MESA, Ariz. -- Could the A’s add yet another candidate to the mix of players who will be vying for the second-base job this spring?
The A’s have been in contact with free-agent second baseman Jason Kipnis, a source told MLB.com on Tuesday. The club has not confirmed any discussions with Kipnis, who bats left-handed and thus would fit on an A’s team that has been looking to balance out a righty-heavy offense.
The list of candidates in play for the second-base job is already five deep, with Franklin Barreto, Tony Kemp, Vimael Machín, Jorge Mateo and Sheldon Neuse all expected to battle it out in Spring Training. Kemp could also be used in more of a utility role, given his ability to play multiple positions in the infield and outfield. Those names have loads of potential, but none brings the experience or resume that can rival that of Kipnis, who is a two-time All-Star in nine big league seasons, all with the Indians.
During last month’s FanFest, A’s executive vice president Billy Beane hinted at a potential platoon at the position, with either Barreto or Mateo the likely right-handed option. With each of those players short on big league experience, Kipnis would certainly bring some balance.
The 32-year-old Kipnis has hit for more power and has been a much better hitter against right-handers over his career with a .269 average and 113 wRC+. In 2019, he slashed .244/.311/.446 in 303 at-bats against righties, also hitting 14 of his 17 total home runs.
If the A’s don’t end up striking a deal with Kipnis, other veteran left-handed-hitting second-base options remaining on the free-agent market include Scooter Gennett and Brock Holt.