Oakland A’s: Jake Lamb considered undervalued free agent
By David Hill
Jake Lamb may have done more to improve his stature in free agency during his month with the Oakland A’s than at any time in the past three years.
Back when Jake Lamb was an All Star in 2017, he appeared to be a key part of the Arizona Diamondbacks future. A power hitting third baseman, he had developed into a solid run producer, the type of player that Arizona could build around.
Then the injuries happened. Lamb appeared in a total of 134 games over the following two years, posting a .208/.315/.350 batting line in his 464 plate appearances. His power disappeared, as he had just 12 homers and 16 doubles in that time frame, making him almost unplayable.
He had seemingly reached his nadir last season. Lamb was reduced to a bench role and struggled even more, with just five hits and six walks in his 50 plate appearances before he was released. The A’s took a chance on him with Matt Chapman being lost for the season, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle.
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That decision worked out even better than the A’s or Lamb could have hoped for. In an admittedly small sample size of 49 plate appearances, he looked like his previous self. He belted four doubles and three homers, and while he certainly was not Chapman defensively, was an adequate replacement with the bat.
Lamb’s revitalization could make a difference in his free agency. He is now considered to be one of the more undervalued players on the market, an interesting statement given that he has really had just that brief surge of productivity.
Any interested team would be gambling that he is healthy once again. Chances are, he would be considered for a bench role, seeing time at both corner infield spots and occasionally being inserted in the lineup as a designated hitter if he remained in the AL. But there is hope that Lamb could surprise and become a bargain.
Jake Lamb found himself during his brief time with the Oakland A’s. If he can continue that level of production in 2021, he very well could be one of the biggest bargains in free agency.