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Oakland A’s trade Mark Payton back to Reds

Outfielder’s third trip between the two teams in the last 8 months

Cincinnati Reds Summer Workouts
It’s gotten so confusing that Payton’s uniform has blended into an A’s/Reds hybrid.
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Just call him Mark Rosales.

The Oakland A’s traded Mark Payton to the Cincinnati Reds on Friday, marking the minor league outfielder’s third trip between the two clubs in less than a year. In return, the A’s will receive either a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Payton spent the 2019 season in Oakland’s farm system, enjoying a breakout year at the plate for Triple-A Las Vegas. His success drew him attention in the Rule 5 draft in December, and the Reds selected him with their pick, meaning he would need to make their Opening Day roster and stay on the active MLB club all season. However, there wasn’t room for him in Cincinnati after all, and the Reds returned him to the A’s in July.

Now he’s headed back to Cincy, again. That means he’s gone from Oakland, to Cincy, back to Oakland, and back to Cincy, all in the last eight months. The Reds now have his full rights and he’s no longer under Rule 5 restrictions.

The perpetual movement isn’t an indictment of Payton’s potential as an intriguing depth outfielder, but rather the crowded depth charts of the two teams involved. Both the A’s and Reds are loaded with outfield options, making it tough for an unproven 28-year-old with no MLB experience to get attention, even with his monster 2019 numbers.

Payton, 2019 AAA: .334/.400/.653, 148 wRC+, 30 HR, 10.1% BB, 17.0% Ks

For Oakland’s part, they have several other outfield prospects waiting for opportunities who also bat lefty like Payton, and they appear to already be higher on the depth chart given their presence on the 40-man roster — which Payton never reached. The list includes Seth Brown, Skye Bolt, Dustin Fowler, Luis Barrera, and perhaps soon Greg Deichmann, who will otherwise become Rule 5 eligible next winter. It would surely have been difficult for Payton to stand out amid that logjam, especially with no minor leagues games this summer.

Here’s the updated 60-man player pool, which now has 59 players and one open spot. The 40-man roster remains full. Players with asterisks** are on the active 28-man roster. Players in —italics are not on the 40-man roster.

Oakland A's 60-man pool
Pitchers Hitters

Frankie Montas (R)**
Jesus Luzardo (L)**
Sean Manaea (L)**
Mike Fiers (R)**
Chris Bassitt (R)**
Paul Blackburn (R)
Grant Holmes (R)
Daulton Jefferies (R)
James Kaprielian (R)
—Tyler Baum (R)
—Parker Dunshee (R)
—Brian Howard (R)


Liam Hendriks (R)**
Yusmeiro Petit (R)**
Joakim Soria (R)**
Jake Diekman (L)**
T.J. McFarland (L)**
Daniel Mengden (R)**
Burch Smith (R)**
Lou Trivino (R)**
J.B. Wendelken (R)**
—Ben Bracewell (R)
—Lucas Luetge (L)
—Jaime Schultz (R)
—Wandisson Charles (R)
—Miguel Romero (R)

10-day IL

A.J. Puk (L)
Jordan Weems (R)

Sean Murphy (R)**
Austin Allen (L)**
Jonah Heim (S)
—Carlos Perez (R)
—Kyle McCann (L)
—Tyler Soderstrom (L)


Matt Olson (L)**
Marcus Semien (R)**
Matt Chapman (R)**
Tony Kemp (L)**
Chad Pinder (R)**
Franklin Barreto (R)**
Vimael Machin (L)**
Sheldon Neuse (R)
—Eric Campbell (R)
—Nate Orf (R)
—Nick Allen (R)
—Logan Davidson (S)
—Robert Puason (S)


Khris Davis (R)**
Mark Canha (R)**
Ramon Laureano (R)**
Stephen Piscotty (R)**
Robbie Grossman (S)**
Seth Brown (L)
Skye Bolt (S)
Dustin Fowler (L)
Luis Barrera (L)
—Brayan Buelvas (R)
—Greg Deichmann (L)
—Buddy Reed (S)