2013 A's roster breakdown: Second base

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2013 A's roster breakdown: Second base

OAKLAND -- This is the third installment of the Oakland A's position-by-position offseason breakdown, teeing up the team's options for the 2013 season. Second base could be one of the more interesting Spring Training battles for Oakland. A's general manager Billy Beane indicated that Scott Sizemore will move back to second base this offseason. Based on that information, it is likely that Sizemore is the favorite to land the starting job out of camp if all goes according to plan. The A's remain very confident in Sizemore's abilities. He was acquired from the Detroit Tigers in 2011 and converted to a third baseman. In just 95 games with the A's he hit .249 with 21 doubles, 11 homers, and 52 RBI. He handled the transition to third base well defensively. Now he gets to move back to his natural position.In the first full squad workout in Spring Training, Sizemore tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and was lost for the season. After a year of rehabbing with the team Sizemore will be ready to fight for a starting gig in 2013. The A's organization still thinks very highly of him. "The great thing about Scott is he is a natural second baseman and now he's played third," Beane said at the conclusion of the season. "I personally have high hopes for Scott, he is very much part of our picture going forward." Prior to being traded it looked like Cliff Pennington was a heavy favorite to enter 2013 as the A's starting second baseman. This cracks open the door for Jemile Weeks, who lost the job. Weeks was labeled as untouchable after a strong rookie campaign in which he hit .303 with 22 stolen bases. He was hit hard by the sophomore slump, though, and lost his job. He only hit .220 in 2012 after starting 111 of the A's first 121 games. He fell out of favor with the A's front office and was sent to Triple-A Sacramento on August 21. "He's a very talented kid but it's certainly a disappointment to see him go back to Triple-A after having such a great rookie campaign," Beane said.Weeks was handed the starting job in 2012 and lost it. The A's have made it very clear that he will have to earn every start going forward. He has the ability to ignite the A's lineup. If he can find a way to start from scratch and fix his game he could be a star. Humbled going into 2013, Weeks will have to prove he has what it takes to earn his job back. Another intriguing possibility for second base in 2013 will be Grant Green. It is worth noting that he was told to focus solely on second base toward the end of the year. He played second base (19 games), third base (11 games), shortstop (19 games), left field (49 games), and center field (30 games) in Triple-A in 2012. Green is one of the A's top prospects and the belief is that his offense will translate in the major leagues. He was second in the A's organization with a .296 average, finished third with 75 RBI, and sixth with 15 home runs. The A's just need to find a position for him. Could second base be the answer? Don't be surprised if he finds a way to win the job at some point this upcoming season. Here in 2013:Jemile Weeks, 118 G, .221 AVG, .305 OBP, 8 3B, 20 RBI, 16 SB
Scott Sizemore, DNP
Adam Rosales, 42 G, .222 AVG, .297 OBP, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 11 BB
Grant Green, 125 G, .296 AVG, .338 OBP, 28 2B, 6 3B, 15 HR, 75 RBI (AAA)
Eric Sogard, 37 G, .206 OBP, 3 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI
Andy Parrino, 55 G, .207, .316 OBP, 5 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI
Free Agents: NONE Biggest Question: How will Sizemore bounce back after a year off? Analyst's Take: Shooty Babitt"That's the tough one. The reason it is so tough is because Scott Sizemore hasn't done enough to earn that second base job. He came in and did a good job to earn the third base job, but he hasn't proven to everybody he can play second base every day at the major league level. That's why they moved him to third." "I think Jemile Weeks is done in Oakland. I was surprised when they brought him back up. Especially the way he left. For me, I still think that position is wide open. I think that somebody could come in there and take that position." "Grant Green can play second base and I always felt that would be his best position because I felt he could be an offensive second baseman. He catches the balls that are hit to him, he's got a slow gait, he doesn't have a quick first step, but he is an instinctive guy, I think he is not as exposed at second base." Best Available and affordable (Not much to see here) Maicer Izturis (32), Kelly Johnson (31), Jose Lopez (29), Freddy Sanchez (34)

A's holiday shopping focuses on a center fielder

A's holiday shopping focuses on a center fielder

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The A’s didn’t add any players during the four-day winter meetings, but they did wave goodbye to one.

Minor league right-hander Dylan Covey was scooped up by the Chicago White Sox in Thursday’s Rule 5 draft. The Sox pay the A’s $50,000 for his rights, and he must either remain on their 25-man roster for the entire 2017 season or be offered back to Oakland for $25,000.

The 25-year-old Covey, ranked the A’s No. 20 prospect by mlb.com, was an Arizona Fall League standout this offseason after working his way back from an oblique injury that wiped out most of his 2016 season.

“We’ll see what happens,” A’s general manager David Forst said. “He certainly was as deserving as anybody of being protected (on the A’s 40-man roster), we just ran out of spots. Good for him to get this opportunity.”

As for ways Oakland might supplement its own roster, that task continues.

The A’s held plenty of discussions over four days spent at the sprawling Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, but those talks didn’t bear fruit in their search for a center fielder. They had trade dialogue with the Kansas City Royals regarding Jarrod Dyson, a blazing runner and potential leadoff man, but couldn’t find common ground.

As the holidays approach, the A’s will continue to scan the free agent market and explore trade opportunities.

