Stephen Piscotty grew up an Oakland A’s fan, but never expected to play for them.
The acquisition of Piscotty, 26, has sentimental value in addition to helping the A’s in 2018 and beyond. His mother was diagnosed with ALS in late May, and the Pleasanton native said the trade allows him to be much closer to his family for the foreseeable future:
“I felt if I were to get traded this is the absolute best option for me and my family. It’s a dream come true, in a sense, that I get to play for my hometown team and not a lot of people get that chance so I’m very grateful.”
Piscotty’s Bay Area roots run deep. He played at Amador High School in Pleasanton and three years at Stanford before being drafted by the Cardinals in the first round of the 2012 draft. His dad has been an A’s season ticket holder for 22 years. Piscotty said Tim Hudson and Mark McGwire were his two favorite players growing up, and described the A’s as “my childhood:”
“We’d go to games all the time … I’ve got some really, really fond memories of being at [Oakland Coliseum]. I’ve actually never played there … I’ve never set foot on that field so I’m sure that’s going to be a very special moment when I get to do that.”
The St Louis trade for Marcell Ozuna on Wednesday allowed the team to deal from its glut of outfield talent. A’s general manager David Forst said the two teams were engaged in talks for Piscotty as far back as July:
“Obviously with the other things that were going in with the market, things were slow to develop but we stayed in touch and [Cardinals GM John Mozeliak] always made it clear that we were going to have this conversation and it was just a matter of when. So we were certainly excited when we got to Orlando, it started to come together with a little bit of substance.”
Forst suggested that Piscotty, Chad Pinder and Matt Joyce could rotate on the outfield corners. The team intends to move Khris Davis to designated hitter following the trade that sent Ryon Healy to the Seattle Mariners. Forst said the A’s feel “very good” about Piscotty in either corner.
The A’s dealt a pair of infielders, Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock, to the St Louis Cardinals for Piscotty. Baseball America ranked Munoz 10th on their midseason list of A’s prospects and while Schrock missed out on the list, BA lauded his hitting ability.
On the field, Piscotty’s 2017 season was easily his worst. After hitting 22 home runs and 35 doubles in 153 games in 2016, Piscotty dealt with knee issues for much of the season and only managed a .708 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 107 games. Piscotty wasn’t sure if the off-the-field issues affected his on-field performance but said he’s glad to put the year behind him:
“Ended up on the DL a couple times, got sent down. It was just … it was a bit of a year to forget but I learned a lot so I’m going to tap into some of those experiences and hopefully have a really successful 2018.”