The Athletics were quiet in the pre-lockout portion of the 2021-22 offseason, but by all accounts they’re readying for a teardown that will see the core of their 2017-21 teams dispersed throughout the league as they look to retool and stockpile young talent. General manager David Forst readily acknowledged this reality, telling reporters early in the offseason: “This is the cycle for the A’s. We have to listen and be open to whatever comes out of this. This is our lot in Oakland until it’s not.”
As one would expect, much of the focus has been on the big names who’ll be highly coveted by other clubs: Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea, Chris Bassitt, Frankie Montas. Both Ramon Laureano and Sean Murphy have been mentioned at least speculatively, but they’re controlled through 2024 and 2025, respectively, whereas that initial quintet is either up for free agency next winter (Manaea, Bassitt) or following the 2023 season (Olson, Chapman, Montas).
While the focus on those players is understandable, the A’s also would surely welcome the opportunity to be rid of their remaining obligations to shortstop Elvis Andrus and outfielder Stephen Piscotty. Both are signed through the 2022 season with 2023 club options on contracts that are generally viewed as underwater. With several clubs still eyeing shortstop help, Andrus has come up as a speculative piece in some larger deals. The New York Post’s Joel Sherman, for example, has written about the concept of the Yankees taking on Andrus as part of a larger deal to acquire Olson. CBS Sports’ Mike Axisa suggested a similar idea for the Jays if they look into Chapman.
The problem in suggesting an Andrus trade in any shape or size is twofold, however. First and most obviously is the simple fact that Andrus’ bat has been dormant for four years now. In 2016-17, his age-27 and age-28 seasons, Andrus hit a combined .299/.348/.457 with good defense and plus value on the basepaths. He looked like one of the most well-rounded shortstops in the game. Since then, he’s batted a combined .255/.302/.360 over the course of 1728 plate appearances.