The Oakland Athletics have announced that they’ve claimed Andrew Lambo off waivers from the Pirates. Lambo was on the 60-day disabled list, and needed to be added back to the 40-man roster today, or be placed through waivers. The Pirates obviously opted for the latter route, and unlike Brandon Cumpton and Casey Sadler, Lambo didn’t clear.
Lambo missed most of the 2015 season with plantar fasciitis. He does have one option remaining, but the Pirates also have a need for roster spots this off-season, which is probably why they tried to sneak him through.
This has the feel of potentially being a Brandon Moss 2.0 situation. Moss was acquired by the Pirates in the 2008 Jason Bay trade, and was given a shot to be a starter in Pittsburgh due to his raw power. That power never showed up in the majors, but did appear in Triple-A in 2010. He bounced around a bit before ending up in Oakland, where he broke out in 2012 with a .291/.358/.596 line in 265 at-bats.
I don’t know if Lambo will have the same success, but the back story is similar. He was acquired as a former top prospect in all of baseball who had seen his stock drop. He finally turned his raw power into actual power in 2013, combining for 32 home runs and a .282/.347/.574 line between Altoona and Indianapolis.
Lambo never really got a shot in Pittsburgh, although that wasn’t entirely the fault of the Pirates. They sent him to Triple-A at the start of the 2014 season after a bad Spring Training. He put up similar numbers to 2013, but suffered an injury when it came time to potentially call him up. They added him to the roster as a bench option at the start of the 2015 season, but his injury put him out for most of the season after struggling for the first few weeks.
The comparison here is that Lambo finally showed his power in Triple-A, but the Pirates never really got a look at what he could do with that power in the majors. Oakland benefitted from the situation with Moss, and saw him break out. That doesn’t mean Lambo will also break out with them, but it will be interesting to see what he can do if he stays healthy and gets another shot at the majors.