The Oakland A’s are expected to have an opening at short in 2021. If their choice craters, there will be plenty of options the following year.
Should the 2020 season begin, the Oakland A’s are set at short. Marcus Semien finally had the breakout season that we had all been waiting for, finishing third in the AL MVP ballot while emerging as one of the top shortstops in the game. The timing of that breakout could not have been better for Semien, as he is set to become a free agent at the end of the season.
However, this places the A’s in a difficult spot. Should Semien be able to produce even 80% of his incredible 2019 campaign, he will be positioned to land a multi year deal worth far more than the A’s would be able to offer. While the A’s would inevitably place a Qualifying Offer on Semien, it is doubtful that he would accept.
When, in all likelihood, Semien departs, the A’s will need to find an answer at the position. Sheldon Neuse could be a short term option at short, but he projects as more of a utility player. Robert Pauson is likely the long term answer, but he is still years away from being ready for the majors.
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Fortunately for the A’s, there should be plenty of options available should they struggle to get production from short in 2021. The list of potential free agents for the 2021-22 offseason is staggering, and that does not include the likes of Semien or Didi Gregorius, presuming they were to accept the QO.
While the top five free agents are going to be outside of the A’s budget, the other options could work as a bridge to Pauson. Chris Taylor may be more of a utility player as well, but he could hold down the fort at short. If the Marlins decide to move on from Miguel Rojas, he would be a great fit in Oakland. There are options.
There may even be another option internally. Should Frankin Barreto prove to be worthy of a regular major league role, he could presumably slide over to short given the A’s numerous options at second. If the A’s fail to get respectable production from short in 2021, they will still have options to remedy the situation.
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The Oakland A’s will likely need to find a shortstop in the 2021 season. If they make the wrong decision, there will be options to rectify that mistake.