OAKLAND -- By adding Jurickson Profar and Joakim Soria, the A's swept a doubleheader Friday in terms of filling personnel needs.
Profar, whom they acquired from the Texas Rangers in a three-team deal that also involved the Tampa Bay Rays, will become Oakland's primary second baseman. Profar also is competent at the other three infield positions, enabling the A's to improve their depth by acquiring a single player.
The same could be said of Soria, who agreed to a two-year contract worth $15 million to $15.5 million, according to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez. Soria has amassed 220 saves with six teams in an 11-year career. In 639 lifetime big league appearances, all in relief, Soria has proven that he can handle any pressurized bullpen role.
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Profar fills the void created by Jed Lowrie, who started 265 games at second base in the previous two seasons. Heralded as a top prospect during his Minor League career, Profar missed the 2014-15 seasons with a shoulder injury. Finally receiving a chance to play regularly in 2018 after regaining full health, Profar recorded a .254/.336/.458 slash line with 20 home runs and 77 RBIs.
"We feel like this is a guy who's just getting to what he's capable of," A's general manager David Forst said. "We feel like he's really ready to break out as one of the stars of the American League."
As a switch-hitter, Profar will maintain the offensive balance provided by Lowrie, also a switch-hitter. "We're certainly aware that we're very right-handed," Forst said.
Forst observed that the 25-year-old Profar will remain under contractual control for two more years, thus enhancing his value. Forst also indicated that obtaining Profar eliminates any chance of the A's re-signing Lowrie, who hit .267/.353/.448 with 23 home runs and 99 RBIs this season.
"Jed was huge," Forst said. "We've said it any number of ways -- what a great year he had in 2018, how important he was hitting in the middle of the lineup and really, him and Khris Davis, the three and four holes, being sort of the rock of that lineup. I cannot overstate how important Jed was to this team, and we certainly wish him nothing but the best as his career moves forward."
Given the departure of Jeurys Familia, who seized upon free agency to return to the New York Mets on a three-year, $30 million agreement, the A's sought another hard-throwing, assertive presence for the bullpen's back end. They received it by securing Soria, 34, who struck out 75 in 60 2/3 innings last year for the Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers.
Said Forst, "As I've said, we need to get 27 outs every night. We're going to have to find some creative ways to do that. Any time you can add a guy with Joakim's experience and his success to get some of those outs, we're going to give [manager] Bob [Melvin] a really great weapon to work with in the back of the bullpen."
Meanwhile, Oakland's search for able candidates to fill the rotation continues.
"There's no doubt there's still a need for starting pitching," Forst said.
To engineer the Profar deal, the A's sent Minor League infielder Eli White and international bonus slot cash to Texas, besides shipping right-hander Emilio Pagan and the A's Competitive Balance Round A pick in the 2019 Draft to Tampa Bay. The Rangers sent Minor League right-hander Rollie Lacy to the Rays, and Tampa Bay sent Minor League left-handers Kyle Bird and Brock Burke and Minor League right-hander Yoel Espinal to Texas.
"I will have to give the credit to Jon Daniels. He kind of played the middleman here," said Forst, referring to the Rangers' general manager. "We dealt almost exclusively with Texas on this and knew that they were working on something else on the back end. Jon deserves the credit for all the orchestrating."