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A’s Acquire Kila Ka’aihue

September 27, 2011


When I saw Kila Ka’aihue designated for assignment, I felt that it would be a reasonable move for Oakland to try and acquire him. I didn’t mention it though and I wish I had because it’d make me look quite prophetic today as the A’s sent Ethan Hollingsworth to the Royals to acquire the first baseman. Ka’aihue fits a profile of players the A’s have targeted recently as very well explained in this great post on Athletics Nation. While Ka’aihue hasn’t been blocked necessarily himself, he has put up monster Triple-A numbers (.281/.412/.497) that haven’t translated in the Majors (.216/.309/.375). Ka’aihue wasn’t necessary for the Royals anymore with the emergence of Eric Hosmer at first and Billy Butler locking him at designated hitter.

The A’s send over Ethan Hollingsworth who they acquired from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Clayton Mortensen this past January so Ka’aihue enters the fray now as one of the vestiges of the Matt Holliday debacle.  Hollingsworth spent most of 2011 with the Midland Rockhounds putting up a 3.61 ERA with a 3.70 FIP in 17 appearances, 16 of them starts with 6.3 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9. In two starts with Triple-A Sacramento he managed a 5.06 ERA and 5.45 FIP in 10 2/3 innings.

Ka’aihue split 2011 between Kansas City and Omaha. He was worth -0.1 WAR for the Royals while posting a .195/.295/.317 slash line with two home runs in 96 plate appearances featuring a solid 12.5% BB% and not as hot 27.1% K%. In Omaha, his slash line was a more robust .272/.379/.433, with 11 home runs over 388 plate appearances with a great 14.7% BB% and still high 20.9% K%. The acquisition of Ka’aihue to me makes it look less likely the A’s go after Hideki Matsui as this creates more of a 1B/DH logjam with the likes of Brandon Allen, Daric Barton, Chris Carter and now Ka’aihue.

To make room on the full 40-man roster, Joey Devine was added to the active roster and then placed on the 60-day disabled list.

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