(AP) — OAKLAND, Calif. After trading away their former superstar slugging Matts, third baseman Matt Chapman and first baseman Matt Olson, the Oakland Athletics posted a farewell photo on social media featuring pitching ace Chris Bassitt and their former superstar slugging Matts, third baseman Matt Chapman and first baseman Matt Olson.
“Those are tough guys to replace,” Chad Pinder remarked, “but we have a job here now.” “Every every day, we have to go to work.” We’re preparing for April 7 in the same way that we’re preparing for the season…. We accept that this occurred, but we also recognise that there is more work to be done.”
Meanwhile, the A’s welcomed back catcher Stephen Vogt and infielder Jed Lowrie, two veterans who have meant a lot to the team.
Mark Kotsay, a former outfielder who was elevated from third base coach to replace Melvin, will face a young roster.
When spring training began, he said, “I always accept challenges, and I guess my mindset is to impact as many people as possible every day.”
Following three straight bids and an AL West triumph in the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season, Oakland missed the playoffs last season, finishing 86-76, nine games behind the division champion Astros.
The A’s begin the season on April 8 against the Phillies in an interleague series.
Pinder doesn’t want anyone to feel sorry for the A’s as they try to move ahead without those three crucial players.
“We’re going to start dragging, and Bassitt, Chappy, and Olson would absolutely not want that.” They did not prepare us in this manner. “That’s not the culture they contributed to here,” Pinder explained. “… I hope the men in this room understand that when they see guys getting dealt, it’s for a cause. It’s due of all the hard work they’ve put in, as well as their talent and ability as athletes. So it’s an opportunity for a lot of the men here, including myself, to grab the reins and attempt to maintain the culture that they helped create.”
The A’s may find it difficult to score enough runs. Last year, Olson blasted a career-high 39 home runs, while Chapman hit 27 to go along with his outstanding fielding, which earned him his third Gold Glove title.
The A’s may need some time to find their identity, according to Kotsay, but several key returners should help. There are many of familiar faces here, including right fielder Stephen Piscotty, Vogt, and Lowrie.
“As a club, there’s now an opportunity for those players in that room,” Kotsay added. “It’s something they should see.”
In mid-March, he organised a home run derby at spring training.
He advised, “You’ve got to have some fun.”
Oakland is without strong-armed centre fielder Ramón Laureano, who must serve the final 27 games of an 80-game suspension he got after testing positive for a performance-enhancing chemical in early August.
Laureano, who tested positive for Nandrolone, had core surgery last fall and played in spring training this year.
When he returns, he’ll be a welcome addition: Before being fined, Laureano hit 14 home runs and drove in 39 runs.
In the absence of Bassitt, right-hander Frankie Montas and left-hander Sean Manaea will lead a rotation that includes Cole Irvin and right-handers Daulton Jefferies and Brent Honeywell.
Jefferies has appeared in six games in his career, all in the last two seasons, and will be given increased responsibilities.
Despite losing time after receiving a terrifying line drive to the face in Chicago on Aug. 17 that necessitated surgery to heal three fractures in his right cheekbone, Bassitt had a career-best 12-4 record in 2021.
ROOKIES TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Cristian Pache, Nick Allen, and Kevin Smith, all outfielders, have a shot to make the team out of spring training.
Pache, a 23-year-old outfielder, was acquired by the A’s in the transaction that sent Olson to Atlanta.