A's 2013 roster breakdown: Third base


A's 2013 roster breakdown: Third base

Editor's note: This is the fourth installment of the Oakland A's position-by-position offseason breakdown, teeing up the team's options for the 2013 season.The departure of Eric Chavez left the A's starting guys like Jack Hannahan, Adam Kennedy, and Kevin Kouzmanoff, and Oakland felt it had finally found its answer at third in Scott Sizemore. He smacked 11 homers and drove in 52 runs in 95 games with the A's in 2011, but in the first full squad workout in spring training, Sizemore tore the ACL in his left knee and was lost for the season. With Sizemore out for the year, the A's relied on catcher-turned-third baseman Josh Donaldson. He struggled to keep the job, though. Donaldson only hit .153 with one homer and seven RBIs in 28 games spanning two stints in the first half of the season. Without an answer at the hot corner, the A's added Brandon Inge. The veteran third baseman changed the chemistry of the A's clubhouse and crushed four home runs while driving in 16 runs over a stretch of five games shortly after being acquired. As Inge enjoyed a career renaissance with the A's, Donaldson worked hard in Triple-A. When Inge went on the DL in August, Donaldson took the job and ran with it. In Donaldson's final 47 games, he hit .290 with 11 doubles, eight home runs, and 26 RBIs. "It's safe to say the way Josh played, he's a guy we are thinking about over at third going forward," A's general manager Billy Beane said at the conclusion of the season. "He seemed to settle in when he played at third everyday. That's his natural position out of college. He played it great. He did everything that you would want a young third baseman to do.""He has a lot to be proud of going into next season," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Absolutely, he should be considered in the plans here."So, which Josh Donaldson will the A's get in 2013? The one that mashed and hit key home runs in the second half? Or the one that struggled in the first half? We just might find out. Donaldson is considered the favorite to win the third base job in 2013, especially because Sizemore will be moved back to second base. That's a huge vote of confidence from the front office. The A's should also consider bringing back Inge. The free agent market at third base is very thin this offseason. He is coming off season-ending shoulder surgery and could be affordable. The A's could really use some depth at third base. Inge, who was a finalist for a Rawlings Gold Glove award in 2012, would provide very capable defense and give the A's leadership presence in the clubhouse. Here in 2013:Josh Donaldson, 75 G, .241 AVG, .289 OBP, 9 HR, 33 RBI
Adam Rosales, 3 G
Grant Green, 11 G (AAA)
Eric Sogard, 14 G
Scott Sizemore, DNP

Free Agents:Brandon Inge
Biggest Question:Can Donaldson parlay his strong second half into full-time success at the hot corner?Analyst's Take -- Shooty Babitt:"They always talk about that sophomore jinx. I think Donaldson snuck up on a lot of people last year but he does have a chance to be a good Major League player. I don't think third base will have a lot of competition. That's his job to fall flat on his face or lose at this point." "The dude does have an incredible amount of confidence and if you talk to him, there's no way in the world to get him to believe he wasn't supposed to do the things that he did last year. He showed ability and confidence." Best Available (and possibly affordable)Brandon Inge, 36
Jack Hannahan, 32
Mark DeRosa, 38
Scott Rolen, 38
Eric Chavez, 35

A's lineup: Young faces throughout as Athletics start series vs White Sox

A's lineup: Young faces throughout as Athletics start series vs White Sox

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Astros-A's coverage begins at 4 p.m. with Pregame Live on NBC Sports California and streaming right here.

The latest A's youth movement embarks on its first road trip when they visit the south side of Chicago and the White Sox. Manager Bob Melvin has issued his lineup for Game 1 of the series.

Chicago White Sox:
1. Melky Cabrera (S) LF
2. Jose Abreu (R) 1B
3. Avisail Garcia (R) RF
4. Todd Frazier (R) 3B
5. Matt Davidson (R) DH
6. Tim Anderson (R) SS
7. Yolmer Sanchez (S) 2B
8. Kevan Smith (R) C
9. Adam Engel (R) CF
RHP -- Mike Pelfrey 

Oakland A's:
1. Matt Joyce (L) LF
2. Matt Olson (L) RF
3. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
4. Khris Davis (R) DH
5. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
6. Ryon Healy (R) 3B
7. Chad Pinder (R) SS
8. Bruce Maxwell (L) C
9. Jaycob Brugman (L) CF
RHP -- Jharel Cotton


New-look A's continue the youth movement with Maxwell's arrival

New-look A's continue the youth movement with Maxwell's arrival

OAKLAND — The A’s set off for Chicago on Thursday evening to begin their next road trip, and how their dynamic has changed over the course of one week.

They began their most recent homestand by cutting ties with veteran third baseman Trevor Plouffe to make room for hotshot prospect Matt Chapman. On Thursday, catcher Stephen Vogt suffered the same fate as Plouffe, getting designated for assignment to make room for another young player in Bruce Maxwell.

The calendar may still read June, with more than half of the season remaining, but the A’s are cleaning house, undergoing a reboot and playing the rest of 2017 with an emphasis on what lies ahead.

Five of the nine position players in their starting lineup for Thursday’s 12-9 loss to the Houston Astros are what you would consider “future” guys — center fielder Jaycob Brugman, third baseman Ryon Healy, second baseman Chad Pinder, Maxwell and right fielder Matt Olson.

They will shuffle around the diamond a bit, and Olson may only stay with the big club until Chapman comes off the disabled list (though Olson’s full-time status in the bigs doesn’t seem far off). Regardless, the plan is crystal clear — the A’s are hitching their wagon to their young core and are prepared to let them develop at the major league level, with whatever successes and failures may come with the growth process.

“We do get excited about giving these guys playing time,” A’s general manager David Forst said before Thursday’s game.

The Astros finished off a four-game sweep of Oakland with their 12-9 victory, jumping out to a 10-0 lead and then holding on after the A’s mounted a late charge. Glance up and down the box score, and those key young players were instrumental in so much that went right for the A’s.

Maxwell went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Olson drove in two runs. Pinder had two hits and an RBI. Brugman chipped in an RBI single and walked twice. That was the silver lining on a day that starting pitcher Jesse Hahn struggled mightily, allowing nine earned runs in just two innings.

“These guys are gonna be important,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “The last thing you want to see when you’re down 10-0 is guys just cash it in, and that wasn’t the case. These guys all have something to play for. They’re playing for jobs. And in the future, starting jobs.”

Sometime in the not-too-distant future, middle infielder Franklin Barreto will join the mix from Triple-A Nashville. For now, an immediate storyline is the health of Chapman, who joined the 10-day disabled list with a case of cellulitis (bacterial infection) in his left knee. The A’s checked him into a hospital Wednesday night to get an intravenous antibiotic, after his condition “plateaued” with oral antibiotics, according to Forst.

He said Chapman is likely to leave the hospital Friday, and the A’s are hopeful the rookie third baseman will be able to return when he’s eligible to come off the D.L. His stint can be backdated to Monday, meaning Chapman is eligible to return next Thursday at Houston.

He’s part of the youth movement that resulted in Vogt getting shown the exit. Maxwell sent Vogt a text message wishing him the best Thursday morning, and Vogt quickly responded, wishing him the best. That meant a lot to Maxwell, who didn’t learn until Thursday morning that his roster spot was coming at Vogt’s expense.

But Maxwell said he’s excited to be surrounded by so many players that he’s advanced through the minors with.

“Once we get everybody acclimated to each other and the game up here,” he said, “I feel like we could potentially set up a turning point for this organization for years to come.”