Oakland Athletics: It’s Time To Let Craig Gentry Go

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The Oakland Athletics have told the media that they feel comfortable with the outfield players they currently have on their roster. However, there is a surplus of outfielders and it is inevitable that not all of them are going to be in the dugout come the 2016 season. One of those players that is on the chopping block is Craig Gentry.

In 2014, Gentry and Sam Fuld battled it out during spring training to earn the backup outfielder position. Ultimately, Gentry made the roster while Fuld was put on waivers. Fuld was later claimed by the Minnesota Twins. Even though Gentry incurred numerous injuries during the 2014 season, he still came out with a respectable – for a defensively strong, backup outfielder – .254/.319/.289 slash line.

Fuld actually returned to the Athletics during the 2014 season when the Twins traded Fuld back to Oakland for pitcher Tommy Milone. Fuld filled in when Gentry was injured and they ended up sharing duties in left field since Yoenis Cespedes had been traded. These two would play in right and center when Josh Reddick or Coco Crisp needed a break.

During the 2015 season, Gentry and Fuld once again competed for a spot on the Opening Day roster. This time, they both made it. However, it quickly became clear that Gentry was having some trouble at the plate. In his first 28 at-bats, he only earned one hit. By the time May rolled around, Gentry had only batted 0.061 for the month of April. Because of his dismal offensive performance, he was sent down to Triple-A by the end of May.

Gentry spent the majority of the season in Triple-A and was able to find his offensive groove once again. He batted .256/.319/.327 while with the Nashville Sounds, but he did not bring the success he found in Triple-A back with him to the Majors when he was called up in September. During the last month and half of the season, Gentry only had three hits in 12 at-bats and one RBI.

Both Gentry and Fuld will be arbitration eligible this offseason and the A’s do not need to tender either of their contracts. However, it is clear that the A’s like Fuld since they brought him back during the 2014 season. Additionally, Fuld was more reliable this year. Gentry and Fuld basically play the same role as defensively-sound backup outfielders. Because of this, one of these players is expendable.

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When it comes down to it, Gentry should not be returning in 2016. His offense was terrible this past season and the A’s really need an outfielder who has some pop to their bat. Additionally, with Billy Burns and Jake Smolinski now also covering the expansive outfield at the O.co Coliseum, there really is no room for Gentry on their roster. Gentry may have provided the Oakland Athletics with outstanding defensive and baserunning in the past, but it is time to let him go.

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