It’s time for us to prepare for the departure of longtime A’s shortstop Marcus Semien.
It’s a tough spill to swallow, but it’s time.
A source tells NBC Sports California the A’s have done their research on other free-agent shortstops in preparation, but what if there were an in-house solution? What if … Matt Chapman took over the position in 2021?
Now hear me out …
At the end of August last season, Semien, who now is a free agent, sustained a left side soreness injury which left him sidelined for a chunk of time. It was a late scratch and snapped a 276-game streak of him starting at shortstop, but Chapman was able to fill in for him for the first time in his major league career.
Vimael Machin got the start at third, and managed to get a hit in the process.
Naturally, Chapman did well. It’s a small sample size, but it’s also Matt Chapman and the guy didn’t earn two consecutive Platinum Gloves easily.
He also wasn’t completely new to the position as he played shortstop in college at Cal State Fullerton and made some appearances there in the minor leagues.
He also already has plenty of chemistry with first baseman Matt Olson. The two came up together from their journey in the A's farm system to essentially using an unspoken language across the diamond.
The rest of the infield could look like …
In this theoretical defensive overview, Chad Pinder, who signed a one-year contract with the A’s recently, could start at either third or second base. Pinder’s diversity has proven time and time again he’s able to cover plenty of ground including all of the foul territory at The Coliseum.
Tony Kemp also could be the starting second baseman when he returns in 2021.
There also is a possibility Tommy La Stella returns to the A’s next season. At the end of the 2020 campaign, general manager David Forst and executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane made it clear bringing the infielder back to the team was a top priority for them. Perhaps having just 12 strikeouts in 2020 was part of that. And pitcher Chris Bassitt doesn’t want to have to pitch to La Stella again.
The A’s reportedly have been in contact with La Stella, and him coming back would make it cushier. Bringing back Jake Lamb, who managed to get consecutive hits each regular-season game after signing with the A’s, could provide even more insurance for the infield.
Machin could fill in whenever needed in the case of an injury or any additional needs.
It’s still early in the offseason. Well, not super early, but it isn’t your typical offseason post-coronavirus pandemic year. There are a lot of signings that need to be made -- we were anticipating that as teams admitted there would be a slow winter.
Semien is irreplaceable in many ways, but as far as the defensive side, Chapman easily could take on some of the responsibilities.