The catcher spot for the Oakland A’s belongs to Sean Murphy. That is the dream of the present and future, that Murphy will be able to be good enough defensively where his offensive potential turns him into a threat in the lineup. Given his minor league pedigree, it is easy to see why the A’s would have such lofty hopes.
But Murphy was not quite able to reach that level in 2021. He took a step backwards from a solid rookie campaign as he posted a .216/.306/.405 batting line in his 448 plate appearances, hitting 17 homers and 23 doubles. The A’s original plan of having young backups at the position fizzled out, leaving them to acquire Yan Gomes at the trade deadline.
Yan Gomes needs to return to Oakland A’s
Gomes ended up splitting time with Murphy down the stretch as the A’s hoped to get more production from the catching spot. In a way, that arrangement worked as Murphy began to play better with less of a workload.
However, Gomes did not hit the way the A’s expected. He had a disappointing .221/.264/.366 batting line in his 140 plate appearances in Oakland, hitting five homers and four doubles. He struggled defensively as well, throwing out just 18% of would be basestealers after coming over from Washington.
But that lack of production should not dissuade the A’s from bringing him back. Murphy had not had a veteran backup until Gomes was acquired, something that potentially stunted his growth at the major league level. Having that type of a catcher for Murphy to learn from can make a major difference.
Likewise, Gomes does have a reasonable solid track record with the bat. Bringing him back could save more wear on Murphy, potentially allowing him to be more productive over the course of the season. This is a reunion that needs to take place.
The Oakland A’s need to bring in a veteran catcher to back up Sean Murphy. It makes sense to keep Yan Gomes for the 2022 season.