The Oakland Athletics finished 2015 with Brett Lawrie at second base and Danny Valencia at third base, but that might not be the configuration the A's settle upon next season, executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane tells Joe Stiglich of CSN California. "Internally we've gotta figure out what's the best thing for the team. Where's the best place to play them? [Third base is] Brett's best position as well. We put Brett at second to get him in the lineup. But Brett would probably tell you he wants to play third base. That's something we have to figure out," said Beane.
Stiglich brings up clubhouse chemistry issues that might play a part in Oakland's plans going forward, saying "there was chatter among those in team circles about how well Valencia may or may not have meshed after joining Oakland."
Stiglich says the A's might be in the market for a second baseman, in that case, if they elect to move Valencia (or even Lawrie, who has an additional year of team control). However, the A's have a few middle infield prospects that may be in the running for roles on the squad in 2016. Joey Wendle played a full season in Triple-A in 2015, hitting .289/.323/.442 with 10 home runs in 618 plate appearances. His performance picked up in the second half of the season, and he hit .319/.345/.487 in his final 286 plate appearances from July 1 and on.
Other internal possibilities at second base include Colin Walsh and Chad Pinder, though those two just finished their Double-A seasons, albeit impressive ones. Utility options on the 40-man roster are Tyler Ladendorf, Eric Sogard, and Max Muncy (Muncy is taking reps at second base in winter leagues).
On the free agent market, Daniel Murphy and Howie Kendrick both received qualifying offers, but Ben Zobrist was not eligible. Zobrist will enter his age 35 season next year and brings health question marks after sustaining a knee injury while with the A's.
The trade possibilities are too numerous to consider as we just get the hot stove underway, but whether second basemen become targets in potential deals will be intriguing to watch as Oakland moves forward.