We’re a week away from Grapefruit League action starting, but the Braves aren’t quite done adding to their roster, it appears:
The Braves are attempting to complete a deal with Jake Lamb. Lamb hit 30 homers during a 2017 All-Star season with the D-backs. But the corner infielder has totaled just 165 games while battling injuries over the past three seasons.— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) February 21, 2021
Per a source, the Braves are in agreement with Jake Lamb. The deal is pending a physical.— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) February 21, 2021
A sixth-round draft pick back in 2012, Lamb established himself as a regular in Arizona between 2015-2017, when he put up 6.3 fWAR in 1,619 PAs (2.3 fWAR/600), giving his team good pop (65 homers). His defense was not ideal (really really negative marks in 2016 and 2017 despite great ones in 2015), but it wasn’t enough to nudge him down from an average regular.
However, injuries and underwhelming performance really hampered his career after 2017. In 2018, his defense rebounded to average but his bat took a step back, and shoulder injury knocked him out for part of the year. In 2019, an early quad strain and xwOBA underperformance (.297 wOBA, .346 xwOBA) made him tally replacement-level production. Last season, he started with 50 terrible PAs and was DFAed, but was quickly snapped up by the Athletics, where he contributed 50 great PAs to finish the season. However, he still finished the “year” with a 77 wRC+ and -0.2 fWAR in 99 PAs.
Once Lamb’s signing is official, Lamb could serve as a left-handed pinch-hit option (provided he makes the roster). He also represents a handcuff of sorts to Austin Riley at third base, though he’s projected to be more of a bench player and things would have to go south for Riley for Lamb to pose as a better option. Still, worth a look if nothing else.