The A’s infield is about to collapse under the weight of all the bling they’ve picked up in the last couple of seasons. Friday, they added another piece to the gleaming heap of gratification. For the second year in a row, Matt Chapman was named the AL Platinum Glove winner! Woo!
Just a week prior, Chapman and fellow Matt, Matt Olson, earned a Gold Glove each for the second year in a row. As if the honor of winning Gold Gloves wasn’t big enough, the second-straight victory for the young infielders puts them in an elite class in A’s history. The last time a player won consecutive Gloves was Eric Chavez (‘01-’06), and the one and only other time a pair won consecutive titles was Dwayne Murphy and pitcher, Mike Norris, in ‘80 & ‘81.
Although he did not win overall Defensive Player of the Year, Chapman was honored by Wilson’s defensive 3B award for the second year in a row.
As if this wasn’t enough hooplah, Chapman and Olson also won the Fielding Bible ... for the second year in a row. The history of who has won consecutive Fielding Bibles isn’t as extensive, as the award has only been around since 2006, but the way the winners of the Bible are calculated is a much more enticing endeavor.
In some also news, the A’s have made their first offseason addition in south paw reliever, TJ McFarland. The 30yo put up a 4.82 ERA over 56 innings, but posted a 2.00 over 72 only a year previous. He maintained a 63% ground ball rate, which is one of the best in baseball. McFarland is not likely — or expected — to have a breakout season for 2020, but a solid, reliable arm in the pen is part of the padding the A’s need to piece together in the offseason. The fact that he is a lefty is a bonus. McFarland was claimed off of waivers after the team declined lefty Jake Diekman’s option for 2020.
On the other hand, righty Yusmiro Petit’s $5.5mil option for 2020 was exercised on October 31st. No surprise there — Petit put up fantastic numbers in 2019 and showed no signs of slowing down as the season wore on.
The A’s may have moved on from Diekman, but the future is looking bright for A’s outfield prospect Greg Deichmann. With the conclusion of the 2019 Arizona Fall league in the books, A’s prospects are sparkling on the horizon. One of those guys was Deichmann, who put on a fabulous fireworks show. Deichmann smacked 9 dingers, most hit in the AFL since 2011.
After two years of working with some of baseball’s best infielders, 3B coach Matt Williams has accepted a job overseas. He has accepted a manager position with the Korean Baseball League, Kia Tigers, his contract spanning the next three seasons. Best of luck, Matt! In his place, the A’s promoted Eric Martins from minor league coaching up to their major league staff as the new assistant hitting coach.
Sean Murphy has completed his knee surgery and hopes to put his leg woes behind him ... or beneath him. He should be ready for Spring 2020, barring any unforeseen disasters.
The 2020 season is not too far in the future, but for now we can sit back and enjoy the fame our Matts are receiving, as well as how Chappy is possibly going to fit more awards in what must be an already screaming trophy case. And we’re still waiting for an announcement on the MVP, for which shortstop Marcus Semien is at least a top-three finalist. Congrats on a fantastic 2019, guys!