Leaving the A’s will hit Mark Canha harder than any of the other 11 free agents who’ll likely leave Oakland after the team signaled a rebuild is coming this off-season.
Born and raised in San Jose before playing at Cal, Canha signaled he won’t be back in Oakland, where he’s spent his entire seven-year major league career.
“I mean it was really special. We had such a talented and fun group,” Canha said in a foreboding interview on MLB radio Tuesday. “You couldn’t help but have fun as a member of the Oakland A’s the past few years. And Bob Melvin certainly made that easy.
“I’m gonna miss those guys … it was a good ride.”
There’s been no indication Canha is close to signing a deal, but it almost assuredly won’t be in Oakland, considering MLB Trade Rumors projects he’ll land a two-year, $24M contract somewhere.
Perhaps Canha could reunite with his old manager and fellow Cal alum Melvin, who left Oakland last month to become San Diego’s new manager? Melvin reportedly is already trying to bring an old friend to San Diego with him. According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the A’s granted the Padres permission to interview Ryan Christenson to become Melvin’s bench coach, a role he filled the last four years in Oakland.
It remains to be seen how deep the A’s salary cuts will be, but they won’t be coming near their $89 million payroll of 2021. But the changes coming to Oakland could be severe and painful, especially if the A’s wind up trading the likes of first baseman Matt Olson, third baseman Matt Chapman and starting pitchers Frankie Montas, as rumored.
Canha is the first of the A’s free agents to confirm that coming back to Oakland would be a longshot. FanSided MLB insider Robert Murray reported Canha is drawing serious interest from some West Coast teams. In truth, Canha’s defensive versatility – he plays a solid first base along with all three outfield positions — along with his .344 career on-base percentage makes him desirable to most teams.
Two years after posting a whopping .913 OPS with a career-high 26 homers, Canha had a more than respectable year in 2021. The 32-year-old had a .746 OPS with a slash line of .231/.358/.387 in a career-high 625 plate appearances.
In addition to Canha, A’s fans can probably figure on saying goodbye to the other of Oakland’s new free agents: outfielder Starling Marte, catcher Yan Gomes, first baseman Mitch Moreland, infielders Jed Lowrie and Josh Harrison, pitchers Yusmeiro Petit, Sergio Romo, Jake Diekman, Andrew Chafin, Mike Fiers and Trevor Rosenthal.
None of them will feel the pain of leaving more than Canha, who spoke of his free agency with a bit of trepidation. Playing in Oakland the past seven years was something Canha cherished.
“The fact that it was in the Bay Area where I grew up. My family got to come and watch us play whenever they wanted. That was pretty special, too,” Canha said. “That chapter of my career … it’s never lost on me on how lucky I was to play in the Bay Area and I’ll always appreciate that and look back on that.”
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