The Oakland A’s announced a few roster moves Wednesday afternoon, with another one expected before the next game on Friday. Most notably, Dustin Fowler was optioned down to Triple-A Nashville, though no one has yet been called up to take his place. In addition, outfielder Boog Powell was activated from the 60-day disabled list and optioned to Nashville, and to make room for him on the 40-man roster reliever Carlos Ramirez was designated for assignment.
It’s been a rough debut season for Fowler. The prize of the Sonny Gray trade started out decently enough this year, joining the team in May and contributing solid production along with a few big hits. In mid-May he even won a game against the Blue Jays mostly on his own. But recently he’d fallen into a dire slump, going 3-for-32 with no walks and 10 strikeouts and seeing his playing time taken by the unexpected breakout of Nick Martini. He’s also been shaky on defense in CF.
Fowler, 2018: .231/.260/.368, 69 wRC+, 6 HR, 3.6% BB, 22.4% Ks
None of this means the book is closed on the 23-year-old. He’s still got plenty of talent and will surely get more opportunities, but for now he’ll step aside as the A’s aim to capture a Wild Card and a postseason spot. It’s not yet clear who will take his place, but Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle opines that it could be red-hot outfield prospect Ramon Laureano. Here’s more on Laureano, who is already on the 40-man roster.
In other outfield news, Powell is finally back from the DL. He went on the shelf with a knee injury just a couple weeks into the season in early April, and he’s been out since. He would have been a candidate to replace Fowler if Boog hadn’t himself been optioned too. The 25-year-old was off to a slow start this year when he got hurt, but he was impressive in late-2017 after being acquired in an August trade. At worst he represents quality depth in the outfield — and as a lefty as well, which the A’s are short on right now in the absence of the injured Matt Joyce.
Powell, 2018: 4-for-24, 1 double, 1 triple, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 1-for-2 SB
To make room on the 40-man, Ramirez was DFA’d. He was picked up on waivers from the Blue Jays (while the A’s were in Toronto in May), and now he’s cut right as the A’s finish their other series against the Blue Jays. Despite a hugely promising 2017 campaign, the right-hander just never found the same success this summer in any franchise. For the A’s, he only made it into three MLB games and was mediocre at best in Triple-A.
Ramirez, 2018 AAA: 4.88 ERA, 24 ip, 23 Ks, 12 BB, 3 HR, 5.35 FIP
We’ll find out in the next week or two if Ramirez stays in the organization or is claimed by someone else.