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.
Manny Ramirez is eligible to return from his 50-game suspension on May 30, but manager Bob Melvin indicated yesterday that the A’s aren’t committed to adding him then unless he actually starts hitting in the minors first.
Ramirez is currently on a 10-game rehab stint at Triple-A, but so far the 39-year-old hasn’t shown many signs of life by going 3-for-12 (.250) with zero extra-base hits in four games and he also sat out a game with wrist soreness.
Melvin told Jane Lee of MLB.com that the A’s would like to see Ramirez get around 40 at-bats in the minors before making a decision on his status, adding: “We’re not locked into the 30th.”
If/when Ramirez does join the A’s it will be as a designated hitter and their DHs have combined to bat just .209 with three homers and a .639 OPS this season, so in theory at least there should be plenty of room for him in the lineup instead of Daric Barton or Kila Ka’aihue.
In practice, however, Ramirez sat out essentially all of last season and hasn’t been productive since mid-2010, so whether or not he can still be an impact bat is definitely unclear. The return date for his suspension is just part of the equation.
Joel Peralta got one out as the Rays beat the A’s 7-2 on Friday. In this case, that was good enough to get him a save.
Peralta qualified for the save since the tying run was on deck as he entered. Brandon Gomes gave up a leadoff homer to Cliff Pennington in a 7-1 game to start the ninth and then allowed a single, hit a batter and walked another in the process of recording two outs. Peralta entered with the bases loaded and got Kila Ka’aihue, a .229 career hitter, to ground out to first to end the game.
Between Peralta and Fernando Rodney, the Rays have 11 saves this season, but four of them have been of the one- or two-out variety. In just two of the saves has the reliever protected a one-run lead for one or more innings.