Athletics Deal Jorge Mateo to Padres, Clearing Up Second Base Logjam

John Hickey

The crowded field at second base for the Oakland A’s just became a little less crowded.

The A’s have traded second baseman/shortstop Jorge Mateo to the San Diego Padres, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan and Kiley McDaniel, receiving a player to be named later in return.

With the 42-man group due to check into the Coliseum on Thursday and work out for the first time on Saturday, the A’s most undecided position was second base.

The breakdown:

--Tony Kemp, who was picked up in a deal with the Cubs. He’s a left-handed bat and is likely to get most of the at-bats at second base, at least in the early going.

--Franklin Barreto, who has been a longtime A’s prospect, who is right-handed and who is the likeliest of the A’s right-handers to get into a platoon with Kemp.

--Vimael Machin, picked up from the Phillies in December after Philadelphia had acquired him from the Chicago Cubs in the Rule 5 draft. He can play second, third and the outfield. Like Kemp, he’s left-handed.

--Chad Pinder, who has the most big-league experience and who played all four infield and all three outfield positions last year. Pinder, a right-hander, has hit at least 13 homers each of the last three seasons, and while the A’s could find regular work for him at second base, they like being able to put him hither and yon, depending on the need of the day.

That didn’t leave much in the way of playing time of Mateo, who was probably the fastest of the A’s. He hit .289 with 19 homers for Triple-A Las Vegas last year and in a brief stop in the Dominican Winter League averaged .263.

And he, like Barreto, is out of options, meaning the A’s stood to lose Mateo if they couldn’t find room for him on the 30-man roster come opening day.

The downside for the A's is that Mateo might have been their best defensive shortstop behind starter Marcus Semien. Since Semien tends to play every day, that's not a problem unless there's an injury or until next year, when Semien, who is a free agent, might be elsewhere.

For now, the backup shortstop are Barreto and Pinder.

Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3

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