When reviewing this year’s Oakland Athletics’ stats, fans will notice all three of the A’s second baseman, Eric Sogard, Nick Punto, and Alberto Callaspo scattered in the bottom five slots of team production. Despite their versatility to play other positions on the diamond, they aren’t showing much production at the plate with Sogard at .203, Punto at .206 and Callaspo, who’s even been used at DH, leading the group with a mere .239.
Second base was one of the more interesting Spring Training battles coming into this season with Punto and Callaspo both hitting in the mid-300 range with many thinking Sogard’s defensive prowess over Callaspo would give him the edge.
The A’s had high hopes when they captured Punto from the Dodgers when he agreed to a one-year, $3 million contract last November. There was the same optimism when they acquired Callaspo last July in the Grant Green deal. (BTW – Green is hitting .309 for the Angels since being called up from AAA this month).
Now just over a month into the new season, none has been able to produce this year. Runners are stranded on base, scoring opportunities are lost, and the bottom of the order continues to flounder.
Callaspo did show promise at the start of the season, however has been in an ultra-freeze going 1 for 16 (.063) in his last six games. Sogard and Punto haven’t done much better hitting .143 and .200 respectively in May.
So what’s on the horizon?
While Seattle spent big bucks going after Robinson Cano, and the A’s would just LOVE to have someone the caliber of Houston’s Jose Altuve, who also tears up Oakland pitching, there are possibilities out there for GM Billy Beane to explore.
Second base is full of under-the-radar players. As the adage goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
This weekend the A’s and fans will have a chance to take a look at the Nationals’ Danny Espinosa, currently hitting .280 in a backup role. Espinosa was sent to the minors when he seemingly lost his job to Anthony Rendon at the start of the season. When Ryan Zimmerman injured his thumb sliding into second base and had to go on the DL, Rendon switched to third base and Espinosa came back up. It’s unknown how long until Zimmerman returns.
Another possibility exploration is the Brewers Scooter Gennett, who took over second base for the ever-popular former All-Star Rickie Weeks. As the first-place Brewers make a serious run for the playoffs against the divisional Cardinals and Reds in their division, they may feel the need to pick up some help for their oft-injured pitching staff. This may require the sacrifice of a journeyman pitcher or quality reliever that the A’s may still need for their own run. (Is anyone else thinking Jim Johnson here?)
While the age-old philosophy holds that teams value strong defense up the middle of the diamond, with the current trio there’s a black hole at the plate that needs to be filled.