The Oakland Athletics have acquired Tommy La Stella from the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for Franklin Barreto in a swap of second basemen that appears to be a mutual fit for two teams heading in opposite directions.
The A’s needed an upgrade at second base and got one in La Stella, a pending free agent who is batting .273/.371/.475. The Angels, who are 11-22, get more years of control with Barreto, a key piece of the Josh Donaldson trade six years ago who hasn’t panned out in the major leagues.
Barreto, a 24-year-old who is now out of options, has batted .180/.210/.360 in 219 plate appearances over the past four years. The A’s sport an American League-best 22-10 record but had received only a .591 OPS from their second basemen, a position occupied mostly by Chad Pinder and the light-hitting Tony Kemp.
La Stella, 31, was utilized primarily as a pinch hitter with the Atlanta Braves and the Chicago Cubs in his first five seasons. But he unlocked some power with the Angels last year, batting .295 with 16 home runs in 80 games before fracturing his right tibia in early July. Soon after, La Stella appeared at his first All-Star Game on crutches.
The Angels have a couple of more intriguing pending free agents in shortstop Andrelton Simmons and catcher Jason Castro. They seek help for their 2021 pitching staff but would probably have to part with better assets with more control to attain it. Infielders David Fletcher and Luis Rengifo and outfielder Brian Goodwin are among the names who could yield a better return.
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