This past Wednesday at midnight was the non-tender deadline for the MLB. The Oakland Athletics decided to only non-tender one player – Ike Davis. Sam Fuld, Eric Sogard, and Evan Scribner, who were also on the chopping block, were all able to reach one-year arbitration settlements with the A’s. Even though it is nice to see that some familiar faces will be back with the team next year, the Athletics should have non-tendered more players than just one.
Realistically, the Oakland Athletics should have only tendered Sogard’s contract. Despite his lack of offensive power, he does have timely hitting and is extremely reliable defensively. Additionally, if the A’s are going to trade away Brett Lawrie, then they will need Sogard as a backup middle infielder. He has survived some major roster rebuilds in the past with Oakland, so it is not surprising the Athletics decided to keep him around for at least one more season.
Besides Sogard, it did not make sense for the A’s the tender contracts with Fuld and Scribner. When it comes to Fuld, there really is no need for him anymore. The Athletics now have a handful of outfielders that are more consistent offensively than Fuld and are still pretty good defensemen in their own right.
For example, now that Oakland has a first baseman in Yonder Alonso after the trade with the San Diego Padres, it is likely that Mark Canha will also spend part of his time next season in the outfield. Additionally, one cannot forget that the A’s also picked up Andrew Lambo this offseason, who is also an outfielder. Then, on the currently roster, there is Billy Burns, Josh Reddick, Jake Smolinski, and Coco Crisp. This is more than enough outfielders to cover each position and provide backup support. Thus, the Oakland does not need Fuld.
Scribner is a tricky one. He did really well the first half of the 2015 season and even became the A’s setup man for a short period of time. But, he tanked during the second half. Since his contract in 2016 is likely to be less than a million dollars, the Athletics probably decided to tender his contract since he would be an inexpensive risk. However, Oakland should have decided to let Scribner go because he is not good enough to be taking up a roster spot while the A’s are trying to rebuild.
It is clear that the Athletics are looking to rebuild their bullpen. It is also known that the A’s are looking toward the free agent market in order to boost their relief staff. If Oakland is able to sign a quality and consistent reliever from the free agent market and need to make room on their roster, Scribner should be the one to go since his performance last season was not consistent. Why not create the space now in anticipation of an acquisition?
The Oakland Athletics are going to be making many changes to their roster this offseason and they are going to need to move some players from their current 40-man roster in order to add in the newly acquired players. The A’s should have made more room now by non-tendering some more players’ contracts instead of having to designate players for assignment later this offseason. For a team that says they are building for the future, it seems as though they cannot even plan that far ahead into the offseason.