When an email with the subject header “A’s Acquire IF/OF Chris Coghlan from the Cubs for RHP Aaron Brooks” shows up in the inbox, the first reaction is to think it’s a hoax. However, the Oakland Athletics really did just dump Aaron Brooks onto the World Series-favorite Chicago Cubs for awesome utility player Chris Coghlan. How this happened is just another testament to the prowess of the A’s front office.
Who knows what the Cubs see in Brooks, but his career 8.38 ERA wasn’t going to earn him much time in Oakland. Meanwhile, the A’s added a bat that can pretty much play anywhere on the diamond while guaranteeing guys like outfielder Sam Fuld and infielder Eric Sogard won’t see 300 plate appearances each like they did in 2015.
Coghlan batted .250 with a career-high 16 home runs and 41 RBI for Chicago last year. He also posted career-high marks in games played (148), walks (58) and stolen bases (11). The 30-year-old utility player appeared in 99 games in left field, 21 games in right field, 15 games at second base, five games at first base and three games at third base. Consider Ben Zobrist replaced and Manager Bob Melvin very happy.
After trading recently for left fielder Khris Davis, Oakland has now solidified its lineup effectively, leaving the only big question on the roster one of starting-rotation depth—something Brooks wasn’t going to help, anyway. This is now a 2016 A’s team totally capable of winning the American League West Division one year after finishing with the worst record in the AL.
Well done, David Forst: It’s excellent to see you learned from the master himself.
Coghlan will be able to spell outfielders Davis and Josh Reddick when necessary, and he can fill in at second and third, too. He may even get some ABs at first, once the A’s realize Yonder Alonso isn’t an answer to much. Here’s a quick look at what Melvin will have to work with each day at each offensive position:
- C: Stephen Vogt, Josh Phegley
- 1B: Alonso, Mark Canha, Vogt, Coghlan
- 2B: Jed Lowrie, Coghlan
- SS: Marcus Semien, Lowrie
- 3B: Danny Valencia, Semien, Lowrie, Coghlan
- LF: Davis, Coghlan, Canha, Coco Crisp
- CF: Billy Burns, Crisp, Reddick
- RF: Reddick, Davis, Coghlan
- DH: Billy Butler, all/any of the above
Fuld and Sogard may hang around on the roster as emergency depth only, but their ridiculously bad OPS efforts at the plate won’t kill the team’s offense like last year. On any given day, Melvin will be able to put together puzzle pieces to get the best lineup on the field, situationally.
Welcome to 2016 Oakland A’s baseball … hopefully the same as 2012-14 A’s baseball.