The Oakland A's made their first player acquisition of the new off-season, claiming outfielder Andrew Lambo off of waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Lambo had been removed from the Pirates' 40-man roster recently after he was activated from the team's 60-day disabled list.
Lambo joins the A's after a frustrating season that saw him miss most of the year dealing with plantar fasciitis. He appeared in just 20 games for the Pirates and collected 25 at-bats before landing on the disabled list on May 6. He attempted to get back on the field several times during the year, but his foot never was healthy enough for him to return to regular season action. Lambo is now healthy enough to be playing in the Dominican Winter League, where he is playing for the Gigantes del Cibao.
Lambo has major-league experience over parts of the past three seasons, but he has only 94 career major-league at-bats. He has a .191 career major-league average. More than a third of his career at-bats (39) have come as a pinch-hitter.
The Southern California native was a fourth-round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2007. He got his career off to a running start by hitting .343 in the Gulf Coast League that season. In 2010, Lambo was suspended in May after a second positive test for a drug of abuse. Later that season, Lambo was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates along with James McDonald in a deal that sent reliever Octavio Dotel to LA.
Lambo struggled in 2011 and was limited to just 35 games in 2012 thanks to a right wrist injury. His breakthrough season came in 2013. That year he hit .282/.347/.574 with 32 homers in 120 games split between Double-A and Triple-A. Lambo made his major-league debut that season and hit his only MLB homerun to date.
The injury bug bit Lambo again in 2014 when a right thumb injury cost him nearly two months. He had a big year at the plate when he was healthy, however, batting .328/.389/.563 with 11 homers in 61 games for Triple-A Indianapolis. He appeared in 29 games for the Pirates in 2014. Lambo made the Pirates' Opening Day roster for the first time last season before the foot injury cut his season short.
Although Lambo has played some first base in the minor leagues, his best position defensively is in the corner outfield. His power is his biggest asset. He strikes out a decent amount (627 times in 741 minor league games) and doesn't walk a ton (271), but he can hit for average (.280 career mark). Over his last two minor league seasons, he hit both righties and lefties well. Lambo has one option year remaining, meaning the A's won't have to expose him to waivers if he isn't on the 25-man roster.