SAN FRANCISCO -- When Corban Joseph arrived to the A's in the Minor League portion of the Rule 5 Draft in December, the move was seen as nothing more than providing organizational depth. But Joseph forced his way onto the club's radar with an impressive season at Triple-A Las Vegas, to the point where he'll now get a shot to contribute in the big leagues.
The A's selected Joseph's contract from the Minors just hours before Wednesday's game against the Giants. He was immediately inserted into the starting lineup, batting seventh and playing second base. Though he's had short-lived stints with the Yankees in 2013 and Orioles in 2018 with minimal playing time, Joseph is expected to get more of a look in the big leagues with Oakland.
"This is probably the best opportunity he's had in his career," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He was more a guy you look to help your Triple-A team out, but he's put himself in this position. Our organization is not afraid to promote guys who are doing well and give them an opportunity. That's the case with him."
This type of chance has been a long wait for Joseph, who at 30 years old has just 16 games in the Majors under his belt.
"I've gone up and down throughout my career," Joseph said. "I just keep grinding through these situations and put my best foot forward. Getting this opportunity as a 30-year-old is huge for me."
Joseph's first year in the A's organization appears to have been a sort of career rejuvenation. Batting near .400 for most of the year, he joins Oakland after slashing .371/.421/.585 with 13 home runs, 35 doubles and 73 RBIs in 97 games with Triple-A Las Vegas. A left-handed hitter, Joseph will get most of his playing time against righties, who he's mashed this year to the tune of a .386 average.
The numbers are eye-popping in pretty much every category, but what stood out for the A's is Joseph's ability to get on base at a high clip. He also rarely strikes out, with only 46 strikeouts in 383 at-bats. That puts him at a 10.1 strikeout rate, which is fourth-lowest among qualified Triple-A batters.
"We're just trying to do the best we can with the position and with a guy swinging a hot bat," Melvin said. "We'll take a look at him against right-handed pitching. When you have that kind of year, maybe not getting as much production at a position, you look somewhere else."
Joseph is thrust into a playoff push that currently finds the A's three games back of the Rays for the second American League Wild Card entering Wednesday, but the mindset does not change for the second baseman, who was also in the middle of a playoff race in Las Vegas.
"In Vegas, we were making a push for the playoffs," Joseph said. "Every game counts, and the little things could make or break a game. Just focusing on how I can contribute to help win a game."
In order to make room for Joseph on the active roster, outfielder Nick Martini was optioned to Triple-A. The A's also designated catcher Beau Taylor for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster, a move that was difficult for Melvin and the coaching staff, who were impressed with the way he worked with pitchers in his big league stints earlier this season.
"Very tough," Melvin said. "Hopefully he clears waivers. I've got my fingers crossed on that one."
When a player's contract is designated for assignment -- often abbreviated "DFA" -- that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster, and 25-man roster if he was on that as well. Within seven days of the transaction (it was previously 10 days), the player must either be traded, released or placed on irrevocable outright waivers.