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Oakland A’s release infielder Ryan Goins

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The veteran minor league free agent signing was part of the 60-man player pool

Oakland Athletics v Cincinnati Reds
He’s not Goins to be on the A’s this year
Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s released infielder Ryan Goins on Sunday, the team announced. They now have one open spot in their 60-man player pool.

The A’s signed Goins as a minor league free agent last November, as part of the customary round of veteran depth players that teams add every year to stash in Triple-A. He was invited to original spring training, but then the sport got shut down by the coronavirus pandemic and the season was postponed for four months. With Opening Day finally less than a week away, Oakland has decided there’s no longer room for the 32-year-old, who wasn’t able to get many at-bats in Summer Camp, reports John Hickey of Sports Illustrated.

A’s fans might not be particularly familiar with Goins, who never really got to take the field for the organization and would have done so in the minors anyway. He’s a versatile defender who specializes in the middle infield, and he bats left-handed, so it’s clear why the A’s picked him up for depth since that exact profile was on their shopping list last winter.

In parts of seven MLB seasons for the Blue Jays, and a little bit with the Royals and White Sox, Goins hasn’t hit much but has contributed with the glove. His 65 wRC+ in 1,680 plate appearances is the second-worst in all of MLB since 2013, out of 317 players with a minimum 1,500 PAs, and Statcast agrees with that low rating. However, between strong defensive metrics and the premium value of the positions he plays, his value still manages to be replacement-level via fWAR and he’s even in the positive via bWAR (3.6 for his career, or around 1 WAR per 162 games).

Goins, career: .230/.279/.335, 65 wRC+, 22 HR, 6 SB, 6.4% BB, 22.0% Ks

However, a player in Goins’ situation needs opportunity, plain and simple. You can’t rise up the depth chart if the sport is frozen in place, you can’t hit (or field) your way back to the majors if there are no games in which to do so, and there’s unlikely to be a need for emergency injury replacements when everyone is sitting at home in quarantine instead of on the field sprinting and sliding. We often see depth guys like Goins crack the MLB roster at some point during the season, but it requires having a season in order to happen.

In the meantime, the A’s are more than set in the middle infield for their upcoming 60-game schedule. Marcus Semien has shortstop locked down, and there were so many candidates at second base that they had to trade away one of them, with prospect Jorge Mateo going to the Padres. Still remaining are right-handed batters Franklin Barreto and Chad Pinder, and lefties Tony Kemp and prospect Vimael Machin. In particular, Kemp already fits a similar mold as Goins, as a light-hitting lefty with versatile defense.

The A’s 60-man player pool now has one open spot, with 59 total names. Players with asterisks** are the favorites to make the Opening Day 30-man roster, in my speculative opinion. Players in —italics are not on the 40-man roster, which currently stands at 39 until pitcher Mengden is activated from the injured list.

Oakland A's 60-man pool
Pitchers Hitters
Starters

Frankie Montas (R)**
Sean Manaea (L)**
Mike Fiers (R)**
Chris Bassitt (R)**
Jesus Luzardo (L)**
A.J. Puk (L)**
Paul Blackburn (R)
Daniel Gossett (R)
—Daniel Mengden (R)**
Grant Holmes (R)
Daulton Jefferies (R)
James Kaprielian (R)
—Tyler Baum (R)
—Parker Dunshee (R)
—Brian Howard (R)


Relievers

Liam Hendriks (R)**
Yusmeiro Petit (R)**
Joakim Soria (R)**
Jake Diekman (L)**
T.J. McFarland (L)**
Burch Smith (R)**
Lou Trivino (R)**
J.B. Wendelken (R)**
—Lucas Luetge (L)
—Jaime Schultz (R)
—Jordan Weems (R)
—Wandisson Charles (R)
—Miguel Romero (R)
Catchers

Sean Murphy (R)**
Austin Allen (L)**
Jonah Heim (S)
—Carlos Perez (R)
—Kyle McCann (L)
—Tyler Soderstrom (L)


Infielders

Matt Olson (L)**
Marcus Semien (R)**
Matt Chapman (R)**
Tony Kemp (L)**
Franklin Barreto (R)**
Vimael Machin (L)**
Sheldon Neuse (R)
—Eric Campbell (R)
—Nate Orf (R)
—Nick Allen (R)
—Logan Davidson (S)
—Robert Puason (S)


Outfielders

Khris Davis (R)**
Mark Canha (R)**
Ramon Laureano (R)**
Stephen Piscotty (R)**
Robbie Grossman (S)**
Chad Pinder (R)**
Seth Brown (L)**
Skye Bolt (S)
Luis Barrera (L)
Dustin Fowler (L)
—Brayan Buelvas (R)
—Greg Deichmann (L)
—Buddy Reed (S)