The value of a team leader can be overrated. None of that chemistry and kumbaya stuff is too relevant when a team can't pitch, hit or field. But sometimes, especially on a young team, it helps to have a been-there-done-that guy, if only to point young'uns in the right direction. In that regard, the 2012 division-winning A's greatly benefited from the presence of Jonny Gomes, Brandon Inge and, before his August trade, Kurt Suzuki, all of whom were considered clubhouse leaders. All are gone, and the A's are talking about repeating their glory, as is. Without the men who held young players' hands and taught them about big-league life on and off the field. So who picks up the slack? Manager Bob Melvin, when asked at Sunday's FanFest in Oakland, gave a laundry list of candidates, including two players who need interpreters, left fielder Yoenis Céspedes and shortstop Hiro Nakajima. "If he really did say that," Nakajima said, "I'm really excited about it."
A's need leaders, have candidates
San Francisco Chronicle | Jan 29