When the A’s acquired Tommy La Stella from the Los Angeles Angels before the trade deadline, it was nice to know Oakland wouldn’t have to face him anymore.
The infielder almost never strikes out and would be a key piece in replacing the production of Matt Chapman, who underwent season-ending surgery to repair a right hip strain.
A’s executive president of baseball operations Billy Beane told The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser last month that retaining the 2019 AL All-Star was on his list of priorities as he becomes a free agent this offseason.
That was confirmed on Friday during A’s media availability following their ALDS loss to the Houston Astros.
“He’s the kind of guy, when you’re playing against him, you think you have a sense of how good a player he is, A’s general manager David Forst said. "Then when you see him every day, you really appreciate the things he does. I thought what he brought to the lineup the last month of the season was critical in getting us to where we want.”
Manager Bob Melvin also loved what he got out of La Stella, who slashed .289/.369/.423 line with just 12 strikeouts this season and provided defense that made up for the void left by Chapman.
“Tommy just fit in right away and was a different type of hitter that we needed,” Melvin said. “We were a little bit more all-or-nothing. Just a different dynamic than what we had here, not only this year, but probably for a while now and I’ve been talking to Billy [Beane] and David [Forst] too. He’s a guy that we would love to have back.”
Melvin also said La Stella fit in well in the clubhouse and was embraced by the players. It was as if he had been on the team the entire season.
It’s uncharacteristic for someone in the A's front office to publicly state that they want a player back, but it appears they want to figure something our for La Stella.