Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane recently told Jim Bowden of ESPN’s “GM’s Office” video blog that the he hopes the team is still active in the trade market prior to the July 31 deadline but what move could be made to make a already deep team, deeper?
The Oakland A’s might have one of the league’s most potent offenses so far this season but they have gotten little production from the second base position. While clubs don’t normally rely a great deal of offensive production from their second basemen, they have been a relative non-factor Oakland in 2014.
In the regular season such holes can be masked, especially with a line-up as deep as the A’s but come the playoffs those gaps begin to be exposed by facing the league’s best pitchers on a daily basis.
Nick Punto always seems to be on winning ball clubs and he has been a great role player for A’s this season but when Punto is at his best he is just that, a platoon player, not an everyday guy.
After going 13-for-35 (.371) in his first 10 games back from the paternity list, veteran infielder Alberto Callaspo has cooled down as of late going 6-for-33 (.182) in his last ten games. Callaspo was sidelined with a strained right hamstring, trying to beat out a ground ball in Friday night’s loss to Seattle. The injury does not appear to be serious but Callaspo was placed on the 15-day DL. Much like Punto, Callaspo would be much more valuable to the A’s as a platoon player.
Due to Callaspo’s emergence Eric Sogard has seen his playing time significantly diminish. Sogard is hitting a puny .194 and his roster spot may be in jeopardy with the return of Josh Reddick from the DL.
Combined Oakland A’s second baseman are hitting only .212 with 51 RBI’s and 4 home-runs so far this season but those struggles have yet to impact the club’s offense as a whole in 2014. However, in the playoffs offensive deficiencies are magnified by good pitching and the A’s can expect the lack of production from second base to manifest itself eventually.
There are legitimate options for the A’s front office to pursue prior to the deadline but a significant upgrade will cost the club another piece of its future.
Either Ben Zobrist of the Rays or Daniel Murphy of the Mets would be the best available options for the front office to consider. Zobrist is a veteran with an expiring contract and he would provide the A’s with a reliable every day second baseman, that has plenty of playoff experience. Murphy, on the other hand, has no playoff experience but he has been very productive in 2014, hitting .297 with 37 RBI’s and 7 home-runs.
Like the addition of Samardzija and Hammels provided the pitching staff depth, the addition of either Zobrist or Murphy would give the Oakland A’s offense another level of depth, allowing both Punto and Callaspo to settle into and flourish in more comfortable roles a complimentary players.