Billy Beane and David Forst experimented with free agency this past offseason and brought in Matt Joyce to help the outfield. Like most of their deals this year, Joyce hasn’t panned out offensively.
When the Oakland Athletics signed Matt Joyce to a two-year deal, the hope was that Joyce would help solidify an outfield that included Khris Davis.
David Forst was seemingly impressed with Joyce’s on-base percentage in 2016 (.403) and felt that Joyce could offer the A’s much needed depth.
To his credit, Joyce did rank 4th in OBP in the National League in 2016. He also made a few successful appearances as a pinch-hitter for the Pirates last year as well.
Joyce led the majors in pinch hit RBIs last season with 15.
Unfortunately for the A’s, however, Joyce’s impact this year has been almost nonexistent. He showed a little life in Sunday’s loss to the Nationals with his grand slam in the ninth inning.
Outside of that grand slam, however, Joyce has been a complete letdown this year for the A’s. In 182 plate appearances this year, Joyce is hitting just .195/.302/.377 with 7 HR and 25 RBI.
Compared to last season with the Pirates, Joyce’s walk rate (13.2%) is down from his totals from 2016 (20.1%). The walk rate is much closer to his career rate of 14.2%.
Last year, Joyce struck out 67 times over 231 plate appearances. So far this year, Joyce struck out 41 times. Like a lot of his teammates, Joyce has struggled offensively and the plate discipline is seriously lacking.
One more cause for concern is the fact that Joyce, who historically has had better results against right handed pitching, is struggling this season against righties.
He is hitting just .179 against righties. In comparison, his .300/.300/.400 stat line against lefties is impressive, but not exactly reliable. The sample size is very small and in this case covers just 20 at-bats this year.
How much Joy(ce) is left in Oakland?
The A’s signed Joyce to a two-year deal with the hopes he would provide some much needed depth. He’s struggled to find his place in Oakland and with the team struggling to stay relevant, Forst may look to trade Joyce.
His contract isn’t overly expensive, so a team may be willing to give Joyce a look. He has played slightly better this month (just 13 at-bats, though) and is at least making an effort to rebound from a tough start to the season (.167/.230/.288 in April).
Oakland has plenty of other options to explore, too.
The A’s recently called up prospect Matt Olson from Triple-A Nashville prior to Sunday’s game. It is his second stint this year with the A’s and he provides the team with a few options.
Olson is available to play first or split time in the outfield. Olson should have an opportunity to prove his value, especially with Joyce struggling.
What do you think? Should the A’s continue to roll with Joyce in the outfield or should they embrace the youth movement and give Olson a shot? Sound off below in the comments section!