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Oakland A’s DFA Brian Schlitter

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Also, Jharel Cotton was activated from the injured list, though he’s staying in the minors.

Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s designated reliever Brian Schlitter for assignment on Monday, the team announced. They also activated pitcher Jharel Cotton from the 60-day injured list, and then optioned him to Triple-A Las Vegas.

When the A’s acquired reliever Jake Diekman last weekend, they already had an open spot for him on their 40-man roster but needed to clear space on the 25-man squad. The odd man out proved to be Schlitter, who was out of minor league options and thus couldn’t merely be sent down to Vegas.

Instead Schlitter was DFA’d, and over the next week he’ll either be traded, claimed on waivers, released, or accept a non-roster assignment to the minors. Since the DFA also removes him from the 40-man roster, that opened space to reinstate Cotton.

The A’s signed Schlitter as a minor league free agent last winter, and he ended up getting the call in late June and pitching in six games in the majors. It was mostly mopup duty, but his final stats are decent enough.

Schlitter 2019: 3.72 ERA, 9⅔ ip, 6 Ks, 4 BB, 0 HR, 3.23 FIP

He lived up to his billing as a groundball specialist, keeping 61.3% of his batted balls on the dirt. For context, the MLB leader among qualified pitchers this year has a 58.3% grounder rate. Check out our player profile for more info on Schlitter.

As for Cotton, he began his rehab from Tommy John surgery in mid-May, but was quickly shut down to have hamstring surgery. He returned from that on July 9, pitched a game for High-A Stockton, and then appeared four times for Vegas. His Triple-A stats aren’t much to look at yet, with seven runs in 5⅓ innings, but his ratio of eight strikeouts to three walks is solid. He’ll stay in the minors for now, and if he does make it to Oakland this season then it will be as a reliever.

Analysis: The A’s sign a bunch of minor league free agents every year, and most of them are just depth that never makes it to the majors. Schlitter got that call, which makes him a success story in itself, and he did a perfectly fine job eating some innings while he was here. He’s not a late-inning option, but he’s a viable replacement-level MLB arm.

Extra note: On Sunday, the A’s also announced that they had released catcher Nick Hundley. He had been DFA’d on Thursday immediately after being activated from the injured list, which is why there was a 40-man roster spot open for Diekman.

Updated roster

Here is the 25-man roster at the end of Monday.

Oakland A's 25-man roster
Pitchers Hitters
Starters

Mike Fiers (R)
Brett Anderson (L)
Homer Bailey (R)
Chris Bassitt (R)
Daniel Mengden (R)

Relievers

Liam Hendriks (R)
Yusmeiro Petit (R)
Jake Diekman (L)
Joakim Soria (R)
Blake Treinen (R)
Lou Trivino (R)
Ryan Buchter (L)
Wei-Chung Wang (L)
Catchers

Chris Herrmann (L)
Josh Phegley (R)

Infielders

Matt Olson (L)
Jurickson Profar (S)
Marcus Semien (R)
Matt Chapman (R)
Franklin Barreto (R)

Outfielders

Khris Davis (R)
Ramon Laureano (R)
Mark Canha (R)
Robbie Grossman (S)
Chad Pinder (R)

10-day IL: OF Stephen Piscotty (knee)

60-day IL: RHP Marco Estrada (back), RHP Daniel Gossett (TJS), LHP Sean Manaea (shoulder)