GM Billy Beane spent this offseason acquiring depth for a team who looks poised to make another run at October baseball. Beane acquired a super utility player, a shortstop, a first baseman, a catcher and an extra outfielder. Rarely does a team need to dip into the well before a real game has even been played, but so is the case in Oakland this season.
As of today the Oakland A’s opening day roster will have a fairly familiar face in a not so familiar role. With Adam Rosales starting the year on the DL after a terrific spring and Hiroyuki Nakajima straining his hamstring recently in Phoenix the Green and Gold will have to depend on their depth early on this season. Though it may not come from where you might think.
The trouble with these injuries is that this leaves a question mark at second base again this season. With Eric Sogard dominating the Cactus League Manager Bob Melvin’s hand may have to be forced. Scott Sizemore, who was hurt all of last season, was supposed to be penciled in as the team’s starting second baseman, however, Sizemore has struggled this spring thus further forcing Melvin’s hand.
Sogard has been up and down between the A’s and the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats since being acquired from the Padres a couple years back. He has become what many people call a “four-A” player. This means Sogard is too good for Triple-A baseball but not good enough to stick around in the Major Leagues. The numbers, unfortunately, back up that statement. Sogard has a dismal .190 career batting average and an ineffective .237 on base percentage. Couple that with a lack of power and only average defense and you have a recipe for a player who will not stick around for long with the big team.
This spring however, Sogard took the Cactus League by storm. He leaves Arizona heading back to San Francisco where the A’s will begin the final three game series of the preseason with a .500 batting average and a .558 on base percentage in 23 games. At the beginning of the spring Melvin mentioned that roster spots that were up for grabs would be determined off of statistics. This is why Sogard will likely start opening day at second base against the Mariners for the Green and Gold.
With all the injuries that have taken place this spring for the A’s in Phoenix, GM Billy Beane looks like a genius for adding so much depth. Obviously no one can predict the injuries that occur but having depth will see the A’s able to weather the storm. Even though Eric Sogard has never produced in Oakland this may finally be his chance to break out and stick with the big team. Early on in his career in San Diego Sogard was seen as an excellent hitting prospect. Starting April 1 Sogard may finally get his chance to live up to the potential thrown on him.