There is a reason why Eric Sogard is at the bottom of the lineup for the Oakland Athletics. Have you seen his batting average lately? It’s at .197.
Sogard has gone backwards this season, the year after he hit .266 in 130 games and had his first taste of full-season action. Prior to 2013, Sogard hadn’t played in more than half his team’s games that season, but it looked like he would have enough in his bat to let Jemile Weeks walk away after some solid time with the ball club.
Baltimore Orioles fans know what happened with Weeks — he’s in the minors now. The same can’t be said for Sogard, and let’s face it. The Athletics won’t send him to Triple-A. The reality is that second-base situation doesn’t warrant sending Sogard to the minors to discover his bat.
Sogard is in a platoon with Nick Punto, and both players bat at the bottom of the lineup. It is clear manager Bob Melvin isn’t concerned with going out and getting a blockbuster acquisition for the middle of the infield.
The Athletics don’t need to spend their resources there. Even as the club has battled the MLB and commissioner Bud Selig for a better position in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Athletics have put together a club that can contend with the best of them in baseball.
As long as other hitters like Brandon Moss, Josh Donaldson, Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes all hit, the Athletics can afford to have a few weak links in the lineup. Also, if a player is weak in hitting but great on defense, managers and general managers are willing to look the other way.
As long as pitchers like Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir and Drew Pomeranz can throw effectively, the Athletics won’t care either. Keep in mind the Athletics were hit with injuries before the season even began, as A.J. Griffin and Jarrod Parker both fell victim to elbow problems. That hasn’t been an issue so far, because the replacements have bolstered the rotation.
At some point, everyone will have to pull weight. There’s still plenty of time left in the season, and the Athletics know the next couple months will be critical to the team’s success.
Sogard proved he can hit Saturday night in a win over the New York Yankees. A few more of those games would do the trick.