As the season has progressed and the team has lost its two best players, the Oakland Athletics have looked like a dysfunctional team. Their management should make a few moves in order to make them more competitive. They look lost and unfocused during games. With people playing out of position, Bob Melvin and company need to shake up the starting lineup.
Make Brett Eibner a Starting Outfielder:
When the Athletics gave up on Billy Burns after a disappointing 2016 season, Brett Eibner was brought in to help the outfield situation. As of right now, Khris Davis, Jake Smolinski and Danny Valencia man the outfield on a regular basis. When it comes to Valencia, he is playing out of position –– he is a natural infielder. The lineup can be greatly improved if Eibner is inserted in right field and Valencia becomes a designated hitter in addition to being a backup utility infielder. This move will also make Coco Crisp a late inning baserunner. Also, Davis deserves some time off from left field; so Eibner can fill in for either Davis or Valencia in order to improve the outfield defense. But, it is important for Davis and Valencia to stay in the lineup because they’ve provided much of the A’s’ power this season.
Bring Up Second Baseman Joey Wendle:
Since Jed Lowrie’s injury, the Athletics have been forced to insert Max Muncy in at second base. For the time being, he makes a serviceable second baseman with Lowrie on the disabled list. However, Muncy has not solidified himself as a part of the Athletics near future since he is constantly rotating between AAA and the MLB.
If the team were to bring up Joey Wendle, who was acquired for Brandon Moss, they can catch a glimpse of someone who is currently part of the Athletics future plans. Wendle has been stuck at AAA for quite some time and he is not developing to his full potential. He is an outstanding defender at his natural position of second base. Although his bat has not been what the Athletics had hoped for, there is not much of a difference between him and the combination of Max Muncy and Tyler Ladendorf. Wendle should definitely be part of the September call-ups and should be given plenty of starts and see how he does with Major League pitching.
Adjust the Rotation Accordingly
With Sonny Gray and Jesse Hahn returning from the disabled list soon, this means that two rotation spots will need to be cleared. It is obvious that Zach Neal and Andrew Triggs should be moved to the bullpen or AAA when the former two return. Neal and Triggs have been able to step in the starting role but they are no long term option. These two can step in as decent long relievers, which the Athletics have needed to use a lot this season, as Gray and Hahn are true starting pitchers.
The Athletics rotation to end the season should be: Kendall Graveman, Sean Manaea, Ross Detwiler, Sonny Gray, and Jesse Hahn. All of these pitchers have proven to be worthy of a rotation spot. With Graveman being the only consistent pitcher of this group, the rest of the season can see some atrocious pitching performances. However, it is important to stick to this group of arms for the remainder of the season and let pitchers like Daniel Mengden and Dillon Overton continue to develop their promising arms in AAA.