The Oakland Athletics had trouble finding consistency at second base last season. Could a reunion with Eric Sogard help shore up the position for a cost-efficient price?
Eric Sogard has bounced around the league in the last five seasons, donning four different uniforms in that timespan.
The Athletics have had their fair share of change as well since Sogard departed in 2015. They had consistency with Jed Lowrie until he played himself out of their price range, signing a two-year, $20 million contract with the New York Mets last winter.
Oakland has since struggled to find a replacement. The team traded for Jurickson Profar, who turned out to be a flop while costing them Emilio Pagan, who had a breakout season with the Tampa Bay Rays out of the bullpen.
Despite surprising power numbers, Profar struggled at the plate and, more notably, on defense, committing 13 errors in 123 games at second base.
With this offseason, Oakland has the opportunity to go out and look for somebody who can handle second base without them having to worry about it. A familiar name in Sogard hits the market and is someone who Oakland could find good value from.
Oakland mainly builds through homegrown talent. When they don’t groom a player in the minors then they go free-agent shopping. When they do shop, it’s on the bargain aisle and other than with bullpen options they never look too spend much.
Sogard enjoyed a nice 2019 season, playing in 110 games between the Toronto Blue Jays and Tanpa Bay Rays. He batted .290 and graded out with 2.6 Wins Above Replacement.
Sogard also provides much better defense then Profar. Profar at second base finished the 2019 season with minus-10 defensive runs saved. He was a major liability on defense and turned routine plays into nail-biters.
It is interesting to think about how much worse that number would look without Matt Olson at first base often saving bad throws. The A’s tried Sheldon Neuse as well late in the year at second base and saw mixed results.
Sogard is a veteran, he knows Bob Melvin well and could play a key role for this team. He will put the ball in play and do the little things that help a ball club win games.
For a team that is cost-efficient like Oakland, it is something they should look into. He won’t break the bank and he’s been around for their playoff runs before, sometimes that familiarity pays off.