The Oakland Athletics made numerous trade in July, which ultimately shifted around the roster and position players. The latest acquisition of Danny Valencia from the Toronto Blue Jays shifts around the roster once again. Because of his success against left handed pitchers, the Athletics have stated that Valencia will start at third against lefties and Brett Lawrie will be moved to second base.
Even though they want to use Valencia as a platoon player against lefties, he has actually been hitting equally as well against right handed pitching this year as well. If Valencia continues to find success against both lefties and righties, will the A’s start this former Blue Jay at third and move Lawrie to second more permanently?
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Susan Slusser joined 95.7 The Game Thursday morning and stated that the Oakland Athletics like Lawrie at second base for defensive reasons. Throughout his MLB career, Lawrie does have a better fielding percentage and higher range factor with a .963 and 5.35 respectively at second base than at third. Additionally, he almost exclusively played at second during his minor league career, so he does have experience fielding successfully in that position.
However, Lawrie’s time playing at second base in the Major Leagues has been limited. He did not play at second for the first two years of his career with the Blue Jays in 2011 and 2012. Lawrie only really started splitting his time between third base and second starting in 2014. Because of his recent lack of playing time in the middle infield, he is a bit rusty and has made two errors in the two games he has started at second this season.
But, if Lawrie can successful transition to second base, this could be an ideal situation for Oakland’s infield. Since both Lawrie is under team control until 2018 and Valencia until 2017, the A’s may not even need to acquire an additional middle infielder during the offseason. They would have Lawrie, Eric Sogard and Marcus Semien covering second and short. Then, Valencia and possibly Max Muncey – if he is brought back up from Triple-A – could cover third with Lawrie as the backup fielder for that position.
Since the Oakland Athletics are out of the postseason race, they are going to try numerous combinations of players in the lineup, in fielding positions, and in the starting rotation in order to be adequately prepared for next season. This switch for Lawrie is just one of many other changes that are bound to come during the remainder of the 2015 season. If Lawrie is successful at second, expect him to be there more regularly in 2016.