Oakland A’s have a brand new infield


Oakland A’s fans woke up today to find that they Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle was correct when she told Harold Reynolds and Matt Vasgersian on MLB Network‘s Hot Stove that general manager Billy Beane was not finished making moves. She also said that he would be going after not one bat, but two.

The A’s now have a brand new infield and two brand new bats. Slusser confirmed on Twitter that there is a pending trade between the A’s and the Tampa Bay Rays. The A’s will recieve super utility man Ben Zobrist, who has been the subject of a lot of speculation lately, along with shortstop Yunel Escobar.

They are sending catcher John Jaso, who they obtained from the Rays two years ago, back to Tampa Bay along with top prospects outfielder Boog Powell and shortstop Daniel Robertson.

This makes the Athletics’ shortstop of the future 18-year-old Frank Barreto who was acquired as part of the trade that sent Josh Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Brett Lawrie. Jim Isaac/Getty Images.

Brett Lawrie. Jim Isaac/Getty Images.

With Brett Lawrie now at third base and a platoon of Billy Butler and Ike Davis at first base, the A’s have a brand new infield. Zobrist, a “jack of all trades” will play at second base and recently acquired shortstop Marcus Semien will become the ultility infielder as Yunel Escobar will take over at the position.

It’s a very different infield from Brandon Moss/Stephen Vogt at first, Josh Donaldson at third and Eric Sogard/Nick Punto/Alberto Callaspo covering the middle infield which was one of the A’s major weaknesses last season. Well there was that, and a complete lack of offense in the second half of the season.

Zobrist, a two-time All-Star, can also play in the outfield for the A’s as well as cover other infield positions if needed. A switch-hitter Zobrist hit .272 with 10 home runs and 52 RBI in 146 games with the Rays last season. He’s proven however that he can hit 20-plus homers in a season, having done so in 2009, 2011 and 2012.

31-year-old Escobar has played for the Toronto Blue Jays, Atlanta Braves and the Rays in his eight-year MLB career. He’s got a strong arm and a career batting average of .276. He has averaged around 10 home runs and 59 RBI a season.

Giving up Robertson and Powell was probably not an easy move for Beane but this is such an upgrade for Oakland that it should be worth it.

Yunel Escobar. Getty Images.

Yunel Escobar. Getty Images.

Zobrist, 33, is in the final year of his contract and it isn’t clear at this point whether or not the A’s will try to sign him to an extension, so that the infield is covered until Barreto is ready for the Majors.

The A’s should try to extend Zobrist for a few years. Excellent defensively and very versatile, Zobrist is just the type of player the A’s are always looking for, often using a lot of platoons and moving players around in the lineup daily.

There is also his impressive Wins Above Replacement (WAR) statistics to consider. He led the league in WAR in 2011with an 8.7 mark and led the Rays last season with a WAR of 5.0.

*Now I’m talking mainly to A’s fans (my Oaktown side hella coming out …

This is a great move by Beane and to everyone who’s doubted him of late … I think you should reconsider. The A’s have enough versatility to have an entire lineup of right-handed hitters and a full lineup of left-handed hitters which is pretty insane when you think about it.

So as I always say, “In Billy I Trust” – come on A’s fans let’s turn it back into ‘In Billy WE Trust”! You may miss players, I get that but they come and go. Especially in Oakland, it’s part of the business. But then you get new and exciting players to watch.

Just ask your right fielder Josh Reddick via Slusser,

Reddick’s excited and I know I’m excited to have Zobrist and Escobar headed out west!! Hopefully they will be all be at Fan Fest on February 8, 2015 at O.Co!

Let’s Go Oakland!!

Little Doo and Big Doo! #FaceOfMLB

Always an A’s fan, Sean Doolittle! #FaceOfMLB

*And don’t forget to vote for Sean Doolittle – this year’s Face of the Athletics on MLBN – for the #FaceOfMLB competition. We took “Nerd Power” to a crazy level last year! Can’t we do the same with unicorns??

#SeanDoolittle #FaceOfMLB #Unicorns

#SeanDoolittle #FaceOfMLB #Unicorns

You guys know what I am sayin’! Let’s do this! He’s likely going up against batting champion Jose Altuve (He really IS the Face of the Astros & I like him but we gotta beat him! lol!) on Monday so Tweet your votes, memes and unicorns for #SeanDoolittle #FaceOfMLB!!!

VOTE #SeanDoolittle #FaceOfMLB

 

Sean & Ryan Doolittle. MLB.com

Sean & Ryan Doolittle. MLB.com