AUGUST 27: Piscotty underwent successful surgery on his left wrist this morning, the team announced. Unsurprisingly, he won’t return this season.
AUGUST 23: Athletics outfielder Stephen Piscotty is back on the 10-day injured list due to ongoing discomfort in his sprained left wrist, and trainer Nick Paparesta tells reporters that the “anticipation at this point in time” is that surgery will be required (link via Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle). He’s had a pair of cortisone injections already that have helped but have not remedied the issue entirely.
It’s been a difficult couple seasons for Piscotty at the plate, as he’s hitting just .220/.282/.353 in 188 plate appearances this season and carries a .223/.277/.355 slash in 359 plate appearances dating back to Opening Day 2020. The wrist injury has obviously hampered him, at least in 2021, and given that there are just six weeks remaining on the current regular-season schedule, it’d be tough to envision Piscotty returning this year if surgery is indeed required. He’s slated to meet with a specialist this week.
Originally acquired in a Dec. 2017 trade with the Cardinals, Piscotty had an outstanding debut campaign in Oakland, hitting .267/.331/.491 with 27 home runs and 41 doubles in 605 plate appearances (151 games). Knee and wrist sprains plagued him in 2019, however, and his production has waned as the overall number of injuries he’s incurred in recent years has mounted.
Piscotty has typically been a player who holds his own with about average offense against right-handed pitching (.252/.316/.422 career batting line, 101 wRC+) while thriving in platoon settings (.277/.357/.468 and a 126 wRC+). His drop-off this year has happened across the board, however, as he’s providing roughly average offense against lefties and hitting just .181/.236/.313 against righties.
Piscotty’s decline is particularly problematic for the low-payroll A’s. The now-30-year-old right fielder inked a six-year, $33.5MM deal with the Cardinals back at the beginning of the 2017 season after a pair of impressive seasons to begin his career. The 2022 season is the final guaranteed year of that contract, and he’s still owed $7.25MM next year, plus a $1MM buyout of a $15MM club option for the 2023 season. He’s earning that same $7.25MM in 2021 and accounting for a bit more than eight percent of the team’s current payroll in the process.