The A’s have found the left-handed bat they were in search of this offseason.
The club announced on Tuesday that it has completed a one-year deal with first baseman/designated hitter Mitch Moreland. To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, the A’s designated right-handed pitcher Paul Blackburn for assignment.
The left-handed-hitting Moreland brings some balance to an A’s offense that has been right-handed-heavy over the past two years. Though Moreland is a former Gold Glove Award winner at first base, the team already boasts a two-time Gold Glove first baseman in Matt Olson. The majority of Moreland’s playing time with the A’s is likely to come at the DH spot, where playing time was freed up after the departure of slugger Khris Davis in a five-player deal that netted Oakland Elvis Andrus earlier this month.
The A’s have first-hand knowledge of the dangerous bat Moreland possesses. In 95 career games against Oakland, Moreland is a .271 hitter with 22 home runs, 59 RBIs and an .859 OPS. The 22 homers are his most against a single club.
Moreland split time with the Red Sox and Padres last year, combining to slash .265/.342/.551 with 10 home runs and 29 RBIs in 42 games. Power is the 35-year-old’s biggest asset, as he’s hit 176 homers in 11 seasons and has reached at least 19 in a year five times in his career.
Heavily utilized in a platoon role over the past few years, Moreland could see that continue with the A’s in a combo with Mark Canha, who split time mostly at DH and in left field last season.