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Elephant Rumblings: Is Cristian Pache the A’s next elite defender?

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MLB: SEP 30 NL Wild Card Series - Reds at Braves
ATLANTA, GA SEPTEMBER 30: Atlanta Braves outfielder Christian Pache (14) looks on from the dugout during the National League Wild Card Series game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Atlanta Braves on September 30th, 2020 at Truist Park in Atlanta, GA.
Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Friday, Athletics Nation!

The A’s last losing season was 2017; they went 75 - 87 that year. It was also Matt Chapman’s rookie year, and the moment he arrived, his absolutely next-level defense at the hot corner made the A’s a joy to watch again. Chapman is off to Toronto now and the A’s are rebuilding again, projected by Fangraphs to win just 72 games this season. Let’s hope that our newly acquired prospect and defensive phenom Cristian Pache will lessen the pain of his new team’s anticipated doldrums in the standings with some spectacular play in center field.

Per Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle, Pache was seen by some as the best defender in the Atlanta Braves organization as early as the tender age of 19. He saw limited MLB action the past two seasons, including in the 2020 NLCS. He was the Braves’ center fielder on Opening Day last year, but lost time to a hamstring injury that the young outfielder now says he’s fully recovered from.

With Ramon Laureano serving the remainder of his PED suspension through the first 27 games of 2022, Pache is an obvious candidate to take the field on Opening Day, but Athletics GM David Forst was noncommittal about that possibility on Monday, saying, “We obviously have a lot of things in flux between now and Opening Day, so that’s hard to say. But what we know is that (he’s) probably one of the best defensive outfielders anyone has seen in the minor leagues in a long time.”

Pache has demonstrated indefatigable ebullience in statements about his new team and fans:

“I feel very happy and excited for the love and affection I’ve gained so far from A’s fans. I’m an enjoyable person, I’m a happy person. I like to bring the best I can every day and I’m just full of energy at all times.”

“Laser” Laureano, who has made his share of phenomenal plays in center field, took a break from trading defensive drills with Pache on Wednesday to express his admiration of and support for the 23-year-old, saying, “I really haven’t watched him fully, but I’ve seen some videos and he’s tremendous out there ... I’m excited to watch him play. … He’s a great guy. He loves the game. He’s very happy to be here and learn.”

Athletics Nation welcomes Cristian to Oakland! We’re ready to savor all the web gems he can serve up.

A’s Coverage:

MLB News & Interest:

Best of Twitter:

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Spring training broadcast info from Kawahara.

Hone that bat, Pache! There are two sides to the game.

Sorry Matt, but the cap just don’t fit.

Triple your heartbreak in a single tweet.

I don’t necessarily love 15 inning games, but there’s gotta be a better way than ghost runners to curtail extras.