The Oakland Athletics have claimed left-handed batting corner outfielder Andrew Lambo, 27, from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Lambo was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 4th round of the 2007 draft and traded to the Pirates in 2010 with James McDonald for Octavio Dotel and cash considerations. He played in just 19 games in 2015 before going on the disabled list with plantar fasciitis in his left foot and suffered several setbacks, preventing his return. He is currently playing in the Dominican Winter League.
Lambo does bring an interesting minor league record forward in 2014 In Triple-A that year, he hit .328/.389/.563 in 262 plate appearances (a 160 wRC+ according to his FanGraphs page). Some recent statistics, courtesy Baseball Reference:
|Andrew Lambo 2012-15, sorted by level|
Lambo erupted for a power explosion in 2013, when he hit 32 minor league home runs. He hit another 11 in just 61 minor league games in 2014. His brief career in the major leagues amounts to a .191/.232/.298 in 99 plate appearances, however.
But still, a Pittsburgh Pirates castoff that showed very interesting power numbers in the minor leagues that never quite put it together in limited major league opportunities and even played a little first base in the minors? This story sounds oddly familiar.
Lambo does have a bit of an injury history beyond 2015 and a "drug of abuse" (not a performance enhancing drug) 50-game minor league suspension in 2010 that has not resurfaced. In 2012, he missed most of the season with a wrist injury. In 2014, he lost over two months with a thumb injury that required surgery.
Lambo only used an option year in 2014, so he has two of them left. In 2013, he spent just 10 days on optional assignment and in 2015 he effectively spent the entire year on the disabled list. Lambo will have just over a year of service time entering 2016 as a result of his stay on the disabled list.
Lambo joins the competition in left field this spring with Lambo, Mark Canha, Coco Crisp, Jake Smolinski, Sam Fuld, Craig Gentry, and Tyler Ladendorf currently rostered players that could play at the position. Fuld and Gentry may be non-tendered prior to the Winter Meetings. One possibility for Lambo includes being the heavy side of a platoon; over 532 minor league games, Lambo owns a .867 OPS against right-handed pitching as opposed to a .773 against left-handers.