The Oakland Athletics called up eight players Tuesday, the first day active rosters may be expanded to up to 40 players. They are:
- Catcher: Carson Blair
- Outfielder: Jason Pridie
- Utility: Tyler Ladendorf
- Starter: RHP Cody Martin
- Relievers: RHP Ryan Dull, RHP R.J. Alvarez, RHP Arnold Leon, RHP Dan Otero
The additions of Blair, Pridie, and Dull to the 40-man roster were offset by (1) transferring pitcher Jesse Hahn from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list, (2) transferring A.J. Griffin from the minor league disabled list to the major league 60-day disabled list, and (3) outrighting reliever Angel Castro, who cleared waivers.
It's an interesting choice to put A.J. Griffin on the 60-day disabled list, as it may indicate the A's think Kendall Graveman could return before the end of September. The A's could have simply transferred Graveman to the 60-day disabled list if they did not think that would be the case.
The position players added
Carson Blair, 25, becomes Oakland's third catcher in a year where neither Stephen Vogt nor Josh Phegley needed time on the disabled list, a marked change from last year when Oakland barely got through the Wild Card Game with four major league ready catchers. Blair joined the club on a minor league deal after seven seasons in the Boston Red Sox organization. He started the year hitting .272/.389/.509 in Double-A Midland in 55 games before his promotion to Triple-A Nashville. With Nashville, he hit .221/.280/.327 in 33 games.
Jason Pridie, 31, also joined the A's on a minor league deal last offseason. Pridie has since enjoyed his best career year in Triple-A, hitting .310/.380/.515. His .894 OPS ranks 18th in the Pacific Coast League (min. 136 ABs). The left-handed batter should have some opportunities to play when Coco Crisp needs time off.
Tyler Ladendorf, 27, returns to the A's after making the Opening Day roster. He played four games, going 2-for-10 and drawing a walk. One of those hits was a triple. Ladendorf went through ankle surgery that kept him out of action between April 20 and August 8. In Triple-A this season, Ladendorf hit .265/.311/.349 in 90 plate appearances over 20 games. The right-handed batting Ladendorf can be used all over the diamond, so look for him to get a number of pinch hitting appearances against left-handers and occasional starts.
The pitchers added
The A's announced yesterday that Cody Martin, 26, would start Tuesday's game in place of Chris Bassitt, who is dealing with right shoulder soreness. The A's acquired Martin for an international bonus slot in early July from the Atlanta Braves, when he had a 2.10 ERA in 34⅓ innings for Triple-A Gwinnett. His fortunes have fallen since joining the Nashville Sounds, however, where he owns 5.33 ERA in 10 starts over 54 innings. He has struck out 51 and walked 30 in Nashville. Martin started the year pitching in relief for the Braves, making 21 appearances and finishing with a 5.40 ERA while striking out 24 and walking seven. Tuesday's game will be his first career major league start.
Ryan Dull, 25, has been a delightful surprise in Double-A and Triple-A this year. Drafted in the 32nd round out of UNC Asheville, Dull this year owns a 0.60 ERA in Midland over 45 innings, resulting in his promotion to Nashville. In 16 Triple-A innings, the right-handed Dull owns a 1.12 ERA with 21 strikeouts and just three walks. Here's a fun stat, Dull hasn't thrown a wild pitch this year.
R.J. Alvarez, 24, makes his fourth appearance on the big league club this year. Alvarez owns a 12.54 ERA in the major leagues, and 6 of his 13 earned runs come from an April 21 appearance where he was asked to throw 48 pitches due to a severely short bullpen staff on that date, which was also the first of two games Ike Davis pitched in relief. With Triple-A Nashville, Alvarez owns a 4.11 ERA with 41 strikeouts and 17 walks in 35 innings.
Arnold Leon, turning 27 on Sunday, makes his sixth trip from Triple-A to MLB this year. This year was his first season appearing in the major leagues, and he has a 5.68 ERA in 12⅔ innings, striking out 14 and walking just two but allowing two home runs. With Triple-A Nashville, he has a 2.95 ERA over 58 innings, striking out 55 and walking 19.
This will be Dan Otero's fifth stint with the major league club this year. Otero was famously stingy with giving up the long ball at the start of his career, allowing none in the first 63⅔ innings of his major league career. The 30-year-old has allowed five home runs in 34 innings, contributing to his 7.68 major league ERA this season. Otero enjoyed far more success in Triple-A Nashville, with a 1.95 ERA in 27⅔ innings, striking out 19 and walking four.
The players not added
There are still seven games remaining in the Nashville Sounds schedule, and with Midland in the Texas League playoffs and Stockton competing for a California League playoff berth, the A's will need to leave some players on the Nashville roster to avoid too much disruption at the lower levels.
Max Muncy is required to stay behind because he was optioned to Triple-A on August 29 to let Aaron Brooks start on Saturday. He cannot be recalled until 10 days elapse or the end of his team's minor league season, which happens to be 10 days after August 29.
Joey Wendle was named the All-PCL second baseman, but that only reflects how weak second base was in the PCL this year. Wendle might have been given the award because he has the most plate appearances at the position, hitting .287/.320/.430 in 586 plate appearances. Wendle will need to be added to the 40-man roster before next December's Rule 5 draft, but the A's probably want to give Brett Lawrie more time to get reaccustomed to second base.
Rangel Ravelo stays in Nashville. He started the year late due to wrist surgery and has only played 53 games this year, 22 in Triple-A. He's hitting well in Nashville with a .312/.360/.429 batting line. The A's seem set at first base for now, however, with Mark Canha, Stephen Vogt, and even Billy Butler able to take the position. I would think the A's want to give Canha as much playing time as possible.
That Jason Pridie's contract was selected over Craig Gentry should indicate how far Gentry's star has fallen. In Nashville, Gentry is hitting just .251/.320/.319. I expect he gets non-tendered this offseason.
Sean Nolin is still stretching out after his most recent trip to the minor league disabled list. He made four starts in August, and most recently threw 76 pitches over 4⅔ innings on Monday, allowing just one hit while striking out six and walking none. The A's could call him up after Nashville's season ends.
Finally, Barry Zito is still on the minor league disabled list with a shoulder issue.