Look for A’s to try new acquisition Scott Sizemore at third base

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The Tigers likely would have been more patient with Scott Sizemore had he possessed a better glove at second base.  His track record suggests that he’s going to hit — he’s batting .315/.392/.487 in 170 career games in Triple-A — but his glove at second base has always been shaky and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change.

The A’s highly value defense these days, as evidenced by their decision to spend $6 million to bring back Mark Ellis to play second, so Sizemore may struggle to make inroads at his usual position.  The hot corner, though, is ripe for the picking, and Sizemore does have a bit of experience there: he made 11 starts there in Triple-A last year and four more with the Tigers.

Besides, the A’s already have an heir apparent at second base: Jemile Weeks is batting .322/.412/.454 while playing the position exclusively at Triple-A Sacramento this year.   They lack a third baseman of the future (though they did give a 16-year-old named Renato Nunez a big bonus last year).  Longtime prospect Adrian Cardenas has seen some time there in Triple-A this year, but he’s mostly played the outfield and served as a DH.

Sizemore isn’t necessarily the answer either, but he’s worth a shot with the way that Kevin Kouzmanoff and Andy LaRoche have played this year.  I still expect him to turn into a nice .280 hitter with 30-double power. He’ll take over as Sacramento’s third baseman for now, and if he
adjusts well, he could be back in the majors in a couple of weeks.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.