Feeling they have an even better one on the way, the Diamondbacks traded their starting first baseman to the A’s for a setup man on Sunday. The three-player deal sent Brad Ziegler to Arizona in return for Brandon Allen and left-hander Jordan Norberto.
Allen had three homers and seven RBI in 29 at-bats since his callup earlier this month, but he was hitting just .172, leaving him with a .213/.325/.404 line in 178 at-bats with the Diamondbacks over the last three years. He’s not a surprising A’s target, in that his game is much more about power and walks than batting average. Unfortunately, he does strike out a lot and he may fall short of being a quality regular as a result.
The move opens up first base in Arizona for Paul Goldschmidt. The Diamondbacks debated long and hard whether to try Allen or Goldschmidt at first base when they decided to give up on Juan Miranda. Allen was having a fine season in Triple-A, but Goldschmidt was simply dominant in Double-A, hitting .306/.435/.626 with 30 homers and 94 RBI in 366 at-bats. A right-handed hitter, he’ll probably take over as an everyday player for the Diamondbacks. They had been platooning the right-handed-hitting Xavier Nady with the lefty-swinging Allen.
The Diamondbacks also sent Norberto to Oakland. The 24-year-old reliever made 33 appearances for Arizona last year, amassing a 5.85 ERA in 20 innings, but he had spent all of this season in Triple-A and had a 4.25 ERA and a 54/26 K/BB ratio in 48 2/3 innings.
In return, GM Kevin Towers gets Arizona the setup man he believed the team needed to help David Hernandez in front of J.J. Putz. Ziegler is very vulnerable to left-handed hitters with his sidearm delivery, but he shuts down right-handers about as well as anyone and he’s yet to allow a homer in 37 2/3 innings this season. He has a career 2.49 ERA in four seasons since debuting in 2008, and he’s under control through 2014.