The Athletics added more depth to their roster right before the 2021 MLB trade deadline.
On Friday, ahead of the 1 p.m. PT cutoff, the A's acquired veteran catcher Yan Gomes and utility player Josh Harrison from the Washington Nationals for three minor leaguers, adding two clubhouse guys who provide experience and are having strong 2021 seasons.
A’s general manager David Forst said the goal was to make the team better from top to bottom, and it appears that’s exactly what they did.
“From one through 26,” Forst said on Friday. “And you got two veterans, guys who have been in pennant races, but more importantly guys who are having a really good season.”
Gomes, a 2019 World Series champion with the Nats, has a decade of big-league experience and this season is slashing .271/.323/.454 with nine home runs and 35 RBI.
He looks to give Sean Murphy a break behind the plate when needed and A’s manager Bob Melvin said it’s essentially like having an additional manager on the team as well.
Bringing on Harrison also gives the A's options. He’s hitting .294 with 23 doubles, six homers and 38 RBI in 90 games this season.
“A guy like Harrison, another player who can play the infield and the outfield, another option against left-handed pitching, which was an area where we felt like we needed to address, and Gomes does that too,” Forst added. “Gomes is raking against lefties this year and brings some experience behind the plate will be good for Murph, and for our pitching staff.”
Melvin said by Saturday, he'll be able to evaluate more about Harrison's role, but he's happy to have more versatility.
The team also was seeking more bullpen help even after acquiring Andrew Chafin from the Chicago Cubs on Monday. However, the tough reliever market made an additional arm difficult to come by.
“It did a little bit, yeah,” Forst said. “Look, we had conversations about relievers, absolutely. Just, nothing happened, and we feel good about some of the options we have in Triple-A, but the deal we did make was the one we focused on all morning.”
Gomes and Harrison should be joining the A’s in Anaheim on Saturday for the final two games of the series against the Los Angeles Angels.
It also felt like a more intense trade deadline than past years, and Forst agreed.
“It felt frenetic once we got past 10 a.m.,” Forst said. "I think it's great for the game, there's a lot of teams that feel like they're in the race and going for it. And then there were teams that were definitively not and looking to go the other direction, but there was no shortage of action.”
The A’s also acquired outfielder Starling Marte on Wednesday from the Miami Marlins. He immediately made an impact on the team with a walk and single during the win over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday.
Overall, it was a very successful deadline for the A’s.