The 2021 Oakland A’s infield has a lot of question marks. Can newcomer Elvis Andrus become the latest veteran to find a satisfying second act in the green and gold? Can two-time Platinum Glove winner Matt Chapman return to form after hip surgery? Can Matt Olson hit over .200? (I’m guessing yes on the last one, but we will see.) The answers to these questions are going to be vital to Oakland’s postseason hopes, but there is one infield question that has been plaguing the A’s for the past three years. What is going on at second base?
After Jed Lowrie left the Oakland A’s in 2018, the A’s situation at second base has been unstable. The A’s traded for Jurickson Profar who’s fielding and offense did not meet expectations. Another potential heir to Lowrie’s throne was promising middle infield prospect, Franklin Barreto. Baretto was the main piece the A’s acquired in the famously catastrophic Josh Donaldson trade and at one point was getting comparisons to the last Athletic to win an MVP, Miguel Tejada.
Finding an answer for the Oakland A’s at second base
Sadly, Miguel Tejada 2.0 was not in the cards. Baretto has struck out 40% of the time and has seven career walks in his 237 plate appearances. While the book is not entirely closed on Franklin, Manager Bob Melvin couldn’t justify penciling him into the lineup of a competing team, and Baretto bounced back and forth between MLB and Triple-A throughout his career in Oakland. The A’s front office mercifully ended Barreto’s tenure with the A’s at the 2020 trade deadline, trading him for a much-needed lineup upgrade and a temporary answer to the second base question, Tommy LaStella.
Going into the 2021 season, Tommy La Stella has moved across the bay to San Francisco, and the question has returned, this time without the pressure of the Donaldson trade looming over it: What is going on at second base? Let’s meet the candidates! None of them are perfect, but all of them are interesting!