Programming note: A’s Insider Joe Stiglich is in San Diego for the MLB Winter Meetings, say logged into CSNBayArea.com and tune into SportsNet Central tonight at 6 p.m., 10:30 and midnight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area for the latest
SAN DIEGO -- The A’s squeezed in one last bit of business Thursday before leaving the Winter Meetings, and it may very well impact next season.
They swung a trade with Colorado to acquire first baseman/outfielder Mark Canha, a Miami Marlins prospect who was picked by the Rockies in Thursday morning’s Rule 5 draft.
Per Rule 5 regulations, Canha must now spend the entire 2015 regular season on Oakland’s 25-man roster or be offered back to the Marlins for $25,000. Judging from the comments of assistant general manager David Forst, Canha appears to fit in the plans for next season. The A’s see him as an option at first base and left field.
“Mark fits very well on our club and will have every opportunity to make our team,” Forst said. “Being right-handed and being able to play multiple positions is a very good fit for us right now. We were excited to work out a deal to get him.”
Oakland sent minor league right-hander Austin House and cash to Colorado for Canha. To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, the A’s designated outfielder Shane Peterson for assignment.
Minor leaguers are eligible for the Rule 5 draft if they aren’t on their team’s 40-man roster four or five years after signing, depending on their age when they signed. Nate Freiman is a recent A’s example of a player who took advantage of his Rule 5 opportunity. The A’s selected him before the 2013 season and he played his way into a platoon role at first base. Ironically, Canha’s presence now will make it tougher for Freiman to make the big league club this spring.
Canha, who turns 26 in February, is from San Jose and played collegiately at Cal before getting drafted in the seventh round in 2010 by the Marlins. He’s a .285 career hitter with 68 home runs and 303 RBI in 496 minor league games over five seasons. Last year, Canha hit .303 with 20 home runs and 82 RBI at Triple-A New Orleans, adding a .505 slugging percentage. The A’s especially like his numbers against left-handed pitching.
As the roster stands, the left-handed hitting Ike Davis and the right-handed hitting Billy Butler figure to handle first base. But Canha could factor in there and also in left field, where Sam Fuld and Craig Gentry are the current options.
“The fact he played a handful of games at third base last year doesn’t hurt,” Forst said. “We see Billy playing a number of games at first from the right side, but the fact we can have him and Mark in the lineup against left-handed pitchers is nice.”
The A’s struck quickly at the winter meetings, trading first baseman Brandon Moss and right-hander Jeff Samardzija on Monday and Tuesday before slowing down. Moving forward from here, Forst echoed the comments of GM Billy Beane, saying the A’s will now shift their focus to trying to upgrade for the 2015 season.
“We've had some conversations and meetings the last few days, but obviously we sort of took a step back, and we’ll survey the landscape over the next couple of weeks,” Forst said. “We have the ability now to start making some additions -- we have the payroll flexibility to do it and spots we can upgrade on our club.”