In 2013, the Oakland A’s did not a permanent designated hitter and rotated this position between a few different players. However, none of these players really fit the role of DH such as David Ortiz does for the Red Sox. With so many moves and trades made during the off season, the Athletics are giving off the vibe that they are preparing to go for a World Series win in 2014. But the question of who will be appointed as the full-time designated hitter still goes unanswered since the Athletics acquired mostly pitchers and players who are stronger defensively instead of any power hitters.
So who would be a good fit to play DH in 2014? There have been many rumors that catcher John Jaso will most likely fill this position and stay at this position for the majority of the 2014 season. This makes sense for a few reason.
Jaso had a season ending concussion in late July of 2013 of which he was still feeling the effects all the way into September. Putting him back behind the plate might not be the best choice for health reason seeing as he could suffer another concussion quite easily from an opposing player sliding into home. Additionally, Jaso is probably the least skilled defensively out of the three Athletic catchers, so taking him out of the catching rotation would not cause that many problems.
As for his skills offensively, Jaso is a consistent batter with a great on-base percentage. In 2013, he was hitting .271 and had a .387 OBP before suffering the concussion. In 2012, he had a .276 AVG and a .394 OBP. Additionally, Jaso particularly good against right-handed pitchers with an overall batting average of .272 and a career OPS that leaps from 755 to 792 when only looking at his at-bats against right-handed pitchers.
Even though Jaso seems like the most probable option for DH, are there a few other players that would fill this position. One I can think of is Alberto Callaspo. After acquiring him just before the trade deadline in July 2013, Callaspo found success in Oakland.
During his first month with the Athletics, Callaspo batted .301 and had a .425 SLG. Additionally, with the Athletics acquiring Nick Punto during this offseason, it is probable that Punto will take over second base and push Callaspo down to the second or even third string second baseman while still holding strong as the second string third baseman behind Josh Donaldson. If Callaspo is as successful as he was at the end of 2013, he would certainly be a good option for DH.
Another player that could be the DH for the Oakland A’s is Josh Reddick. This may seem crazy seeing as he was in a slump for the majority of 2013. However, this upcoming season could be his time to shine since he is way overdue for some success. Additionally, the newly acquired outfielder Craig Gentry could fill Reddick’s spot in right. With a .239 career AVG and .302 career OBP, he would not be an awful option as DH.
Knowing the Athletics, they will probably rotate the DH position depending on who needs some resting time from playing in the field. Like in 2013, we will probably see Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp, and others players in this position throughout the season. However, if the Athletics can nail down at least a semi-permanent DH, I think the team would benefit as a whole from the consistency and structure.