Athletics

Chad Pinder, Mark Canha deserve shot to be everyday players for A's

Chad Pinder, Mark Canha deserve shot to be everyday players for A's

Over the past two seasons, Chad Pinder and Mark Canha have emerged as productive hitters in their limited opportunities. Last year, the pair combined for 30 home runs, 34 doubles, and 79 RBI in 663 total at-bats. Both have continued to perform well at the plate this season, with Pinder posting a .734 OPS and Canha at .769.

With newcomers Jurickson Profar and Robbie Grossman struggling, this seems like the perfect time to give Pinder and Canha a chance to be everyday players.

The A's had high expectations for Profar when they acquired him from Texas this offseason. The 26-year-old was coming off a career year that saw him slash .254/.335/.458 with 20 home runs and 77 RBI. Profar's first season in Oakland has been a nightmare, however, both with the bat and glove. The A's second baseman is slashing a lowly .181/.247/.306 while battling the yips on defense. Profar has already committed eight errors, the most of any second baseman in the majors, and his -1.1 WAR is tied for second-worst in the American League.

Robbie Grossman has fared a little bit better, though he's only slashing .215/.333/.346. His OPS of .679 is significantly lower than that of Canha and Pinder, who both provide far more power.

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Obviously, it's too soon to completely give up on Profar and Grossman, and there will still be a role for them down the road. But for the time being, Pinder and Canha bring more to the table and have played themselves into starting jobs.

Adding Pinder and Canha to the everyday lineup would give Oakland a legitimate power threat from every spot in the lineup. It also wouldn't be surprising to see their production increase if given more consistent at-bats, similar to what we've seen from Josh Phegley this season.

If nothing else, a couple of lineup changes could shake up a stagnant offense and potentially help get the A's back on track. At this point, could it really hurt?

MLB rumors: A's looking at San Jose Giants stadium as alternate site

MLB rumors: A's looking at San Jose Giants stadium as alternate site

The A's might get to use San Jose after all.

Years after the A's unsuccessfully tried to move to the South Bay, they could send their pool players there to work out.

The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser reported Tuesday night, citing two sources, that the A's are looking at Excite Ballpark, the home of the San Jose Giants, the High-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants.

Excite Ballpark is approximately 40 minutes south of the Coliseum, so if the A's need to get a player to Oakland quickly, it's the best option.

The A's originally wanted to use Banner Island Ballpark, the home of their High-A affiliate in Stockton, but as Slusser reports, the rising number of coronavirus cases in San Joaquin County is a growing concern.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

Banner Island Ballpark is an hour east of the Oakland Coliseum.

Last Friday, A's general manager David Forst addressed the issue of an alternate site for the players that don't make the 30-man Opening Day roster.

“That has not been easy,” Forst told reporters. “We’re working on that. We have a lot of players and staff members waiting by the phone anxious to hear when they’re leaving and when they’re going. I’m spending a lot of time working on that, as are a lot of other people.”

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Forst also mentioned the ever-evolving situation with the coronavirus, and how it factors into the decision of where to send the players and coaches.

“Stockton is in the mix,” Forst said. “Anywhere we’ve looked around here, the situation with the virus is a factor. San Joaquin County, Stanislaus County -- we’ve looked around Alameda County -- how each county is handling things and their particular orders come into play when we’re looking into alternate sites.”

The A's are set to open the 2020 MLB season on July 24 against the Los Angeles Angels, so Forst and the front office still have a little time to sort through the options and lock in an alternate site.

Marcus Semien embraces leadership role to keep A's safe amid coronavirus

Marcus Semien embraces leadership role to keep A's safe amid coronavirus

Marcus Semien reached out to general manager David Forst before the A’s started their three-week training camp at Oakland Coliseum.

The shortstop told his GM that he’s going to take a leadership role in making sure A's players are staying as safe as possible during baseball’s return to work.

Semien is a Bay Area native and a full-time resident here. He sees how seriously people are taking the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and wants to make sure the A’s act the same way. It’s not just about keeping 42 finely tuned athletes healthy. It’s about more vulnerable parts of the A’s staff still going about their business.

Forst came away thoroughly impressed. Semien talked about setting a good example, and at times being a traffic cop.

“There are a lot of ways you can do it., especially amongst the group,” Semien said in a Tuesday video conference. “We talked today about it, reminding people that if you see someone not following the protocols, I have no problem reminding someone to put a mask on. It’s not me trying to be a stickler. Everybody understands why it’s important. With the testing system that we have, it’s known that we don’t get results right away. That means you have to do everything you can to be safe at all times.”

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

Major League Baseball’s testing system has already caused some hiccups. The A’s full squad couldn’t get on the field Sunday because they’re intake results got delayed over the Fourth of July holiday. They had to wait until Monday night to take the field while results were processed. There were a bunch of elite ball players waiting in the parking lot for the green light to start work

“There was a possibility that we could get sent home if we didn’t get the results in, but we told [A”s manager Bob Melvin] that we would wait to hear what they were,” Semien said. “For everybody who is negative, we were able to get in the building. It was a little later than we wanted to do it, but I’m glad we got the work in last night so we could have a good day today.”

The A’s played a simulated game Tuesday afternoon, and Semien had a groundout, a double off the wall and a single up the middle. It was clear he enjoyed just talking baseball as MLB tries to return to work while trying to keep infections to a minimum.

The game should be the same between the foul lines, though Semien gladly accepts the additional responsibility. He’ll try to match the career-year of 2019 on the field while increasing his leadership role at a time when he needs it most.

“It’s a tough one, and it’s why I’m going to be as safe as I can be. I’m not just going to be thinking about myself,” Semien said. “I’m thinking about teammates, coaches, my family. That’s something that we have to live with off the field anyway. We get to do what we love and go back to work. We’re all in good spirits because of that. The testing thing, I’m hearing it could get better. It’s still early in the process and I knew there would be some hiccups along the way. As long as we can minimize the positive tests, it’ll get better over time.”

[RELATED: Diekman says MLB coronavirus testing delays 'just can't happen']

Forst is thankful to have someone like that in the clubhouse to make sure everyone’s adhering as closely as possible to the safety protocols.

“Everybody is in this together,” Forst said. “That was something that Marcus relayed to me unsolicited and I really appreciated that, and I trust that he'll lead those conversations with teammates and that we'll have other guys step up and do the same thing."