The Oakland A’s Big Three in the lineup could be broken up as soon as this offseason. Which of those pieces should they look to retain?
The Oakland A’s finished the 2019 MLB season with a 97-65 record, good for 2nd place in the American League West. This finish led them to the AL Wild Card Game, where they lost 1-0 to the Tampa Bay Rays.
The A’s have a roster filled with young talent, and a farm system that GM Billy Beane ensures is continually stocked. The question moving forward is, who will the A’s keep, and who will they ship off to keep that farm system stocked?
The main questions for this revolve around three players. Third baseman Matt Chapman, Shortstop Marcus Semien, and First baseman Matt Olson. I would like to look at the pros and cons of keeping each player and later will give my final opinion on what the Athletics will do, and what they should do.
1. Matt Olson
In a 2019 season where Olson played 127 games compared to the 162 games he played in 2018, he managed to hit 7 more home runs, totaling 36 in 2019. Olson also improved his AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS, OPS+, RBI while winning his 2nd straight Gold Glove Award and totaling a 5.4 WAR. Olson not only anchored the A’s offensive lineup but the defensive lineup as well.
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Power(HR, SLG, RBI)
Improving average and OBP
Overall, Matt Olson is your typical first baseman. He hits for power, strikes out a decent amount, and has a decent average with no speed. However, Matt Olson is the third-ranked first baseman in the MLB, according to baseball-reference, mostly due to his defense. Back to back Gold Gloves has cemented Olson as a leader in the A’s clubhouse.
Conclusion: The A’s will and should re-sign Olson
2. Matt Chapman
For the last two years, Matt Chapman has locked down the hot corner for the Oakland A’s, playing Gold Glove defense and being a top 10 AL MVP candidate each year. If you have watched an Athletics game in the last two years, you know that the fans love Chapman and that Chapman loves Oakland. Chapman has compiled 16.4 total WAR in the last two years, marking him as an emerging superstar in the league. I don’t really need to throw any numbers at you to prove his worth to the team and the city. Use your eyes and you will see the same things I do.
Hairline (seriously, it’s bad)
Conclusion: A’s should keep him, and will keep Chapman, assuming Scott Boras doesn’t go hog wild with his demands.
3. Marcus Semien
When Marcus Semien was acquired from the Chicago White Sox in 2015, Oakland was not happy. Since then, Semien has grown into one of the best shortstops, and last year one of the best players in the game. Semien was 3rd in AL MVP voting in 2019, leading the league in games played and ABs. Not only did he assist the Matts in hitting 35 home runs, but Semien posted a .981 fielding percentage which was his highest since landing in the Bay. Even though he is an amazing player, his age and the demand for him when he hits free agency will lead to problems. Semien will be a Free Agent after the 2020 season.
The A’s have a bad history when it comes to retaining big-name free agents, with Eric Chavez being the exception to the rule. Overall, the A’s will most likely move on from Semien, and look to receive a compensation pick. Additionally, 5 of the top 10 players in the A’s farm system play shortstop or middle infield. So either with this talent the A’s can repeat the Semien trade and acquire another shortstop, or will likely let him walk and breed another star with the help of Ron Washington.
Conclusion: The A’s should keep but likely will not keep Marcus Semien.
Overall, the likely result is that the Oakland A’s will re-sign Matt Chapman and Matt Olson and let Marcus Semien walk. The younger players will stay in Oakland, while the older Semien will be free to find a huge contract somewhere else that has the money to pay him. While everyone would love for all 3 to stay, that simply is not realistic, especially in Oaktown.