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Report: Athletics acquire La Stella from Angels for Barreto

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Oakland Athletics acquired infielder 2019 All-Star infielder Tommy La Stella from the Los Angeles Angels for infielder Franklin Barreto on Friday night.

La Stella has a $3.25 million, one-year contract that pays $1,203,704 prorated with the Angels, who acquired him from the Chicago Cubs in November 2018. He is batting .273 with four homers and 14 RBIs this season while playing second base and first base for struggling Los Angeles, which began Friday in last place in the American League.

The trade adds another potent veteran bat to the AL West-leading A’s, along with depth and versatility at key infield positions. La Stella also was an exceptional pinch-hitter for the Chicago Cubs before emerging as an everyday player with Los Angeles, and that skill could be valuable once again in a postseason run.

“Oakland is getting themselves a championship-caliber player and one that’s going to be able to help them as they make their push,” Angels general manager Billy Eppler said. “Tommy was a well-thought-of teammate, somebody that cared and somebody that was consistent, showing up with the same demeanor in good times or not. We’ll miss him for that.”

La Stella became a first-time All-Star at 30 last season with the Angels after a career spent mostly as a pinch-hitting specialist with the Cubs. He didn’t get to play in the All-Star Game because he broke his leg on a foul ball shortly after being selected, but he fought to return to the Angels’ lineup late in the season.

La Stella batted .295 with 16 homers and 44 RBIs in just 80 games last season for the Halos.

Joe Maddon, his manager with the Cubs and the Angels, nicknamed La Stella “3 a.m.” because of his belief that La Stella could be awakened from bed in the middle of the night and immediately begin hitting line drives.

Barreto has barely played recently for the A’s, with the former elite prospect struggling to be consistent in the majors. He is only 0 for 10 at the plate this season with Tony Kemp playing almost every day at second base, although Barreto remains a solid defensive player.

“He’s a young kid that has a lot of good years ahead of him and hopefully can bridge that gap between potential and production in the major leagues,” Eppler said.

Barreto has a $568,500, one-year contract that pays $210,556 prorated. He could be eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2021 season.

Barreto doesn’t have a clear role this season with the Angels, who already have budding star David Fletcher playing every day at second base after shortstop Andrelton Simmons‘ return from a sprained ankle. Luis Rengifo backs up at both spots, although he was optioned to the Angels’ alternate training site in Long Beach earlier Friday.

But Eppler was thinking to next year with the deal. Simmons also will be a free agent this winter, and the four-time Gold Glove winner is another obvious trade candidate in the Angels’ disappointing season.

“I like the fact that (Barreto) can play a lot of different positions — second, third short ,even the outfield,” Eppler said. “That’s an advantage for our roster, not only now but moving forward as we look to 2021.”

Dodgers clinch NL’s top seed, West title with win over A’s

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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Wrapping up an NL West title has become routine for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but in a year in which no one was sure three months ago if there would be a baseball season, manager Dave Roberts wanted his team to still savor the moment.

The Dodgers clinched the NL’s top postseason seed and eighth straight division title Tuesday night with a 7-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics. They are third team to win at least eight straight division titles, joining the Atlanta Braves (14 straight from 1991-2005) and New York Yankees (nine straight from 1998-2006).

“To fast forward a couple months and be crowned NL West champs is a credit to everyone. It should never be taken for granted,” Roberts said. “Truth be told a lot of guys didn’t know we could clinch. We were responsible but I let it know that it has to be appreciated.”

The Dodgers, who own the best record in the majors at 39-16, were the first team in the majors to clinch a playoff berth on Sept. 16. They will open postseason play on Sept. 30 by hosting every game in a best-of-three series against the No. 8 seed.

Los Angeles came into the day with a magic number of two and got help with the Angels’ 4-2 victory over the San Diego Padres.

Instead of a wild celebration on the mound after Jake McGee struck out Sean Murphy for the final out, players briskly walked out of the dugout to celebrate with teammates. Everyone grabbed a division clinching shirt and cap before heading to the mound for a group photo.

The clubhouse celebration was also muted. Champagne was still involved, but it was players toasting each other with a glass instead of being showered in it.

“We talked about it instead of dumping stuff on people. It’s a moment you need to celebrate and we did,” said Corey Seager, who had three hits and one of Los Angeles’ four home runs, “It stinks not being able to do champagne and beer showers because some of the younger guys haven’t been able to experience that.”

Max Muncy, Chris Taylor and AJ Pollock also went deep for Los Angeles, which leads the majors with 104 home runs.

“This whole year has been weird. There’s no other way to describe it,” Muncy said. “It’s sad not to be celebrate as usual but we know there is a lot more at stake.”

Dustin May (2-1) went five innings and allowed two runs on three hits. The 22-year-old red-headed righty set a team record by not allowing more than three earned runs in his first 13 career starts, which include 10 this season.

Robbie Grossman homered for Oakland, which clinched its first AL West crown in seven years on Monday during a day off. The Athletics, in the postseason for the third straight year, currently are the AL’s No. 3 seed.

Mark Canha had two of Oakland’s five hits.

Seager tied it at 1 in the first with an RBI single and then led off the fifth with a drive to center off T.J. McFarland to extend LA’s lead to 6-2.

Muncy gave the Dodgers a 3-2 lead in the third inning with a two-run homer. Taylor and Pollock extended it with solo shots in the fourth off Oakland starter Frankie Montas (3-5).

Grossman quickly gave Oakland a 1-0 lead when he homered off the left-field pole in the first inning. Sean Murphy briefly gave the Athletics a 2-1 advantage when he led off the third with a walk and scored on a wild pitch by May with two outs.

Montas, who allowed only four home runs in his first seven starts, has given up six in his past three. The right-hander went four innings and yielded five runs on seven hits with a walk and three strikeouts.

“They’re a pretty good team that when you make mistakes, they make you pay,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “They’re pretty good laying off and making you throw it over the plate. They made Montas pay, unfortunately.”

Cody Bellinger added two hits for the Dodgers, including an RBI single with the bases loaded in the seventh.

ATHLETICS ADVANCE

The A’s have a team text thread they used to celebrate clinching their first AL West title since 2013 during their off day Monday, when the Mariners beat Houston.

“We didn’t really celebrate too much yet. It’s exciting,” Chad Pinder said. “We wanted to do it on our own terms. We still won the division and that was our goal. It’s nice to know we’ll be playing home for the series.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Athletics: INF/OF Pinder (strained right hamstring) planned to run at Dodger Stadium and test his leg with hopes of still playing before the conclusion of the regular season. …. RHP Daniel Mengden has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Las Vegas. He was designated for assignment after being medically cleared and reinstated from the COVID-19 injured list following a positive test from Aug. 28.

Dodgers: 3B Justin Turner was scratched from the lineup less than an hour before first pitch due to left hamstring discomfort He came off the injured list on Sept. 15 and has not played in the field since Aug. 28. … Joc Pederson was in the lineup at DH after missing five games while on the family emergency medical list. Roberts said before the game that he wasn’t sure if Pederson will remain with the team during the entire postseason.

UP NEXT

Athletics: LHP Sean Manaea (4-3, 4.50) is 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA over his last five starts dating to Aug. 20.

Dodgers: LHP Julio Urias (3-0, 3.49) will make his team-leading 11th start.

AP Baseball Writer Janie McCauley in San Francisco contributed to this story.

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