A’s broadcaster Glen Kuiper will not get the chance to call Opening Day on Thursday.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the MLB season does not yet have a definitive start date. So we don’t know when Kuiper's "That baby is gone" catchphrase will be heard again.
“I’d like to say that about the virus, (Thursday) morning,” Kuiper quipped.
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We did get the chance to talk A’s baseball with Kuiper. It’s a small substitute for missing out on the real thing Thursday.
On Marcus Semien, who was an MVP finalist last season:
“We all tend to go to that defense thing first, that’s been the improvement that’s been most chronicled. But now, you look at what he did offensively and he jumped about three levels. So now you have a star player on your hands.”
On Matt Chapman and Matt Olson being predictably exceptional:
“I think maybe Matt Olson gets overshadowed a little bit by Matt Chapman. We like to talk about Chapman. But I believe Olson is every bit as great of a first baseman, offensively and defensively, as Matt Chapman is at third.”
What happens at second base for the A's?
“I would like to see [Franklin] Barreto get a regular chance because I think there’s a lot of talent there, but I just don’t think he’s ever felt comfortable at the big league level. Until you can get him to where he feels that way, then you may not see his full potential.”
On a crowded A’s outfield:
“I’m not calling these problems. I’m going to call them situations. And listen, somebody is going to get dinged up. [Ramon] Laureano went down last year, and [Mark] Canha did a nice job in center field. Your objective is to get as many good players on the roster as you can, and the A’s have a ton. These are champagne problems to have. Are we going to get Mark Canha 500 at-bats? Most teams he would be getting all the at-bats he wanted. [Robbie] Grossman is a good player. Laureano is a good player. [Stephen] Piscotty is a good player. This is a good thing.”
On catcher Sean Murphy getting the chance to establish himself in MLB:
“It’s been a while -- the A’s have had pretty good catching -- but it’s been veteran guys for the most part. Now you have this young kid who we’ve heard a lot about. Saw a little bit last year. Just got to make sure his knees are good, and keep him healthy because he’s probably going to be a very good player.”
On Khris Davis bouncing back after a rough 2019:
“It’s not like what he did before was a half-year thing. He did that for three years, right? Those three years were not a fluke. He did struggle last year. I don’t know if we’ll ever know if it was all due to the injury he had in Pittsburgh. It definitely started it, but you don’t know what happens to a guy, or how he may change his swing a little bit as he gets closer and ready to play.”
On the A’s starting rotation:
“You talk a lot about the two young guys [A.J. Puk and Jesus Luzardo], and how can you not? You get [Sean] Manaea back. [Frankie] Montas is nasty, he’s really good. Mike Fiers had a terrific season last year, so there’s no reason this group couldn’t be one of the best in all of baseball, really.”
On the A’s bullpen being one of their only potential questions:
“I think [Lou] Trivino is a big key. Because I think [Liam] Hendriks is going to be good, his stuff was just too good last year to have that be anything like a one-year wonder. I don’t see that happening. [Joakim] Soria is very good, [Yusmiero] Petit is very good in his role, I think everyone knows what that is. But if you can get Trivino close to what he was [in 2018], that’s huge. It’s always so hard every year to talk about bullpens with any team, because of all the areas, it’s the most volatile.”