MLB.com’s William Ladson reports that the Nationals have signed first baseman Kila Ka’aihue to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.
Ka’aihue, 30, has spent the last two seasons with the Hiroshima Carp in the Japan Central League. In 600 plate appearances, he hit .258./.358./.443 with 25 home runs and 85 RBI. Ka’aihue was taken in the 15th round of the 2002 draft by the Royals and remained in the organization through 2011 before moving on to the Athletics and Royals.
The Oakland Athletics designated Kila Ka’aihue for assignment before yesterday’s game and called up Brandon Moss. Oakland A’s players told Susan Slusser, however, that they weren’t happy with the timing of the move. Why? Because Ka’aihue’s wife is due to give birth to twins any day:
“Everyone is in shock,” one player said.
“Total horse” manure, said another.
I suppose that sucks. But it’s also the case that if they had waited a week or even a month then the story would have been “A’s DFA Ka’aihue right after his twins were born!” It’s not possible for there to be good timing for this.
It’s also worth noting that Ka’aihue has never played more than 52 games or had more than 180 major league at bats in a season, so when he and the missus set out to start their family, it probably wasn’t reasonable for him to expect that he was going to spend six months in the majors.
Now, we can argue over whether Brandon Moss is actually an upgrade, but twins on the way has no bearing on that.
The Athletics made a pair of roster moves this morning, activating right-hander Brandon McCarthy from the 15-day disabled list while demoting first baseman Daric Barton to Triple-A Sacramento.
McCarthy hasn’t pitched since May 17 due to a strained right shoulder. The 28-year-old has battled shoulder problems at various points during his career, but he managed to make it back in the minimum 15 days and will start this afternoon against the Royals.
After reinventing himself last season while posting a surprising 3.32 ERA across 25 starts, McCarthy has an excellent 2.95 ERA and 40/16 K/BB ratio in nine starts this year. He has averaged just 1.61 BB/9 since the start of last season, which is fifth-lowest among starters with at least 200 innings pitched.
As for Barton, he has really struggled in his first season back from surgery to repair a torn labrum in right shoulder, batting just .198/.325/.283 with one homer and a .608 OPS in 126 plate appearances. The 26-year-old appeared to be a useful piece for the A’s after leading the American League in walks back in 2010, but he has a lousy .208/.325/.272 batting line since. Kila Ka’aihue will handle starting first base duties for now.