The Oakland A’s know that they have one outfielder on their roster for 2022, even if it is one they may not want. Stephen Piscotty is in the final year of his guaranteed contract as the A’s are certain to pay the $1 million buyout instead of exercising his $15 million team option. As it is, they would love to jettison his salary of just over $7.5 million for the upcoming season.
That is a near impossibility. Piscotty has not been an above average player since 2018, with the 2021 campaign arguably being his worst showing yet. He produced a .220/.282/.353 batting line in his 188 plate appearances, hitting five homers and eight doubles. His struggles led to a revolving door in right, as the A’s kept trying to find something that would work at the position.
Is there any hope for Stephen Piscotty?
Despite those struggles, Piscotty may have a large role with the A’s in 2022. They are not likely to put someone with that salary on the bench, especially as they are looking to shed as much payroll as possible. Piscotty will play with an eye to trading him at the deadline if he can be productive at the plate.
But is there any hope for such a turnaround? Piscotty did make some adjustments at the plate last season, with his 17.5% launch angle easily the highest of his career. He clearly realized that his previous approach was not working any longer.
Those changes did not help. Piscotty’s 86.1 MPH average exit velocity and 36.8% hard hit rate were his lowest marks since 2017, a season where he was distracted by his mother’s illness and his final year with the Cardinals. He did rebound for a career best showing in 2018, but has gradually tapered off since.
Chances are, Piscotty will look to make more changes to his swing this offseason. Focusing on a higher launch rate clearly did not help. However, unless something drastically changes, it is difficult to imagine that any change to his swing will make a considerable difference in his production.
The Oakland A’s would love for Stephen Piscotty to get back on track so they can trade him at the deadline. That just is not going to happen.