The Oakland Athletics need a first baseman. They will look at their 40-man roster to see who is ready to step in for 2022 and beyond. With the trade of Matt Olson to the Atlanta Braves, the fans are now realizing this team is going to be in a rebuilding phase once again. We will say it again the Oakland Athletics now need a first baseman.
Whom Did They Get in Return
In return, the Athletics received four prospects, including outfielder Cristian Pache and catcher Shea Langeliers. Pache was listed as the Braves number one prospect in 2020; Langeliers as number four. The other two players were pitchers Ryan Cusick and Joey Estes. All four of players were immediately listed in the top 15 of Athletics prospects, according to MLB.
The Coaches and Front-Office
The Oakland Athletics now need a first baseman. With the shortened spring training the Athletics’ coaches and front office may not know who it could or should be. The player may not even be on the team yet. With the free agent frenzy and trades still going on, we will see if they sign or make a trade in the next few weeks.
Candidates to Consider
However, there are a few in-house names worth considering. Seth Brown is most likely the leading candidate. Although he has played mostly in the outfield, he has seen time at first.
He performed well in his first extended MLB look last season. He hit 20 homeruns, giving fans an exciting preview of his power. Overall he hit .214 in 307 at-bats with 48 RBI and a .480 slugging percentage. One big drawback — his 89 strikeouts. Hopefully the experience he gained last year seeing MLB pitching along with a new coaching staff — including hitting coach Tommy Everidge, who has been a coach in the minor league system — will assist him with his swing and his control.
One thing standing in the way of moving Brown to first is that he is an excellent defensive outfielder. That was an essential part of his importance for the Athletics last year. The coaches need to decide if he is more of an asset in the outfield and look at others to play first or to move Brown and try to replace his defensive outfield play.
Longshot in Eric Thames
The Oakland Athletics need a first baseman. A long shot to play first base is Eric Thames. The Athletics signed him to a minor league contract. He is 35 and certainly brings MLB experience. In 2020, he played with the Yomiuri Giants of the Nippon Professional Baseball League. Last April, he suffered a leg injury and was later diagnosed with a ruptured Achilles tendon. He returned to the U.S. and underwent surgery in May. The Giants released him on August 23.
On February 18, 2022, he signed the deal with the Athletics and was invited to spring training. Thames needs to prove he is healthy; show he still has the bat speed and power. He was never a defensive standout, and coming off that that injury and his age, we could see him as the designated hitter if he makes the roster.
Two other Options
Two other first-base options are Billy McKinney and Dalton Kelly. McKinney was signed to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. He played last season with three teams. While he has played at first base, it has only been 20 total games. However, he has seen action at first already in spring training and will be given a reasonable chance at claiming a spot on the team’s bench and as a fill-in first baseman.
Dalton Kelly is in his third organization of his career after he was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in 2015. He is also another player in spring training that is looking to make the roster. The slugging first baseman signed a minor league deal in February, spent the entire 2021 campaign at Triple-A Durham for the Tampa Bay Rays, hitting 27 home runs. His combination of power, speed, and on-base skills could have the coaches keeping an eye on him the rest of camp. He just needs MLB experience.
Utility Player Chad Pinder
With Oakland Athletics needing a first baseman, fans would enjoy seeing utility player Chad Pinder see some action at first. Pinder, a fan favorite, has spent his entire MLB career in Oakland. He has only played three games at first but he is considered one of the top utility players around and could actually find time at first.
The Fans Deserve Better
The fans deserve better. Sadly, fans who have stuck around know how the Athletics Management does business. With all the players that have been traded away or who have left via free agency, it appears they are once again tearing it all down. Right now, fans are in a wait-and-see position as management builds a roster for the 2022 season.