Heading into the All-Star break, Sam Fuld was batting .208/.288/.317, with a home run and six stolen bases. While his defense is phenomenal, is there any doubt that Fuld needs to be replaced with someone who can provide a little offense?
Right now, the A’s are using Fuld primarily in left and center, and he’s bringing down the team in those spots. He’s worth exactly 0.9 Wins Above Replacement, with the majority of that value being found in his defense.
For as much as been made of Josh Reddick’s struggles against lefties, no one has mentioned Fuld’s struggles against everyone. If Reddick is to be benched for hitting poorly against lefties, what exactly is Fuld still doing in the Oakland outfield?
Right now, Jason Pridie is tearing up Triple-A pitching. This season, he’s hit .298/.356/.485 against opponents, with 12 homers and 11 swiped bags to his name as well. His 57 RBIs lead the team, and he’s just having a fantastic all-around season.
It may be time to see what kind of damage Pridie can do against major league pitching. In the past, he’s had brief stints in the majors, but he’s never been given long-term consideration. With the A’s wavering between rebuilding and contending, Pridie has an opportunity to prove himself here if the team becomes sellers, and at any rate, he can’t be worse than Fuld.
Would it be possible to trade Fuld for some bullpen help? The A’s acquired Fuld when he was dealt in exchange for Tommy Milone, so it’s not like they paid a great deal for him. As previously mentioned, Fuld has not been good, and anything the team could get would be better than outright releasing him.
The Marlins might be a possible target. With Giancarlo Stanton out, they are looking for temporary help, and they’ll likely want someone cheap since the team isn’t playoff-bound. Someone like Carter Capps, who has at struggles at the major league level before, but has a 1.42 ERA and 48 strikeouts in just 25.1 innings pitched this year, would be an outstanding deal for the A’s.
If Oakland can’t trade Fuld, then why not try benching him and using him exclusively as a pinch hitter? He has some extremely unique splits in this area. Fuld has a career average of .226/.306/.326 when he starts the game in the lineup. On the other hand, he’s batting .281/.366/.375 when he comes in as a substitute for someone. Of course, the sample sizes are vastly different – he has 146 plate appearances as a pinch hitter, whereas he has over 1000 as a starter, but it may be time to see if Fuld’s value lies as a bench player.
Whatever way the A’s go, one thing is certain – Fuld should not be in the lineup very often, because he’s hurting the team consistently.