SAN DIEGO -- On the final day of Winter Meetings, the A's may have found a solution to their quest for a left-handed bat.
Just before heading back to Oakland on Thursday morning, the club swung a deal with the Phillies, sending cash considerations for infielder Vimael Machin, who was taken by Philadelphia in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft. The 26-year-old left-handed hitter fits the mold of the type of player the A's were in search of with an ability to play multiple positions.
"We're trying to have as many options for [A's manager] Bob [Melvin] as we can going into Spring Training," A's general manager David Forst said. "This is exactly that kind of guy. Left-handed hitting and versatile. He's played a little bit of outfield but all four infield positions."
Machin was selected eighth by the Phillies in Thursday's Rule 5 Draft out of the Cubs organization, which drafted him in the 10th round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of Virginia Commonwealth University. He spent the majority of 2019 with Double-A Tennessee, and he hit .295 with seven home runs, 27 doubles, 65 RBIs and eight stolen bases over 129 games combined at Double-A and Triple-A Iowa.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Machin's overall game is his ability to get on base at a high rate, which the A's traditionally have emphasized. Machin got on base at a .390 clip last season and holds a career .358 on-base percentage over five Minor League seasons.
With the proposed rule change that would increase the active roster to 26 players, Machin could help create a bit more balance to a righty-heavy roster as its potential 26th man. His ability to play second base also could lead to a semi-platoon at the position, which is without a starter after Jurickson Profar was traded to the Padres on Dec. 2. That deal was officially completed on Thursday, when the A's acquired outfielder Buddy Reed from San Diego as the player to be named.
Staying busy in the Puerto Rican Winter League, Machin is batting .294 over 15 games with Criollos de Caguas. While he was technically a trade acquisition, Machin is still subject to the normal Rule 5 Draft guidelines and must stay on the big league roster for the entire season or be subject to waivers.
While the A's gained a player in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft, they also lost one in outfielder Mark Payton, who was picked sixth by the Reds. Payton put together a monster season at Triple-A Las Vegas in 2019, mashing 30 home runs with 97 RBIs and a 1.053 OPS. He also was a part of the United States national baseball team that attempted to qualify for the Olympics last month.
"Good for Mark. He had a fantastic year," Forst said. "He also played great on Team USA, so a number of scouts had seen him. I hope it's a good opportunity for him. Didn't want to lose him, but we knew it was a possibility."