Tonight, the A's have purchased the contract of 26-year-old 1B/3B Tommy Everidge from Triple-A Sacramento.
Get excited, A's fans.
If you haven't heard of Everidge, he was a 10th-round pick of the A's back in 2004.
After a middling pro debut, Everidge had a nice year in Low-A in 2005 (.279/.370/.482) considering the difficult offensive environment he was in.
He hit 20 homers in High-A in 2006, which was the first time I noticed the burly slugger. I noted him as a sleeper in the organization.
The A's didn't agree, and sent him back to High-A in 2007 despite the power display.
Twenty-four-year-old first basemen in High-A generally don't have futures, but Everidge did his best to show he was an exception to the rule, slugging 26 homers and hitting .258/.354/.469.
Finally, the A's gave the Sonoma State alumnus a brief look at Double-A to end the season, and he hit .361 in 10 games.
Still not believing, the A's left Everidge in Double-A Midland for all of 2008.
Everidge bashed 22 more homers and led the Texas League in RBI (115) en route to a .279/.346/.467 showing.
While a 25-year-old first baseman with an .813 OPS in Double-A usually doesn't warrant much attention, Everidge had one remarkable trait that leapt out at me.
He hit .364/.403/.727 against lefties. Translated to the majors from Double-A, that's a .295/.328/.580 line.
Granted, Everidge's MLE against righties was ghastly (.201/.256/.302), but on an offense-starved team like the A's, I felt he deserved a shot as a platoon 1B/3B/DH to open 2009.
Instead of giving Everidge a look, the A's went out and claimed Joe Dillon to fill the corner utility role, which was fair enough.
Then they made a really, really stupid move and signed Nomar Garciaparra.
Nomar isn't a better hitter or defender than Dillon or Everidge, and he has less upside. The only thing he's got more of is cost.
So instead of a battle between Daric Barton, Dillon, and Everidge to back up Jason Giambi and Eric Chavez, Oakland gave Nomar that role, sent Barton to Triple-A, and sent Everidge back to Double-A.
Billy Beane's made a lot of good moves in his tenure as GM, but few small-scale moves were as boneheaded as that one.
Everidge continued to work on playing third down in Double-A. He cut down on his strikeouts and improved his batting average, hitting .306/.380/.489 in 55 games.
Interestingly, he hit righties better than lefties, showing signs of being a possible everyday player.
Finally, after Dillon was traded to Tampa Bay and Garciaparra went down with an injury, Oakland moved Everidge to Triple-A.
At 26, he was finally one step from the majors.
Initially, Everidge struggled to adjust, and he had a terrible first week in Sacramento. It looked like he'd be sent down once an Oakland player came back from an injury and pushed someone down to Triple-A.
Before that could happen, however, Tommy Everidge's bat caught on fire.
Since that abysmal first week, Everidge has absolutely plastered the ball. He hit .359/.419/.590 in June. In July, he managed to actually improve on that, hitting .400/.443/.674.
In 43 Triple-A games, the only action Everidge has ever seen at that level, he's hit a whopping .382/.432/.636.
In his last 10 games, he's 21-for-39 with four doubles, two homers, six walks, and four strikeouts.
Finally, with Barton on the DL, Everidge is getting his first call to the majors, one he's deserved since April in my opinion.
So now that he's up, what will my favorite player bring to Oakland?
Like I mentioned before, Everidge crushes lefties (.310/.388/.576 career; .400/.442/.700 in Triple-A). That's his best skill.
For a slugger, Everidge makes excellent contact, and has only struck out 60 times in 98 games this season. He's also hitting .338.
Everidge draws a fair amount of walks, and projects to draw 60-80 in a full season of MLB playing time. He's not Adam Dunn or Jack Cust with selectivity, but his contact skills mean he doesn't have to be.
Everidge also brings a potent extra-base hit bat, as he has 33 doubles and 17 homers this year after topping the 20 HR mark in 2006, 2007, and 2008. He hits a lot of liners and deep fly balls, and excels at making hard contact.
Everidge projects as something of a .310/.380/.560 hitter against lefties and a .260/.330/.440 bat against righties.
What won't he bring to the A's?
As you can tell from the picture, Everidge isn't the sleekest-looking guy in the world. He offers little speed on the bases or in the field. Defensively, he makes plays on the balls he gets to, but he doesn't get to that many with his limited range.
Overall, he's a decent first baseman, and he can fill in at third but shouldn't see more than 40 games a season there.
Tommy Everidge will finally bring the A's a major-league caliber bat, and he'll be exciting to watch as the team begins to bring up some of its younger players. At worst, he becomes a lefty-mashing platoon 1B/3B, like Wes Helms. At best, he's the long-term answer at first, third, or DH.
Here's hoping he stays in Oakland longer than he stayed in High-A or Double-A.