The main position battle for the A’s as summer camp continues remains at second base, even with a recent trade that sent Jorge Mateo to the San Diego Padres for a player to be named later.
“I feel good right now about the situation,” Franklin Barreto, via translator, said in a Zoom interview with reporters on Monday. “Regardless, I’m going to keep working hard every day. Right from the beginning, I’m going to do the best I can to prove to the team I can play every day at second base and be able to contribute and help the team get some wins.”
It appears that could be the case, he’s been hitting well for the A’s during camp and it’s being noticed. Still, he has a tendency to be one of those guys who performs well in the spring or exhibition games and when it’s time to produce during the regular season, he comes up short.
Barreto knows that but doesn’t appear to deter from his mission.
With Barreto, he has Tony Kemp behind him who is a lefty bat the team went out to find during the offseason. He could offer as a platoon option at second base. He also knows no matter who gets the job, him, or others, they’ll be up to the challenge.
“Whoever gets to run out there on a particular day will get the job done, whether it’s me, Barreto, [Vimael] Machin or [Chad] Pinder,” Kemp said in Monday’s media availability. “These guys have been good. They are tremendous ballplayers and they’re here for a reason.”
“I just try to come here every day and put my best foot forward and continue to try and get better each day. Whoever gets run out there will take care of the job and whoever comes in behind him will swing the bat well and play good defense. It has been a good mixture of guys out there.”
Barreto said the same thing with compliments toward Machin, who was snagged by the A’s in the Rule 5 Draft this offseason and is viewed as a prized pickup. He also said Machin is a great teammate and could make some noise coming off the bench if need be.
A’s manager Bob Melvin has been asked continuously about the situation at second base, and even despite the Mateo departure, he knows there will be multiple ways to utilize that group.
“We’ll try and match up on that one, left and right,” Melvin said Monday.” On the left side, we have Machin and Kemp. On the right side, probably Barreto and Pinder. We’ll figure out where we’re going with that, but we typically have a couple of spots where we platoon and that probably is one of them.”
Pinder is able to be placed anywhere and be fantastic at it. His diversity is something that proves beneficial. Last season alone he played in every position but pitcher and catcher. He’s also coming off of a strong Cactus League spring.
It appears that continues to be a good problem to have.