Allen, who was in a heated battle for the backup catcher job before spring training was suspended, is highly likely to make the Opening Day roster, Melissa Lockard of The Athletic reports. Allen came into spring camp as the favorite over Jonah Heim to back up starter Sean Murphy, but Heim made it a much tighter battle than expected by hitting .320 across 12 Cactus League games. Impressive as those numbers were, Allen was even better while hitting .406 (13-for-32) with two home runs and 10 RBI. Consequently, it would have likely been a close call for manager Bob Melvin had the regular season unfolded under normal circumstances with teams limited to 26-man rosters, Saxon notes the fact there are now four extra slots to work with almost certainly serves to lock in spots for both young backstops, and the fact Allen is already on the 40-man roster only ups his chances of staying put when the regular season begins.
The backup catcher job battle between Allen and Jonah Heim seemed to be "at a standstill" when spring training was suspended, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reports. Allen, who arrived from the Padres in the Jurickson Profar trade this past offseason, made an outstanding case during Cactus League play with a .406 average (13-for-32), two doubles, two home runs, 10 RBI, two walks and six runs over 15 games. However, Heim, already lauded for his defensive skills, made a strong impression as well by hitting .320 (8-for-25) over his 12 exhibitions. Gallegos notes the battle will likely be decided during any ramp-up period to the regular season, with Allen's more consistent track record of minor-league offensive success potentially tipping the scales in his favor.
Allen, who's battling for a backup catcher job, is hitting .379 with two doubles, two home runs, nine RBI, two walks and six runs across his first 14 Cactus League games. The 26-year-old got his first taste of big-league regular-season action last season with the Padres, slashing .215/.282/.277 across 71 plate appearances over 34 games. Allen was then traded to the Athletics in January in the transaction that sent Jurickson Profar to San Diego, and the backstop is now battling promising prospect Jonah Heim for the right to serve as Sean Murphy's primary backup behind the dish. Heim has made a strong impression in his own right -- the 24-year-old is hitting .333 through 11 Cactus League contests -- so the job battle is one that could come down to the final days of spring training.
Allen and a player to be named later were traded to the Athletics from the Padres on Monday in exchange for Jurickson Profar, Jeff Passan of ESPN.com reports. Allen made his major-league debut for the Padres in 2019, where he hit .215/.282/.277 with three RBI and 21 strikeouts over 71 plate appearances. He'll provide organizational depth at catcher in 2020 behind Sean Murphy (knee) and Josh Phegley. This move is good for Allen's long-term prospects, as he is a bat-first catcher (career .844 OPS in the minors) who would benefit from the ability to get starts at designated hitter, although that may not be in the cards this season.
Allen was recalled from Triple-A El Paso on Friday. Allen will replace Francisco Mejia, who was sent to the injured list Friday with a right oblique strain. He's slashing .255/.327/.340 with four doubles and three RBI over 24 games this season in the majors.
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