For years, you knew the name Franklin Barreto was coming in the A’s pipeline.
And for the last few seasons, it always felt like the hard-swinging righty was one more showcase away from turning the corner and becoming an everyday player in the big league lineup.
But for a multitude of complex reasons and bad timing, sustained opportunities and that eventual breakthrough for Barreto never arrived.
Marcus Semien became the unquestioned shortstop. Jed Lowrie was a mainstay at second base, followed by Jurickson Profar, and now Tony Kemp with Chad Pinder.
Barreto understandably struggled with the difficult, limited and irregular roles in between. Especially at the plate. For perspective, since debuting in 2017, his longest stretch of games started with Oakland was 10. That was in late June 2018.
Baretto eventually ran out of options, and was traded Friday to the Los Angeles Angels for veteran infielder Tommy La Stella.
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The deal also signifies the end of A’s lineage to the 2014 Josh Donaldson trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. Sean Nolin, Kendall Graveman, and Brett Lawrie each also never found staying power with the A’s and departed in prior seasons.
Donaldson won the AL MVP in 2015, his first season after being dealt, and has hit 157 over the last six seasons with the Blue Jays, Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins
Barreto should find success with the change of scenery alone in Southern California. Plus, the Angels likely have the patience to give him Major League at bats in a hitter-friendly ballpark for the rest of this season.
For Oakland, the outlook on acquiring La Stella is quite positive. He’s another lefty bat who hit 20 points above his career average last year, and is getting on base 30 points higher this season.
He was notably pesky in all 10 games played against the A’s this season.
La Stella primarily was hitting second for Angels manager Joe Maddon in Los Angeles, and also started a few games as designated hitter. La Stella could find himself in a similar role in Oakland when facing right-handed pitching.
Although the A’s are quite deep in position players, La Stella has enough versatility and talent to immediately find his way into a promising role.
La Stella is set to become a free agent after the 2020 season.