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One is a defensive wiz who has developed a cult following with the A’s fan base. The other is a veteran switch hitter who fit in nicely as a midseason acquisition in 2013.
Eric Sogard and Alberto Callaspo offer different skills to the A’s, but both will fight for the second base job this spring. Manager Bob Melvin could very well go with the platoon rotation he did last season with the left-handed hitting Sogard and the switch-hitting Callaspo, who came over from the Los Angeles Angels in July in exchange for infielder Grant Green. But if Melvin wants the best defender out there regularly, he’ll opt for Sogard. If he likes a bit more power and run production from his second baseman, Callaspo could be the choice.
Newcomer Nick Punto, a switch hitter who plays multiple positions and was signed in November, may also enter the second base equation. Melvin has mentioned that Callaspo could get some time at first base, presumably against left-handed starters in place of Brandon Moss. In that case, Punto may slide in at second because of his ability to hit from the right side.
But which player stands the best chance of winning an everyday role at second base?
The age-old philosophy holds that teams value strong defense up the middle of the diamond. Given that, Sogard’s defensive prowess over Callaspo may give him the edge. And surely that would please the fans in the right-field seats at the Coliseum that bring their “Nerd Power” signs and cheer wildly for Sogard, who wears eyeglasses that give him one of the majors’ most scholarly looks.
The A’s have options at second. Now it’s a matter of whether one of those options emerges as the everyday player.
The A’s unveiled a new spring training logo for 2014, commemorating their final season at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Next year, the A’s will shift their spring headquarters to Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, which used to host the Chicago Cubs and is currently undergoing renovations in advance of the A’s arrival.