The Oakland A’s will potentially have an opening in their outfield next season. Luis Barrera deserves a look for the starting nod.
This coming offseason could be a brutal one for the Oakland A’s. They have ten impending free agents, and are not going to be able to retain the majority of them. Even with internal options, the A’s will need to find multiple relievers, a new middle infield, another starting pitcher or two, and an outfielder.
In a bit of a surprise, finding another outfielder may be the A’s most daunting task, at least in terms of replacing that production. Robbie Grossman was one of Oakland’s best hitters last season, producing a .241/.344/.482 batting line, hitting eight homers and 12 doubles while stealing eight bases; his 130 OPS+ was a career high.
But the A’s are limited in terms of where they can spend their money. As it stands, they appear to have certain priorities, as they have stated their desire to have both Marcus Semien and Tommy La Stella return. This would seemingly leave Grossman on the ouside.
But what to do about left field? Khris Davis should not be an option, and Chad Pinder is best served as a utility player. However, the A’s do potentially have a young option in the minors in Luis Barrera.
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He has been around seemingly forever, originally signed as an amateur free agent in 2012. He spent his first two years in the organization in the Dominican Summer League before finally moving stateside. Then, in 2016, Barrera began hitting and has not stopped when he has been on the diamond, being named the A’s top prospect in terms of pure hitting ability.
The problem has been staying on the diamond. Even his his breakout 2019 campaign, Barrera appeared in only 54 games due to a shoulder injury that required surgery. Prior to his injury, he had produced a .321/.357/.513 batting line in his 240 plate appearances. While he is never going to be a power threat, Barrera did hit nine doubles and 11 triples.
His inclusion as part of the A’s prospects at the alternate site was an important test. He had a chance to prove that he could be part of their future, especially given all of the impending free agents. He did just that, impressing during his time in San Jose, as his three top tools showed how strong they can be.
That performance could lead to a role in the majors for the soon to be 25 year old. And there is an opening in the outfield with Grossman’s potential departure. As the A’s will be looking to fill multiple openings, and will need to make every dollar count, Barrera could find himself with an inside track to a starting job.
The Oakland A’s have an opening in their outfield. After an impressive showing at their alternate site, the job may be Luis Barrera’s to take.