Everyone talks about how great Pitchers and Catchers Day is. I certainly did on Tuesday. But there’s another day that doesn’t get nearly the attention and that’s Position Players Report Day. We love our other position players as much as we love our pitchers and catchers, so let’s celebrate, as today is PPR Day!
The A’s added a handful of new position players this offseason, two of which are former A’s that are returning to the team. Rajai Davis was signed to a one-year deal for $6 million, and considering center field was mostly manned last season by some combination of Billy Burns, Jake Smolinski and Brett Eibner, I like the move to bring back a guy who has more of a track record as an everyday player. Everyone remembers Rajai’s big home run in Game 7 of the World Series, but he also led the A.L. in stolen bases (43) in his only full season with the Indians. The other former A coming back is Adam Rosales, who somehow managed to OPS .814 for the Padres last season, in the most games he’s played in a big league season (115). I would imagine he’s a utility backup for the A’s, as the starting infield positions are pretty set.
As for those starting infield positions, Marcus Semien, Jed Lowrie, Yonder Alonso and Ryon Healy are all back to get the bulk of the playing time on the infield this year, though Healy will probably get some time at first base as the A’s signed veteran free agent Trevor Plouffe to a one-year deal. Hopefully Healy will end up with the most at-bats among the two though as it would be nice if he gets the opportunity to build on that .305/.337/.524 line he put up last season at the big league level. And let’s not forget about Nashville when talking about third base this season – defensive stud Matt Chapman will be beginning the year in AAA and will hopefully be pushing to make the big league roster sometime this season.
We’ve got another new guy in the outfield besides Rajai. One of the first moves the A’s made this offseason was to sign Matt Joyce to a two-year deal. They really needed a veteran lefty bat out there with the departure of Josh Reddick, and Joyce will give them some stability in the lineup versus right-handed pitching, with a career OPS of .803 versus righties in his career. And of course the guy returning to the A’s outfield this season was the most valuable position player the team had last year – Khris Davis. We enjoyed a summer of watching Khris launch baseballs out of the Coliseum last year and hopefully there will be more of the same this year, as he enters his age 29 season.
And then one week from today, there will be an actual baseball game featuring the A’s playing against another actual baseball team. We’re almost there. Go A’s…