Ka’ai Tom finds a new home with Pittsburgh Pirates

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA - MARCH 28: Ka'ai Tom #1 of the Oakland Athletics looks on before the MLB spring training game against the San Francisco Giants at Scottsdale Stadium on March 28, 2021 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA - MARCH 28: Ka'ai Tom #1 of the Oakland Athletics looks on before the MLB spring training game against the San Francisco Giants at Scottsdale Stadium on March 28, 2021 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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It did not take long for Ka’ai Tom to find a new home. He had been designated for assignment by the Oakland A’s, a victim of a roster crunch as there just was not enough room with Stephen Piscotty‘s return from the paternity list. As unlikely as it was, the A’s had been hoping to keep Tom in their system, provided other teams did not have an interest.

So much for those hopes. Tom has been given another chance in the majors, as he has been claimed by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Ka’ai Tom gets perfect opportunity with Pittsburgh Pirates

Tom was in a difficult place with the A’s. Even though there were openings in the outfield, Oakland expects to contend for not just the AL West title, but a berth in the World Series. Although he performed well in spring training, Tom needed to hit the ground running in order to have a viable opportunity.

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That just did not happen. He notched just one hit in his 16 plate appearances, striking out six times. With that lack of production, and Oakland’s lineup starting to get on track, Tom was seeing his opportunities dwindle. He made just three appearances since April 10, twice as a pinch hitter and once as a pinch runner.

The same pressure to immediately produce will not be there in Pittsburgh. The Pirates are in the midst of a complete rebuild and can afford to give Tom an extended opportunity to prove himself. His minor league track record showed an ability to make hard contact and above average performance, making him well worth a look in Pittsburgh.

Ironically, he is likely to split time with another former member of the A’s organization. Dustin Fowler had been paired in center with Anthony Alford, with neither producing much of anything. Alford was designated for assignment on Wednesday, providing an avenue for Tom to get playing time.

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Ka’ai Tom has found a new home with the Pittsburgh Pirates. This time, he should be able to get the opportunity to show what he can do.

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