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Oakland A’s claim catcher Dustin Garneau off waivers

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Some extra depth for a suddenly thin area of the roster.

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s claimed catcher Dustin Garneau off waivers from the Angels on Saturday, the team announced. To make room on the 40-man roster, reliever Ryan Dull was designated for assignment. To make room on the 25-man roster, fellow catcher Beau Taylor was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas.

The A’s have lost quite a bit of their catching depth recently. They released Nick Hundley last weekend, and then over the next couple days MLB starter Josh Phegley landed on the injured list and top Triple-A prospect Sean Murphy reinjured his surgically repaired knee.

In response, Oakland brought in some outside help. This marks a return to the organization for Garneau, who played 19 games for the A’s in 2017. He spent this season with the Angels, including 28 games in the bigs and another 26 in Triple-A, and had a particularly big moment against his new team earlier in the summer — on June 5, he drilled a walk-off double against Lou Trivino in a wild 10-9 victory. His numbers in 82 plate appearances:

Garneau, 2019: .232/.346/.362, 98 wRC+, 2 HR, 9.8% BB, 22.0% Ks

The high walk rate is probably his biggest strength at the plate, and down in Triple-A Salt Lake this year he had an 11.2% rate to go with a 109 wRC+ (and six homers in 98 PAs, because it’s the Pacific Coast League). He’ll turn 32 years old a week from Tuesday.

The A’s catching ranks now include Chris Herrmann and Garneau in the majors, with Taylor joining veteran Cameron Rupp in Triple-A. Garneau is a right-handed hitter, so he makes more sense than the lefty Taylor did as an emergency replacement for the injured Phegley (alongside the lefty Herrmann). Rupp is also a righty, but he hasn’t hit much in the extremely hitter-friendly PCL (83 wRC+). Murphy and fellow Triple-A prospect Jonah Heim are both hurt.

As for the 40-man roster, the odd man out is Dull. The right-hander was drafted by the A’s back in 2012 and debuted in the bigs in 2015, and then posted a phenomenal 2016 campaign in Oakland. However, he was unable to repeat that success in the three seasons since, with inconsistencies in his health, performance, and major league opportunities.

Dull, 2019: 12.00 ERA, 9 ip, 8 Ks, 4 BB, 4 HR, 8.88 FIP

His struggles extended down to the minors, too, where he posted a 5.45 ERA and 4.31 FIP in 30 games for Vegas. Over the next week, the 29-year-old will either be claimed on waivers, released, or accept a non-roster assignment to the minors.