There is one thing that is a given for the Oakland A’s at the catcher spot.
Shea Langeliers will, at least at the beginning of the season, be the A’s starting catcher. His ascension to the majors, and strong showing at Triple-A last season, has led to the A’s belief that he is ready for the role. Trading Sean Murphy removed any real competition from the position with Langeliers set to sink or swim.
Oakland A’s have question behind Shea Langeliers
The question is who will be behind Langeliers on the Opening Day roster. At this point, the backup catcher role appears to be a battle between Manny Pina and Yohel Pozo.
In theory, this would be Pina’s job to lose. He is set to earn $4.5 million in 2023 and has a $4 million player option for 2024. However, Pina appeared in just five games last season due to injury. The Braves had received trade inquiries about Pina prior to his being shipped to the A’s as well, something that is to be expected given his decent power and relatively inexpensive deal. It may not be a surprise to see the A’s revisit those trade talks themselves as they may not want to commit that much money to a backup catcher.
Pozo is an intriguing player in his own right. He performed relatively well in his brief trial with the Rangers back in 2021, producing a .284/.312/.378 batting line with one homer and four doubles in his 77 plate appearances. Although he did not return to the majors last year, Pozo had a solid showing at Triple-A and certainly deserves a chance.
It may come down to Pina’s experience. The A’s are likely going to want someone that can help walk Langeliers through the rigors of being a starting catcher while teaching him how to prepare and what to look for during the game. Considering Langeliers’ lack of major league experience, having a backup with parts of nine seasons in the majors, as Pina has, could make a difference.
Minny Pina has to be considered the favorite to back up Shea Langeliers on the Oakland A’s Opening Day roster. That does not mean this will be the case all year.