The A’s losing Marcus Semien and Tommy La Stella to free agency took a hit on the team’s infield, but it also left Oakland looking for a replacement to bat in the leadoff spot.
Shortstop Elvis Andrus, who was acquired by the A’s in the Feb. 6 trade that sent designated hitter Khris Davis to the Texas Rangers, will have a special eye on him to take over leadoff responsibilities.
“We have several guys that we’ll probably look at, but as far as experience goes, [Andrus] is the most experienced guy,” Melvin said on Wednesday. “On-base percentage plays into how we do that. We want our top couple guys in the lineup to get on base. And healthy, Elvis can do that. He’s really driven right now. He wants to resurrect his career, had some injuries last year.”
Andrus is a career .270/.341/.314 hitter (182 games) when batting first.
Andrus made it clear he had no intention of filling Semien’s shoes, at least as far as the off-the-field stuff is concerned.
“I’ll be myself,” Andrus told reporters after the trade. “I have no problem with that. I know I’m going to a new organization so I have to get used to the way the A’s play and what they got for me.”
Melvin said the two-time All-Star is ready for his new opportunity with the A’s, but knows how he performs during spring training will be a tell-tale sign. The 12-year veteran boasts a .330 on-base percentage across his career.
“He’s with a team now that’s won the last few years,” Melvin added. “I know he’s really excited about the opportunity. He’ll do whatever we asked him to do, but performance is going to play out. He’s definitely a guy we’re looking at.”