Athletics general manager Billy Beane and his front office know that acquiring platoon bats is one of the most cost-efficient manners of securing offensive production. And the procurement of righthanded slugger Kyle Blanks fits in with that strategy. Oakland plans to have Blanks split time with lefthanded-hitting Brandon Moss at first base.
“We got him to balance out the lineup on any given day,” Beane told the Bay Area News Group. “We were one lefthanded-bat heavy. We were looking for a righthanded-hitting first baseman who can play the outfield competently. There aren’t many who fit that description, but he does.”
Acquiring Blanks cost the A’s outfielder Jake Goebbert—a lefthanded hitter who was a 13th-round pick by the Astros in 2009 from Northwestern—and righthander Ronald Herrera. Goebbert heads to Triple-A El Paso.
Kyle Blanks, 1b/of
Age: 27. Bats: R.
Service time: 4.032.
Blanks possesses above-average power, but hasn’t consistently unleashed it in the majors because of a lengthy injury history and spotty playing time. Oakland pro scouts, Triple-A field staff and Sacramento players got a long look at Blanks while he’s played for various Pacific Coast League affiliates of the Padres, so they know what he’s capable of. In that time Blanks abused PCL lefties, hitting .330/.418/.670 in 122 plate appearances, while showing exemplary secondary skills (.340 isolated power, 13 percent walk rate) and striking out 17 percent of the time.
Ronald Herrera, rhp
The A’s signed Herrera out of Venezuela in 2011 for just $20,000 and felt like they had gotten a bargain. He’s not particularly physical or physically imposing at 5-foot-10, 170, but his fastball plays beyond its 90-91 velocity because of sink and his ability to command it. His secondary pitches, a curve and changeup, are already solid-average and he has solid, repeatable mechanics and good mound composure.
Jake Goebbert, of
Age: 26. Bats: L.
A corner outfielder, Goebbert has a solid track record versus righty pitchers in the upper minors. He’s hit roughly .290/.375/.480 against them in more than 1,000 plate appearances at Double-A and Triple-A.
For his part, Goebbert told mlb.com, “I’ve been traded before, so I knew a little of what to expect. This was a little different, to be honest, I’m looking at it as a great opportunity for me and my family. I love being back in the NL . . . and hopefully there’s a great opportunity with the Padres.”