Oakland Athletics Sign Outfielder Matt Joyce to Two Year Deal

The Oakland Athletics needed a lot of help during the offseason. They have begun their part to restructure the offense, signing Matt Joyce to a two year contract.

The Oakland Athletics had a rough 2016 season, finishing last in the AL West with a 69-93 record. The A’s will now attack free-agency in order to not have a repeat of the 2016 season. According to the Ken Rosental of Fox Sports, the A’s have signed outfielder Matt Joyce to a two-year deal worth $11 million. Joyce will make $5 million in 2017 and $6 million in 2018 as a part of the deal.

Joyce, 32, had a bounce back season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, after struggling mightily with the Los Angeles Angels the year before. In 2016, Joyce hit .242/.403/.463 with 10 doubles and 13 home runs in .293 plate appearances. Out of his 293 plate appearances, 85% of them came against right-handers.

Joyce has had a problem with left-handers in his career, hitting .165/.265/.310 in 424 plate appearances. He fares well against right-handers, hitting .252/.349/.450 in 2,686 plate appearances over his career. A career platoon-hitter, it does not look like that will change this year with the A’s. In his career, Joyce has been seen as an average outfielder defensively.

For the A’s, Joyce looks to play both corner outfielder spots next season. Khris Davis is seen more as a designated hitter moving forward instead of in left field. The A’s currently have Brett Eibner, Jake Smolinski, and Matt Olsen.

It appears that Joyce may be able to platoon nicely with Smolinski next season, as Smolinski struggles more against righties. It is yet to be seen whether the A’s are looking at more free-agent outfielders this off-season, but it would not be a bad move for general manager David Forst.

According to Jane Lee of MLB.com, the A’s are still looking for a center fielder, even after signing Joyce Wednesday. Lee reports that Forst said that, “We’re still looking for a center fielder.” It is unknown if he means they are looking internally or externally for a center fielder, but the comment shows they do not know who will be their center fielder next season. Yasiel Puig‘s name has popped up in trade talks between the A’s and the Dodgers, but it is also unknown if any deal will come out of it.

The A’s are looking to improve after a rough 2016 and it looks like general manager David Frost and President of Baseball Operations Billy Beane are on their way to getting the team back on track. The A’s will be a team to watch as the winter meetings come and go.

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