The Oakland A’s have a major hole to fill in the lineup now that Matt Chapman has been lost for the season.
The Oakland A’s worst fears were confirmed on Saturday. Star third baseman Matt Chapman was lost for the season, as he needs surgery on his ailing hip. While Chapman had not exactly been himself offensively or defensively this season, his loss still leads to a gaping hole in the lineup.
It is also a hole that is essentially impossible for the A’s to fill. Chapman had been a valuable power source in the middle of their lineup as he had developed into a feared slugger. Defensively, he has been without peer, a two time Platinum Glove winner who has led the American League in runs saved and range factor in 2018 and 2019.
Now, third base is likely to be held down by some combination of Vimael Machin and Chad Pinder. Both players have plenty of versatility, with Machin capable of playing anywhere on the infield and Pinder serving as the A’s primary utility man over the past few seasons.
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A Rule V Draftee, Machin has had his struggles this season. He has produced a .204/.291/.224 batting line, a lone double as his only extra base hit. On the plus side, Machin has displayed a solid batting eye, with six walks and only nine strikeouts in 55 plate appearances heading into Saturday. Machin has been respectable on defense as well, although he will not make anyone forget about Chapman.
Pinder has also had his struggles this year. He has produced a .231/.286/.404 batting line in his 56 plate appearances, hitting three doubles and two homers. Like Machin, he has been respectable defensively at third, although in a small 28 inning sample size.
But these are the A’s only options. Unless they want to make a move to call up a player such as Nick Allen, or give Tommy La Stella more action at the hot corner, the A’s will need to make due with either Machin or Pinder manning the position. It may come down to which player, if either, are able to get on a hot streak over the final few weeks of the season.
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It is going to be impossible to replace Matt Chapman in the Oakland A’s lineup. But they do have options that may be able to fill the gap until the season comes to an end.