At Home Plate: A’s have logjam in outfield

The Oakland Athletics suddenly have five capable outfielders for three spots. However, general manager Billy Beane has no plans to trade one of them.

As it stands, the A’s have Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Reddick, Coco Crisp, Seth Smith and Chris Young all on the roster. Even with the luxury of being an AL team with a DH, someone would still be relegated to a bench role.

Cespedes is not going anywhere after a monster rookie reason and neither is Reddick after finally showing what he can do in extended playing time. Crisp or Smith could be trade targets, but the rumor mill surrounding these players have been non-existent.

Maybe A’s manager Bob Melvin would experiment with a platoon system between Smith and Young, but Young is a tremendous defensive outfielder who should be playing everyday. Then again, so is Crisp, so the decisions may be tough for Melvin.

Coco Crisp and Jemile Weeks (Photo by Keith Allison, used under creative commons license)

Coco Crisp and Jemile Weeks (Photo by Keith Allison, used under creative commons license)

Yet in the same trade that that landed the A’s Young, they shipped shortstop Cliff Pennington to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Stephen Drew, who played shortstop for the A’s down the stretch last year, is a free agent garnering interest from several teams.

If Oakland fails to re-sign Drew, there will be a void a shortstop for the team. As it stands, the team has just one natural shortstop, Andy Parrino, who spent most of last season at Triple-A for the San Diego Padres.

With a surplus in the outfield, it would make sense for Beane to try to trade for a shortstop. The A’s have a division title to defend against some tough competition, so having a complete team will be critical.

However, Beane maybe feels confident that he can re-sign Drew to play shortstop and keep all five outfielders. Injuries are always a concern for any team, so having that sort of depth in the outfield may be beneficial.

Maybe Beane is stockpiling this one resource so he can use it as a negotiating factor for a team that may need outfield help at some point during the season. If a team loses an outfielder for an extended period, just call up the A’s who have five.

It would not be a surprising if Beane did in fact trade an outfielder for a shortstop. There is still plenty of time left this offseason, and for all we know, the mysterious Beane may have a deal in place as we speak.

But with a weak free-agent market for shortstops (other than Drew), Beane may need to act fact to improve this position of need, and he has the pieces in the outfield to make a deal.

The A’s would be in great shape with four starting outfielders and a DH if this were slow-pitch softball, but we all know that’s not the case.


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