Oakland A’s second base situation may not change in 2021
By David Hill
The Oakland A’s could have the same look at second base entering the 2021 season as they did in 2020.
Heading into the 2020 season, second base was the biggest concern for the Oakland A’s lineup. The platoon of Tony Kemp and Chad Pinder had potential, but there were plenty of questions as well. Kemp had not been able to have a sustained run of success over the course of a major league season, while Pinder had been more valuable as a utility option.
As it turned out, those concerns were valid. That pairing failed to perform to expectations, leading the A’s to acquire Tommy La Stella at the trade deadline. However, La Stella was essentially a rental, as he is now a free agent, one of the ten players that entered free agency following the season.
Understandably, the A’s would like to bring La Stella back. He has been considered to be a priority this offseason, as the A’s seek to bring back their middle infield. The problem is that La Stella’s defensive versatility and excellent contact skills are going to be in demand this offseason. The A’s will have plenty of competition when it comes to his services.
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That is a major problem. The A’s are never going to outspend the competition in free agency. Meanwhile, they essentially need to rebuild their bullpen, revamp the middle of their infield, and find an outfielder. Their internal options and prospects will only go so far when it comes to filling those gaps.
Likewise, the A’s will need to find areas that they could look to save some money. If they are unable to bring La Stella back, it is possible that second base could be one of those areas. Kemp has been solid against right handed pitching over his career, and Pinder’s down season could be explained by the unusual circumstances surrounding the 2020 campaign.
Both players will still be important pieces of the puzzle for Oakland even if La Stella returns. Kemp and Pinder have plenty of value as utility players for the A’s, allowing Bob Melvin to play the matchups and get his regulars more rest. But they may end up in the same place they were at the start of the 2020 season – as the A’s starting second basemen.
The Oakland A’s have some questions at second base. Their answer may look the same as it did at the beginning of the 2020 season.