The Oakland A’s may have the perfect fit in their search for a new second baseman in Kolten Wong.
Second base was an issue for the Oakland A’s throughout most of the 2020 campaign. The platoon of Tony Kemp and Chad Pinder did not work out as expected, leading to the acquisition of Tommy La Stella. That trade worked out well, as La Stella solidified the keystone over the final month of the season, providing an instant upgrade offensively.
However, the A’s find themselves back at square one. La Stella is a free agent, and is likely to be in heavy demand. His solid offense and ability to play multiple positions on the infield will make him an intriguing target, a player that would fit on virtually any team.
Meanwhile, the A’s will have to contend with their own payroll limitations. With ten free agents, numerous holes to fill, and budget decreases, the A’s will not be able to bring everyone back. Chances are, La Stella will sign elsewhere.
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But the A’s do have a possible option in free agency. Kolten Wong had his $12.5 million option declined by the Cardinals, with the team preferring to hand him the $1 million buyout. It also speaks volumes to what type of market Wong could be facing if what seemed to be a reasonable option was declined.
The Cardinals’ loss could easily be the A’s gain. Wong is a solid contact hitter with a strong batting eye and excellent defense. Over his eight years in the majors, he has posted a respectable .261/.333/.384 batting line, hitting 124 doubles and 53 homers while stealing 88 bases. He has also been excellent defensively, saving 35 runs at second and being named the 2019 Wilson Defensive Player of the Year.
While Wong will likely have a solid market, it may not be as robust as the market for La Stella. The A’s could get a player who has similar plate discipline and better defense for less than La Stella would cost. If the rest of the roster can perform as they did in 2019, that may be all the A’s need at second base.
Kolten Wong could be a great fit for the Oakland A’s. Even better, he may be far more budget friendly.