With the non-tender deadline just hours away, the A's shipped starting second baseman Jurickson Profar to the Padres for 25-year-old catcher Austin Allen and a player to be named later.
Welcome to The Town, Austin!— Oakland A's (@Athletics) December 2, 2019
We've acquired catcher Austin Allen and a player to be named later from the San Diego Padres for second baseman Jurickson Profar. pic.twitter.com/ZhCLyKiCWN
It's a shrewd move by Billy Beane, David Forst, and company, as Profar was almost certain to be non-tendered later in the day, due to his projected $5.8 million salary in arbitration. Instead, Oakland was able to acquire a solid left-handed hitting catcher to pair with 25-year-old Sean Murphy next year.
In 67 Triple-A games last season, Allen slashed an impressive .330/.379/.663 with 21 home runs and 67 RBI. He hit .215 with three RBI in 34 major league games with the Padres.
Originally a fourth-round draft pick in 2015, Allen has launched 20 or more homers in three consecutive seasons in the minors, with a career .296 batting average and .844 OPS.
The move could signal the end of Josh Phegley's tenure in Oakland, as the 31-year-old catcher is projected to get $2.2 million in arbitration. Phegley becomes a strong non-tender candidate at Monday's 5:00 p.m. deadline.
As for Profar, the 26-year-old switch hitter mostly struggled in his lone season with the A's, posting a .218/.301/.410 slash line. He did notch 20 home runs and 67 RBI, but his defensive struggles at second base were a major issue, with his 13 errors ranking third highest among AL second basemen.
With Profar now out of the picture, the A's second base situation features youngsters Sheldon Neuse, Franklin Barreto, and Jorge Mateo. The three top-10 prospects may end up battling for the starting job in spring training, though Oakland could still choose to bring in a veteran, either in free agency or via trade.
With Monday night's non-tender deadline rapidly approaching, the A's might not be done making trades. Former closer Blake Treinen is reportedly on the block, as is Phegley. Other non-tender possibilities include left-hander Ryan Buchter and outfielder Robbie Grossman.
Those questions will be answered shortly, but in the meantime, the A's front office deserves credit for moving Profar at the 11th hour.