It has been a bad spring training for Sizemores. Besides Grady’s seemingly annual injury, Athletics’ third baseman Scott Sizemore fell to an ACL tear earlier yesterday and will be lost for the entire season. For as deep as the Athletics have made their outfield this winter, their infield is paper-thin. It becomes obvious as manager Bob Melvin attempts to sell his team’s depth on the left side of the diamond:
Donaldson is a catcher prospect with a .795 OPS in two seasons at Triple-A. Rosales has a .281 career wOBA and is coming off a broken foot in 2011. Eric Sogard has played 25 professional games at the position and brings a similar minor league track record to Donaldson. Although the A’s could just slog their way to a third or fourth place finish with these three players, chances are they will at least take a gander outside of the organization to fill the void left by Sizemore’s injury.
The list of available free agent third basemen is just as uninspiring: Garrett Atkins, Pedro Feliz, Wes Helms, or maybe the less-than-glorious return of Miguel Tejada. Although it would probably do the A’s well to see if one of these players would have interest in a minor-league deal, they hardly present a solution of either short or long term. That leaves Billy Beane and company to troll trading blocks.
The biggest of the trade fish would be reeling in David Wright from the Mets. It is most certainly a long shot, but the $15 million price tag on Wright shouldn’t preclude the idea. The A’s payroll is down around $55 million this season after opening 2011 at $67 million. The bigger question is if the Athletics will be willing to pull the trigger on the amount of talent it will take to bring in Wright, but they have major-league ready talent to burn in the outfield and starting rotation as well as a number of solid young players in the system. Wright has a $16 million option for 2013 and could be the piece the A’s use to sell a move to a new ballpark.
The more realistic options are, as always, far more boring. The A’s have shown interest in Chone Figgins and the Mariners are hardly clinging to him. A Martin Prado for Seth Smith trade was discussed before the Rockies dealt Smith to Oakland and could be revisited with the A’s needing an infield starter more than outfield depth. Or the A’s could go younger: a few NL Central prospects with ostensible major league readiness could be available in Taylor Green, Juan Francisco and Todd Frazier.
The Athletics do not have to make a major move here — Scott Sizemore is coming off a season with a 108 wRC+ and could very well recover and become the third baseman of the future. But their complete lack of infield depth has been exposed, and with a full month of spring training preceding six months of games to go, it is a problem they will need to fix over the next few weeks.