Late last week, Tommy La Stella was traded to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for Franklin Barreto.
La Stella, a left-handed hitting infielder, is slashing .273/.371/.475 on the season with four home runs for a .365 wOBA and 134 wRC+. He will be a free agent after this season. It is unclear how the A’s will utilize La Stella. He can play first, third, and second base, but with Matt Chapman and Matt Olson playing the corners for the A’s, that really leaves just second for La Stella. Oakland already has a lefty second baseman in Tony Kemp, so La Stella could end up DHing, but that means Mark Canha and Stephen Piscotty will be competing for playing time in right field.
Franklin Barreto has slashed .180/.210/.360 with just 9 home runs and a .241 wOBA for a 50 wRC+ in the 219 plate appearances he has had in the majors since 2017. The 24-year-old middle infielder has always been a productive hitter in the minors but struggled in the majors. He most recently had a 121 wRC+ in AAA in 2019. He has the physical talent to be successful, but his plate approach makes it so that, unless he makes a change, he most likely won’t see any success at the big league level.
While some might see the trade as the A’s going all-in for this season, one in which they currently lead the AL West, that isn’t really the case. The A’s don’t need more right-handed bats. Barreto didn’t provide much to a team needing more lineup diversity and had a franchise player at shortstop. The Angels do get a player who has great potential if he can change his plate approach and only had to give up 30 games of a player on an expiring contract. Though La Stella is a quality ballplayer, he alone wouldn’t have helped the Angels claw into a playoff spot due to their 12-24 record, worst in the AL West and the entire American League.