The A's made a significant move Friday night, acquiring second baseman Tommy La Stella from the Los Angeles Angels for infielder Franklin Barreto.
Second base has been far and away the A’s weakest position so far in the 2020 season, and Oakland primarily used Chad Pinder and Tony Kemp in that spot prior to Friday’s trade. Both Pinder and Kemp are versatile players who have the ability to man multiple defensive positions, but manager Bob Melvin did indicate to reporters Saturday that Kemp’s role likely will be changing following La Stella’s acquisition.
La Stella has 15 starts for the Angels at second base and 10 at first base this season, but Melvin confirmed that the 31-year-old will be starting at second base for the back-half of before Saturday’s doubleheader against the Houston Astros.
Kemp hasn’t started at any other spot outside of second base for the A’s, but has 129 career starts in the outfield. Pinder also has 151 outfield starts in his MLB career, including three appearances in 2020.
Pinder has been away from the A's while he awaited the birth of his son, and he told The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser that Christopher James Pinder came into the world on Saturday morning. Melvin says Pinder could be back with the team for Sunday's game in Houston, but more likely will be back in Seattle for next week's series with the Mariners.
La Stella has the talent to be the A’s everyday second baseman, and should bring an added level of consistent production. A's second basemen are batting just .206 in 2020 per Baseball-Reference, which trails every other spot in the field outside of first base and designated hitter. Luckily for the A’s, Kemp and Pinder have other spots where they can help in the lineup.