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Oakland A’s sign catcher Cameron Rupp to minor league deal

More depth was needed to account for some injuries.

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s signed catcher Cameron Rupp to a minor league contract on Saturday, reports Andersen Pickard of MLB Daily Dish. He was assigned to Triple-A Las Vegas and made his debut for the Aviators that same day.

Rupp played parts of five seasons in the majors with the Phillies, from 2013-17. Since being released from Philadelphia, he bounced around to several other organizations, including the Giants this spring, before settling in the Tigers system to start 2019. He was released by the Tigers earlier this week, coincidentally right around when the A’s were visiting Detroit.

For his career, the 30-year-old has graded out slightly above replacement-level. His bat has been below-average overall but decent for a catcher, and he’s got some power as evidenced by his double-digit homer outputs in his two most recent seasons in 2016-17. Here is the right-hander’s career line, in 1,127 plate appearances:

Rupp, career: .234/.298/.407, 86 wRC+, 39 HR, 7.7% BB, 28.7% Ks

In Triple-A in 2018, he hit 15 homers with a 97 wRC+ in 86 games. Through 21 games for the Tigers Triple-A club this year, his wRC+ sat at 82. He went 1-for-3 with a double for Vegas on Saturday.

On defense, Baseball Prospectus has generally rated him below average but not terribly, except in 2017 when he was toward the bottom of the league. He’s thrown out 31% of attempted base stealers for his career.

The A’s were in need of some catching depth after losing a coupe key names to injury. With Chris Herrmann out of the MLB picture all year so far after knee surgery, and top prospect Sean Murphy now absent from the Triple-A lineup with a knee injury of his own, Rupp serves as righty veteran depth alongside lefty hitter Beau Taylor.

A’s catching depth

MLB

  • Josh Phegley
  • Nick Hundley
  • Chris Herrmann (injured, no timetable, but has resumed baseball activity)

AAA

  • Cameron Rupp
  • Beau Taylor (made MLB debut last year)
  • Sean Murphy (injured, at least thru June)

AA

  • Collin Theroux (San Mateo product)
  • Jonah Heim (No. 25 on our CPL)

A+

  • Jordan Devencenzi (Hayward product)
  • JJ Schwarz (2018 draft pick)

Excluded from the list is Robert Mullen, who moved from Single-A Beloit up to Double-A Midland when Theroux briefly moved up to Triple-A, and is still listed on Midland’s roster. He’s played a total of eight career games above Low-A Vermont.