Susan Slusser announced on Monday that the Oakland Athletics recalled RHP Jordan Weems and Catcher Jonah Heim and sent catcher Austin Allen and Paul Blackburn back to the A’s alternate site.
Allen, who the A’s acquired after trading Jurickson Profar to the Padres, started the year as the backup catcher to Sean Murphy. In his 32 plate appearances, he slashed .194/.219/.323 with 1 home run for a .232 wOBA, a .171 xwOBA, and a 46 wRC+. His defense was solid, being worth 0 DRS in 81 innings behind the plate and being in the 88th percentile for framing. His replacement, Heim, is a 25 year old switch hitter who is skilled equally with the bat and glove. In his 208 plate appearances at Double A in 2019, he slashed .282/.370/.431 with 5 home runs for a .361 wOBA and a 125 wRC+. His strikeout rate has never been super high, hovering around 15% since 2018. Scouts say his framing grades out well, but his other facets of his defense lag behind. It’s fortunate he will be pairing up with the stellar glovework of Sean Murphy.
Paul Blackburn didn’t make an appearance in 2020, so his demotion will not be felt. Weems, however, will certainly be a welcome addition to one of baseball’s best bullpens. In Weems’ five innings in the majors, he was stellar. He struck out five, walked just one, and has yet to give up a home run. The advanced stats like him too, having just a .233 xwOBA in the previously mentioned five innings.
These moves continue to signal what the league already knew: the Athletics are doing everything they can to pull away from the pack in the AL West. It will be interesting to see how they treat the trade deadline in the coming days.