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Elephant Rumblings: Kotsay confirms shortstop platoon

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MLB: Spring Training-San Francisco Giants at Oakland Athletics Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, Athletics Nation!

The A’s are going to let the kids play in 2023. A bit, anyway.

Manager Mark Kotsay confirmed yesterday that the A’s plan to platoon Aledmys Díaz and Nick Allen at shortstop as the 2023 regular season gets underway in just three days, per Matt Kawahara at The San Francisco Chronicle.

Díaz will start against right-handed pitchers, Allen against lefties. Last season, 43 left-handed starters faced the A’s, which suggests that Díaz will start about three quarters of games at shortstop while this platoon is in effect.

Allen is an elite defender at shortstop and clearly has an edge on Díaz in that respect. But Kotsay has indicated that generating some runs will be a priority, stating that “with Aledmys and Jace [Peterson] and Tony [Kemp] in that lineup, it helps us on the offensive side.”

This is a bit of a puzzling development. There’s no doubt that Díaz is more big league-ready at the plate, but the A’s have almost no chance of competing into the postseason this year, and at 32, Díaz seems like more of a stopgap. Allen, on the other hand, could anchor the infield for the next contending A’s team. He needs experience to prepare.

Allen was truly abysmal at the plate in 2022 as the A’s primary shortstop in the second half of the season. However, he’s shown some improvement in Spring Training this year, slashing .265/.395/.382 in 34 at-bats. That’s hardly overwhelming evidence that he’s ready to earn his keep offensively, but sitting on the bench will provide little value in terms of Nick’s development.

If the A’s aren’t going to play Nick Allen every day, why not send him back down to AAA to hone his bat a bit longer? He has two options left. Talk to me, AN!

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Looks like a fine start to the day at the Coli.