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Braves sign Jake Lamb, last of the A’s free agents

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All 10 A’s free agents have now signed, including two back in Oakland

Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics
In like a lamb, out like a lion
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s entered the offseason with 10 free agents coming off their roster, and the last of them is now off the board.

The Atlanta Braves signed third baseman Jake Lamb to an MLB contract, report insider Mark Bowman and Joel Sherman of the NY Post. Terms of the deal haven’t yet been announced, and it’s still pending a physical before becoming official.

Lamb only played 13 games for the A’s, after a seven-year career with the D’Backs, but he made a big impact in Oakland down the stretch in 2020. Arizona released the former All-Star in September after a long-term slump, but he landed in the Bay Area as an emergency fill-in for an injured Matt Chapman and provided a strong offensive performance — plus the traditional Coliseum Tarp Catch on defense.

Less than a week ago, I advocated the idea of the A’s bringing back Lamb on a minor league deal to compete for the lefty DH job. But that was before they signed Mitch Moreland, who is a much safer bet for the role, and that addition ended any sense in a Lamb reunion. And anyway, it turns out the 30-year-old was able to command a major league commitment after all.

Here’s the final list of A’s free agents:

  • ***RHP Mike Fiers — RE-SIGNED (OAK, 1/$4m)
  • RHP Liam Hendriks (CHW, 3/$54m)
  • ***RHP Yusmeiro Petit — RE-SIGNED (OAK, 1/$3m)
  • RHP Joakim Soria (ARZ, 1/$4m)
  • LHP T.J. McFarland (WAS, minors deal)
  • LHP Mike Minor (KCR, 2/$18m)
  • 2B Tommy La Stella (SFG, 3/$19m)
  • SS Marcus Semien (TOR, 1/$18m)
  • 3B Jake Lamb (ATL, ?/$?m)
  • OF Robbie Grossman (DET, 2/$10m)

Of course, losing eight free agents isn’t as bad as it sounds. Minor and La Stella were trade deadline rental acquisitions whom you expect to lose after the season, and Lamb was a short-term injury fill-in for a player who is now healthy. Soria was replaced (Sergio Romo), and they upgraded on McFarland (Adam Kolarek). Grossman played well here but was no longer dirt cheap, and there are a ton of prospects ready to take over his LF role, plus Moreland as a new lefty DH bat so they don’t lose any lineup platoon balance.

That leaves Hendriks and Semien, the two big names. Hendriks was obviously priced out of their range, and they couldn’t and shouldn’t have matched what he got from the White Sox even in a normal winter; they found another star closer, Trevor Rosenthal, on a more modest one-year deal. Semien didn’t command a multi-year pact, making him more attainable than expected, but the A’s did a lot with $18 million, which is what he’ll earn from the Blue Jays.

Oakland lost eight free agents, but most of them either wouldn’t have made sense to bring back and/or were clearly too expensive to be worth it. And in addition to the two reliable and respected veterans the A’s kept in Fiers and Petit, they also added three new free agents to offset (or even improve on) those they said goodbye to, on top of a couple trade acquisitions.