Jurickson Profar trade gives A's infield situation some needed clarity


Jurickson Profar trade gives A's infield situation some needed clarity

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.

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.

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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.

Chad Pinder, A's players will feel 'residual effects' when MLB returns

Chad Pinder, A's players will feel 'residual effects' when MLB returns

A’s utility man Chad Pinder is home in Charlotte, North Carolina getting plenty of things done. Watching Netflix, painting nursery furniture, and getting in decent workouts in his garage.

Productive, but not reassuring.

“This is kind of unprecedented in our lifetime, basically to have the nation on hold right now,” Pinder told NBC  Sports Bay Area this week. “It is a very scary time, especially in some the areas that are affected bad right now.”

It was only a few weeks ago Pinder and his Oakland teammates were in Mesa, Arizona getting ready for a highly anticipated 2020 MLB season. 

They, like most of the country, didn’t fully interpret the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic at first.

“I don’t know if we initially realized what was going on,” Pinder said. “Thought maybe this would be a two-week break, month maximum. The more information you get, the more you see going around, you realize this is a long-term thing.”

Pinder, a highly-regarded clubhouse leader, now keeps in touch with teammates mostly through text messages.

“We have a group thread, everybody’s talking,” Pinder said.

Their main conversations are about MLB developments, and to keep each other in the loop of when baseball could resume. Players don’t have any more assurances or insights than the average fan does these days. But there are some certainties. 

“Even when we resume stuff, there will be residual effects of what’s been going on,” Pinder said.

[RELATED: Stewart better after coronavirus scare]

That aforementioned nursery project is indeed preparation for Chad and his wife Taylor’s first child, due in the late summer months. He is certainly seeing different perspectives of events right now, as they relate to the future.

“The way we handle this, the way we come out of this,” Pinder said. “We’ll look back on the rest of our lives and remember this time.”

Why Matt Olson's walk-off in A's 2019 win vs. Brewers was so impressive

Why Matt Olson's walk-off in A's 2019 win vs. Brewers was so impressive

Programming note: Watch the re-air of Matt Olson's walk-off homer vs. Brewers tonight at 8 p.m. PT on NBC Sports California.

Milwaukee Brewers All-Star closer Josh Hader has been almost unhittable when facing left-handed batters during his three-year MLB career.

But A's first baseman Matt Olson didn't care about the numbers on July 30, 2019.

With the A's and Brewers tied in the bottom of the 10th inning, Olson hit a moonshot solo home run on the first pitch he saw from Hader to send the Oakland Coliseum into a frenzy.

A's fans will get a chance to relive Olson's heroics from the 3-2 win Friday night as NBC Sports California re-airs the game at 8 p.m.

In a Twitter fan poll, Olson's walk-off beat out Marcus Semien's walk-off from March 29, 2018.

Left-handed hitters are hitting just .120 off Hader in 209 at-bats. He has allowed just 25 hits and six homers to lefties, so Olson beat the odds in order to send the A's home winners on that night.

[RELATED: Stewart addresses beating coronavirus]

Olson would finish the 2019 season with a career-high 36 homers, with 11 coming off left-handed pitchers.

He will have to wait an undetermined amount of time before he can hit his next walk-off as the MLB season has been delayed due to the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.