," manager Bob Melvin said last month. "We know at some point in time this guy is coming. We do like the left-right bat situation we have with (Herrmann and Phegley). So we're comfortable with where we are right now.

"We know Murph is going to be here and once Murph gets here, he's probably going to be here for a while."

Though he's still young, A's general manager David Forst agrees we could soon seen Murphy in Oakland.

"He hasn't had a lot of time above Double-A, but we think highly enough of Sean that he's going to get a good opportunity at camp and we expect him to be here sometime this year," Forst said.

For now, the A's appear to be comfortable with Phegley and Herrmann holding down the fort. But remember, the A's waited till March to sign Lucroy last season.

We'll see if history repeats itself this spring.