Would Sean Rodriguez Fit with Oakland Athletics?


The Tampa Bay Rays designated Sean Rodriguez for assignment earlier today. Why are we reporting about that on an Athletics site? Well, the Oakland Athletics are in dire need of a shortstop, or if they’re willing to move Eric Sogard there, a second baseman or, if they’re willing to part with Sogard, both and, as luck would have it, Sean Rodriguez plays both of those positions.

The free agent market for middle infield is not particularly deep at the moment and our best minor league prospect at the position won’t be available until the 2016 season so Billy Beane needs to come up with a solution sooner than later. While Sean Rodriguez may not be the household name that Hanley Ramirez or Jhonny Peralta are, he is a shortstop candidate that the A’s can afford and groom. 

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In 2014, Rodriguez had a .211 batting average over 96 games, the lowest average since his first two seasons in 2008 and 2009. That’s obviously not an improvement over Lowrie but with the right coaching, it isn’t unreasonable to think that Rodriguez could work his way back to his .246 average from 2013. While his batting average dropped in 2014, his home run count hit a career high with 12 dingers to his name. Never underestimate what Daren Bush is capable of in terms of coaching hitters, just ask Moss and Donaldson.

There’s one other stat that has a few high points in his career. In 2010 and 2011, Sean Rodriguez stole 13 and 11 bases respectively which means that he’s got some speed that the Athletics could use in the lineup, as I suspect their base running is going to be a focus this year.

Defensively, his numbers aren’t going to wow you but that is, in part, because he spent very little time at any given position. In 2014 he spent time in eight different positions, including DH, with no more than 23 games in any single spot. On one hand, this shows a versatility that the A’s love having on their bench but, on the other hand, it shows that he’s not an every day player at any one position. All of that could change with a signing to Oakland considering their need at the moment.

In terms of contracts, this is going to be a rental year. After the 2015 season, Rodriguez will be a free agent but if all goes to plan, we’ll be calling up a minor league player for the 2016 season anyway. Further, Rodriguez was only expected to make $2 million in arbitration this year which is a significant savings over Jed Lowrie and may allow the Athletics to put some money in other areas of need or extend a couple of contracts.

If the Oakland Athletics were to sign Sean Rodriguez, I would expect to see him at second base, where he’s played most in 2014, and have Sogard move over to shortstop. In Rodriguez they would get a right handed bat with the potential for power, considering his home run count last year, speed on the base path, and average defense. This isn’t the most attractive solution for the A’s in the infield but it does have all the components of a typical Beane acquisition.

Rodriguez would need some work with our coaches and significant playing time at one position to find his groove but there are worse options on the table that also fit the A’s needs. Keep an eye on this player over the next few days.