nbcsports.com file photo: Oakland A’s Jurickson Profar takes his swings during 2019 season
A’s Marcus Semien and his Future in Oakland
That’s Amaury News and Commentary
OAKLAND–It has been a very quiet winter so far for the Athletics. Nobody expected them to make any major deals,and honestly they have a very good team as it is today and going into Spring Training which will begin February 11 at their home in Mesa,Arizona.
They will begin the season (scheduled to open at home on March 26 against the Twins) with basically the same team as last season when they finished second again with a 97-65 record (same as 2018 by the way).
Nobody should expect the A’s to sign their established stars to multi-year multi-million dollar contracts in the near future. The best example is their designated hitter Khris Davis, he had his best season in 2018 when he hit 48 home runs and drove in 123 runs.
Davis was signed that winter to a two (2) year extension and a total of $33.5 million, a contract that will take him through the 2021 season. If they did not signed him then he would have been eligible for free agency after the 2019 season and most likely would have been offered much more money and a longer contract by more than a few teams.
His biggest liability is with the glove, but he doesn’t use it most of the time as a DH, which also limits him to be an American League player.
If you are expecting the A’s to sign their star shortstop Marcus Semien (29) to a four (4) year over $100 million contract you could easily be disappointed. The A’s have another year before they make that decision,although they could make easily make it today. But that is not the way the Athletics operate.
This is still Billy Ball land. Of course Semien is worth upward of $100 million in today’s market, specially since he has become not only one of the best offensive shortstops in the American League but one of the best fielders in that most important position.
He is coming off a breakout 2019 season, finished #3 for Most Valuable Player. This 2020 season will be his final year before he becomes a Free Agent. And many ponder is he really as good as he was last year. He is a hard worker, Bay Area native and a very positive young man.
Leaving Semien aside(no need to rush a decision) we already know the “biggest”story for the A’s going into this 2020 season. Who is going to be playing second base? My bet is on young Franklin Barreto,who was passed last year because the team signed veteran Jurickson Profar.
With Profar signing with San Diego, the door should be wide open for Barreto, and with the power on that infield,all he has to do is field the ball. Something that Profar was not very keen. Others in Spring Training that could be fighting for second-base are Sheldon Neuse maybe, Jorge Mateo and/or a surprise.
In 1998 the injury-prone Eric Chávez finished the season playing only in 16 games and hit .311. He won six consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove Awards (2001 to 2006) and in 2004 the A’s had to make a decision of signing either him (Chávez) or shortstop Miguel Tejada.
They signed Chávez to a $66 million contract extension. Meanwhile, Tejada went to Baltimore where he played for four years(2004-2007). I thought they should have kept Miguel Tejada, then a great shortstop much more durable than Chávez, but it wasn’t meant to be.
The Chávez six year $66 million contract was the largest deal in team history. In one of my visits to Baltimore with the LA Angels in 2007 I did a pre-game interview Tejada and I asked him about his very good years with the A’s, he told me that in retrospect: “I would have loved to stay with the A’s”. But isn’t that what they all say?
I remember Jason Giambi who began his career with the A’s (1995-2001) he always said he enjoyed very much playing in Oakland and that was great. But the Yankees came in and Giambi left the A’s for the Pinstripes and a multi-million dollar contract where he played from 2002 to 2008.
Towards the end of his career “The Giambino” would return one more time in 2009 to play with the A’s, and as I recall I called his 400th home-run of his career in 2009,a thrill at the Oakland Coliseum he then played briefly for a couple of teams and retired.
The Oakland A’s have one of the best most exciting and talented infield in all of baseball a young pitching staff with unlimited potential.Their infield: Matt Olson at first base (I don’t know at second base) Marcus Semien at shortstop and their leader Matt Chapman at third base.
Not to mention an outfield with the talented Ramón Laureano,.Stephen Piscotty and company. The biggest issue for the Athletics remains building their new ballpark. A new ballpark usually draws well for the first few years,(the perennial Honeymoon).
The A’s pipe-dream is to have all these stars at their peak in 2021 when they are planning to open the season at the new Howard Terminal Park. There is an old saying in Spanish “soñar no cuesta nada” translation- “it doesn’t cost anything to dream”. And I honestly hope the dream becomes a reality.
At this time the Athletics have the 25th payroll in Major League Baseball among all 30 teams. Their total payroll is approximately $84 million,there are now five teams below the A’s: White Sox, Pirates, Orioles, Mariners, and the team who eliminated the A’s in the Wild Card game last year, the Tampa Bay Rays.
Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Oakland A’s Spanish radio play by play talent and does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com