Top five A's storylines from June
It's been a crazy month
What a crazy month of comings and goings it was for the A’s.
They cut ties with two-time All-Star and clubhouse leader Stephen Vogt as well as respected veteran third baseman Trevor Plouffe. Those moves helped clear the way for a young wave of prospects as the A’s try to identify a core to build around for the future. They went 12-16 in June, their Oakland record-tying eighth consecutive month with a losing record.
But a long-range plan seems to be in place, and that alone breeds a sense of optimism.
New faces, going places?
Third baseman Matt Chapman, middle infielder Franklin Barreto,, right-hander Daniel Gossett, and outfielder Jaycob Brugman all were called up for their major league debuts, joining catcher Bruce Maxwell, first baseman/outfielder Matt Olson and utility man Chad Pinder as young pieces that could form the foundation of this club for years to come.
Olson has since gone back down to the minors, and Barreto is likely to do the same for a short spell. But there’s no doubt this group factors heavily in the A’s plans.
An emotional goodbye to Vogt
The veteran catcher had seen his playing time diminished greatly in recent weeks, but it still was a jolt for everyone in the clubhouse when Vogt was designated for assignment, ending a four-plus year run with Oakland that saw him develop into a team leader and fan favorite.
The A’s wanted to clear room for Maxwell to join the big club and split catching duties with Josh Phegley. Vogt wound up getting claimed on waivers by Milwaukee, and in his first game at Miller Park, he hit two home runs.
Healy has a monster month
Ryon Healy posted three multi-homer games in June, and he went deep 10 times total in the month, tied for second-most in the American League. That total was the highest by an Athletic in June since Mark McGwire hit 10 homers himself in 1997. Healy’s 26 RBI were the most for the team in June since Scott Hatteberg notched 27 in 2004.
This body of work continued to show that Healy is adjusting well to his role as the primary D.H., though he’s likely to see more time at first base if the A’s pull the trigger on a Yonder Alonso trade.
Longtime pitching coach Curt Young fired
Change wasn’t relegated to the 25-man roster in June. Curt Young, who had served as Oakland’s pitching coach for all but one of the past 14 seasons, was let go June 15 and replaced by bullpen coach Scott Emerson.
It was a surprise move in that pitching is just one of multiple areas that the A’s have short-circuited at various points this season, and injuries have hit the staff hard. But there’s also no denying the across-the-board pitching numbers were in need of improvement.
Which veterans will be on the move?
Trade rumors involving A’s players are as inevitable this time of year as the summer heat.
That’s a combination of the A’s last-place standing and the group of veterans they have who are on expiring and/or team-friendly contracts. Starter Sonny Gray, second baseman Jed Lowrie, first baseman Yonder Alonso and any of a number of veteran relievers could be on the move, with Lowrie seeming the most likely to be dealt for sure.