The Athletics announced their signing of outfielder Billy McKinney to a minor league pact. The deal includes an invitation to Major League Spring Training. It’s the third type of signing for Oakland today, after a waiver claim of Sheldon Neuse and a blockbuster trade with the Blue Jays.
Now 27-years-old, McKinney had a dizzying 2021 season in which he suited up for three different teams. Between the Brewers, Mets, and the Dodgers, the left-handed hitter slashed .192/.280/.358. Only his 39-game stint with the Mets yielded positive offensive results (110 OPS+), but McKinney still provided plus defensive value at both outfield corners and first base for his 2021 employers.
McKinney netted one more employer in 2021, as an offseason deal between LA and Texas saw the Dodgers deal McKinney and fellow outfielder Zach Reks for cash. The Rangers held onto Reks but non-tendered McKinney a week later, pushing the latter into free agency and teeing him up for today’s reunion with the team that selected him 24th overall in the 2013 amateur draft.
Now that Oakland is in full fire sale mode, McKinney stands a reasonable chance at claiming a spot on the team’s bench, with a chance for more given the in-flux state of the roster. While he’s yet to find much consistency at the major league level, McKinney’s age, pedigree, and Triple-A success suggest there’s still upside to be had for both player and club.