By Jason Wojciechowski on April 23, 2012 at 3:25 PM
The A's picked up their third Australian player yesterday, claiming Luke Hughes off of waivers from the Twins. Hughes will apparently follow in the footsteps of Steve Tolleson, who was claimed by the A's from the Twins in 2010 before being traded to the Padres in May, 2011. (He was traded for a player to be named, but it's unclear who that player ended up being, if anybody.)
That's not entirely fair to Tolleson, though, as he's put up a .362 career OBP in over 1300 PAs in AAA. Hughes stands at .319 in 484 PAs and is just ten months younger. Hughes also hit poorly in his 317-PA trial in the bigs last year, going .223/.289/.338, which was three runs below replacement for his positions before considering defense. But now I've changed tacks to being unfair to Hughes, because this is a player who somehow got 30 starts at first base for Minnesota despite not being even closer to first-base level with the bat.
Still, that's a crap hitting line even if he were a stellar defensive catcher.
Of course, Hughes isn't on the A's to take playing time from Steve Tolleson. Here's here at the expense of Josh Donaldson, whose 3-for-32 (with nary a walk) start got him optioned to Sacramento. He's also potentially here at the expense of Eric Sogard, whose batting line is more eventful (four walks! A homer! A steal!), but in the end still just adds to a .265 OBP and .228 True Average (remembering that TAv is scaled to look like batting average, so that's pretty terrible) in 34 PAs.
PECOTA can't really distinguish any of these guys from the other (including Adam Rosales) in terms of their overall batting prowess, so really, the A's can do whatever the hell they want with third base in the absence of Scott Sizemore. Sure, they're nearly a .500 team right now, but Prospectus still has them with playoff odds under 2%, so shuffling through a bunch of guys who aspire to be league average with the bat on their very best days isn't anything you wouldn't expect the team to be doing.
As for the Dallas Braden part of this, the A's had to make a 40-man move in order to claim Hughes, so Braden hits the 60-day Disabled List. His effective date back when he was put on the List was March 24th. Unless I have a one-off error somewhere, he's eligible to return on May 23rd. That's a little less than a week after the anniversary of his surgery, and I don't think it provides any new information that we didn't already have when Braden had his setback a few weeks ago.