The Oakland Athletics, who suffered a pair of notable losses to their third-base depth chart on Saturday, are expected to sign veteran infielder Jake Lamb once he qualifies for free agency on Monday, according to Shayna Rubin of the Mercury News. Lamb had been designated for assignment by the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday after hitting 116/.240/.140 in 18 games.

The A’s announced on Saturday that they would be without Matt Chapman for the rest of the season. He’s slated to undergo hip surgery during the coming week. Hours later, the A’s scratched reserve Chad Pinder because of a strained hamstring. Those injuries left Oakland with two options at the hot corner: Vimael Machin and recent addition Tommy La Stella, who has also seen action at second base and as the team’s designated hitter.

Lamb, who made the 2017 All-Star Game, figures to see action at third base against right-handed pitching. The last few years have been a challenge for him, as he’s hit .199/.307/.330 (68 OPS+) with just 12 home runs since the onset of the 2018 season. His downfall seems linked to a shoulder injury that required surgery. 

To Lamb’s credit, his ball-tracking metrics suggest he’s been better than his raw statistics. Dating back to last season, he’s had an average exit velocity north of 91 mph; the league-average, for reference, is around 88 mph. He also has a discerning eye at the plate, having walked in at least 10 percent of his plate appearances in each of the past five years.

The chances of Lamb enjoying a full resurgence in Oakland seem remote. At this point, though, the A’s need all the help they can get as they attempt to lock down the American League West while replacing their franchise cornerstone. 


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