David Forst

MLB free agency: Why Jason Kipnis could be good fit to sign with A's

MLB free agency: Why Jason Kipnis could be good fit to sign with A's

The A's made a trade back in December that sent second baseman Jurickson Profar to the San Diego Padres. In return, Oakland acquired catcher Austin Allen and a player to be named later, who wound up being Buddy Reed.

That didn't take care of the second base need, at least when it came to an everyday starter. The free-agent list at the position remains somewhat full, but the idea of Jason Kipnis is fascinating.

The whys

For starters, the man knows the AL well has he has spent the entirety of his career with the Cleveland Indians. In related news, it doesn't appear the Indians are willing to re-sign him.

In other related news, he's a left-handed hitter, which is one of the main things the A's are continuing to look for this offseason.

Let's get this part out of the way. His numbers are pretty "meh" when Kipnis is playing at the Coliseum in his career. In 22 games, he has a .218/.292./310 slash line without a home run, but he has quite a few good seasons sandwiched in there with those Oakland appearances. His .602 OPS at the Coliseum also isn't too sexy, but there are plenty of names on the A's to make up for that power.

As we know, Khris Davis is due for a comeback.

Kipnis' .245/.304/.410 slash line with 17 home runs in 121 games last season is far less than what the two-time All-Star is capable of.

In the past, he's been able to improve his power. He worked with his coaches a couple of seasons ago to perfect that power. That could be something he teaches himself again.

Perhaps he needs a change of scenery.

The why nots

Well, it's a money thing. Isn't it always?

The Indians didn't pick up Kipnis' $16.5 million option in October. The A's don't have a history of reaching deep into their pockets. 

You do the math.

It wouldn't hurt to rent someone of his caliber for a season knowing there are plenty of young guys able to take over the position in the future. But is that really why these guys hit the free-agentmarket?

No. Especially for the first time in one's career -- and he's 33 years old. 

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Utility man Chad Pinder is the essence of "put him anywhere and let him do his thing." Franklin Barreto and Jorge Mateo also are options to fill in when needed, but Kipnis would be the everyday guy.

I didn't forget about the history of injuries Kip brings has dealt with. Those always are a factor, but the addition of him into that clubhouse full of personalities is interesting. 

Source: Free agent second baseman Eric Sogard interested in A's return

Source: Free agent second baseman Eric Sogard interested in A's return

Having a lefty bat at the second base position continues to be one of the A's main focuses this offseason

That could mean reuniting with Eric Sogard. A source tells NBC Sports California the 34-year-old is open to returning to Oakland.

Sogard, currently a free agent, had an exceptional campaign in 2019 slashing .290/.353/.457 with 13 homers across 110 games with the Blue Jays and the Rays. He was part of the Tampa Bay squad that came to the AL Wild-Card Game in Oakland and celebrated in the visitors' clubhouse.

A's fans remember the outcome of that. 

The second baseman spent six seasons with the A's from 2010-15 where he accumulated a .239 average with eight home runs and 105 RBI. 

The A's traded second baseman Jurickson Profar to the Padres on Dec. 2, so they have a need at the position.

Despite picking up a talented second baseman during Thursday's Rule 5 Draft, the team will still seek a more prominent starter at the position. 

[RELATED: A's are focused on keeping young stars]

The A's reportedly are interested in bringing current Mets second baseman Jed Lowrie back for the third time -- but there are 10 million reasons as to why the Mets wouldn't make a trade.

Did we mention Sogard bats left-handed yet?

Why A's are focused more on keeping young stars than MLB free agency

Why A's are focused more on keeping young stars than MLB free agency

The AL West is moving and shaking early this MLB offseason, with players coming in and out of the division. 

Star third baseman Anthony Rendon reportedly agreed to a seven-year, $245 million contract to join the Angels. The Halos also traded for former top prospect Dylan Bundy to add to their rotation, and reportedly are pursuing longtime Giants ace Madison Bumgarner. The Astros, who have been the cream of the crop out west, lost pitcher Gerrit Cole to the Yankees, and Mariners general manager Jerry DiPoto is bound to make 47 trades by spring training. 

A's GM David Forst says he's more focused on his own squad than what his division foes are up to, but he certainly isn't mad about the Cole news. 

"I'm not sad to see Gerrit Cole leave our division is the best way to put it," Forst said to NBC Sports California in a 1-on-1 interview Wednesday. "We try not to get too wrapped up into what other teams are doing."

The A's came to the Winter Meetings in San Diego looking to upgrade their roster like every other team, however, they're much more focused on who they have in-house as opposed to the free-agent market this year. 

Oakland should receive a big boost to its starting rotation with the additions of Jesus Luzardo (22) and A.J. Puk (24) next season. The A's infield also is full of young talent, including budding stars Marcus Semien (29), Matt Chapman (26) and Matt Olson (25). Franklin Barreto (23), Jorge Mateo (24) and Sheldon Neuse (25) will compete for second base. 

"We've got a really good foundation and we're not heavily invested in free agency right now because we have those guys," Forst said. "We have young pitching, we have the position player group. So our focus has been on filling holes -- looking for a left-handed bat, something in the bullpen. We're fortunate enough to not have to be out there in free agency." 

Semien, who finished third in AL MVP voting last season after hitting 33 homers with an .892 OPS, is expected to earn nearly $14 million in arbitration this offseason and becomes a free agent after next season. The Bay Area native also has reiterated his hope to stay with the A's long term. 

Chapman and Olson both are arbitration-eligible after next season and are set to hit free agency once the 2023 season ends. 

"Certainly our hope is to keep all these guys together," Forst said. "You mentioned Marcus, who's going to be a free agent potentially after this year. That's something we'll address as the season goes along, and the rest of those guys, we're looking for ways to keep them in Oakland as long as possible."

The A's real goal when it comes to 2020 is avoiding the AL Wild Card Game after falling two years in a row in the winner-take-all contest. Forst and the rest of the front office is focused on giving Oakland its best chance at winning the division to get a better shot at the World Series. 

[RELATED: Beane opens up on A's-Semien negotiations, Astros scandal]

"You want to give your guys a chance to play in a series with a better chance to advance," Forst said. "To do that, you have to win the division. We've obviously stayed close to Houston the last couple of years, but as we put this team together, we're definitely looking towards a way to win the division, to get out of the wild card game and give our guys a better chance at a division series."

The A's will need another big season from the Semien, Chapman, Olson trio for that to happen, and they hope to keep them together well into the next decade.