I thought the A’s should extend Josh Reddick and trade Rich Hill. Well, one outta two. Both are gone, leaving fond memories behind that should not, and will not, soon be forgotten. However, the A’s have a game tomorrow and then another one, and eventually a whole other season — one in which they get to re-start the standings at 0 games behind! And then a whole ‘nother one!
So let’s talk about tomorrow. The A’s have 3 roster spots to play with: Reddick’s, Hill’s, and that of "Dinger Every Other Inning" Dillon Overton. I would like to see the A’s call up Jesse Hahn (to take Overton’s/Hill’s turn), Brett Eibner (acquired yesterday in the deal that sent Billy Burns taking a terrible route to Kansas City but eventually still getting there pretty quickly), and Jaycob Brugman (a LH batting outfielder with experience both in RF and CF).
Let the auditions begin. With Gray-Manaea-Hahn-Graveman, and perhaps eventually Raul Alcantara or moar Daniel Mengden, trying to cement their place on the 2017 depth chart, it’s time to see who can do what to lay claim to the 2017 outfield. There is both talent and uncertainly in the mix.
One caution I would like to begin with is that Jake Smolinski should not be considered the de facto every day CFer, or outfielder in general. Smolinski has done great so far, really not yet having made a bad play in CF even if he hasn’t been fully tested with a lot of difficult chances. He has also had some excellent at bats against RH pitching — but that mostly occurred when he was "hot against everyone" and on this road trip we are seeing the other side of a hitter. Smolinski is 2 for 20 on the trip and has had several at bats against RHPs that remind one of his limitations.
Smolinski is batting .253/.301/.333 for the season against RHPs and that’s not too far from what you might expect in a full season were Jake to get an every day gig. As a result it would be useful to see what Brugman can do in CF, knowing that he can shift over to RF at any point. Give Eibner a chance to show what he can do in RF and by year’s end you might know enough about Eibner, Brugman, and Smolinski to move forward with a smart plan for 2017.
Now I’m not suggesting that either Eibner or Brugman is going to be the great white hope (though they will probably be white, so that’s one down, just two to go). But there’s always the memory of a failed Brandon Moss emerging at just the right time — actually right about at the age of former 2nd round pick Brett Eibner. There’s the unpredictability of Sean Gallagher (a Grant Holmes-esque prospect) busting and Josh Donaldson, the lottery ticket from A-ball, hitting the Power Ball to say the least.
Let’s find out, and let’s remember: until they fail, they could succeed beyond your wildest dreams. Bring it on!