“My guess is there are plenty of things we talked about this week that have legs, and those conversations will continue over the next few weeks,” Forst said. “We’ve got two months until pitchers and catchers report, four months until the season. We’re not the only ones leaving here without actually consummating something.”

The Orioles are another team reportedly trying to pry Dyson from the Royals. Another center fielder mentioned as being available is Reds speedster Billy Hamilton, although reports suggest Cincinnati isn’t in a rush to move him.

Dexter Fowler is the best free agent center fielder still on the market, although Austin Jackson and Rajai Davis seem to fall more in the A’s price range.

Forst was asked how much urgency there is to the center field search.

“I’m not confident they’re gonna be there all winter, there’s only a certain number of guys,” he said. “We’re not going to risk anything to jump out (and do something) we wouldn’t otherwise do. But we think we’re being diligent.

“We cast a wide net, and we continue to. We have to keep doing that just to make sure — free agents, trades, different kinds of players, platoons, whatever. I think we have to keep our toes in every option.”

As for other areas the A’s can improve, they may look to add a veteran starting pitcher. Just speculation, but Doug Fister is one free agent whose price tag figures to be reasonable, and he’s a Northern California native. However, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the A’s simply invited a veteran to camp on a minor league contract to see if they can find a diamond in the rough, or at least someone to provide competition.

A’s executive VP of baseball operations Billy Beane mentioned second base as an area of concern because of injury issues (Jed Lowrie) and inexperience (Joey Wendle, Chad Pinder), but it’s very possible the A’s stick with their in-house options.
 

Notes: A's likely to leave winter meetings with unfinished business

Notes: A's likely to leave winter meetings with unfinished business

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — A’s general manager David Forst flies home Thursday afternoon, and unless there’s a drastic change in the final stages of the winter meetings, he’ll still be searching for a center fielder.

Wednesday’s events included some discussion between Oakland and other parties, but no concrete progress toward landing a center fielder. That’s despite the late-breaking news Tuesday that the A’s and Royals were talking trade for fleet-footed Kansas City outfielder Jarrod Dyson.

“It’s a two-way street with a free agent or a team, a function of the other side’s pace,” Forst said. “It’s unlikely (they complete a deal at the meetings), and not for lack of conversations or lack of ideas. Just things move at different speeds.”

It doesn’t necessarily mean the chance of landing Dyson is done. Forst pointed out talks which transpire at the winter meetings sometimes materialize into a deal down the road. But it’s also worth noting that the Baltimore Orioles are pursuing Dyson too. FanRag’s Jon Heyman reported that Baltimore and Kansas City have discussed him.

Therefore, consider the A’s as players in the free agent as well as trade markets.

“We’ve cast a wide net,” Forst said.

Two free agent center fielders came off the board Wednesday as the Rockies agreed to a five-year $70 million contract with Ian Desmond and the Rangers re-signed Carlos Gomez to a one-year $11.5 million deal. Desmond was assumed to be out of the A’s price range, but Gomez was thought to be a realistic target. He opted to return to Texas, which needed to do some outfield re-stocking after losing Desmond and Carlos Beltran, who like Gomez was an in-season acquisition for the Rangers in 2016.

The three most enticing free agents left now at the position appear to be Dexter Fowler — like Desmond, expected to command a pricey multi-year deal — former Athletic Rajai Davis and Austin Jackson.

As for other needs, the A’s would add a veteran starting pitcher at the right price and could look to upgrade at second base, though neither of those is as high a priority as landing someone to anchor the middle of their outfield.

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Manager Bob Melvin addressed reporters at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. Though A’s top baseball official Billy Beane said Tuesday the organizational focus was on the future, aiming for a strong team to be in place by the time the A’s potentially move into a new ballpark, Melvin’s attention is solely on the upcoming season.

“In 2012, we had I don't know how many rookies on that team. It was all rookie starters, and we ended up winning the division,” Melvin said. “Once you start the season, the focus is all about winning.”

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Should the A’s not bring in a center fielder who can also lead off, the first in-house candidate Melvin mentioned as perhaps hitting atop the order was Joey Wendle. He gave a nice showing of himself in a September call-up and hit leadoff for a stretch, but there’s no guarantee that Wendle even starts at second base next season, especially if veteran Jed Lowrie is healthy after foot surgery.

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Former Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale has rejoined Oakland’s staff as Melvin’s third-base coach, and Melvin has plenty of confidence that Hale will capably fill Ron Washington’s shoes as the infield instructor. Washington was popular with A’s infielders and had particular success working with shortstop Marcus Semien.

Hale served as Melvin’s bench coach before getting hired by Arizona before the 2015 season.

“Obviously we've talked a lot about Wash and what he's meant to some of these younger guys,” Melvin said. “We feel like if anybody can replace Wash, it's Chip Hale.”

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Forst said John Axford will pitch for Canada in the World Baseball Classic. Fellow reliever Liam Hendriks has not yet committed to Team Australia.

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Right-hander Chris Bassitt, who underwent Tommy John surgery in May, was examined by A’s head trainer Nick Paparesta on Wednesday and his recovery is going very well. He’s between throwing programs right now. Forst added that lefty Felix Doubront is also coming back well from the same procedure.