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A’s re-acquire Skye Bolt from Giants

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From Oakland, to SF, back to Oakland

Oakland Athletics v San Diego Padres Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images

They say lightning doesn’t strike twice, but it just did in the Oakland A’s organization.

The A’s announced Wednesday that they’ve re-acquired Skye Bolt from the San Francisco Giants. The outfielder began the year with Oakland but was designated for assignment in early April and then claimed off waivers by San Francisco. However, the Giants DFA’d him again a few weeks later, and now he’s back where he started and will report to Triple-A Las Vegas.

The official transaction is a trade in exchange for cash considerations. Bolt still needs a 40-man roster spot, so a corresponding move will be needed to clear space, either by cutting someone else or transferring somebody from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day.

The A’s drafted Bolt out of college in 2015 and he spent the next several years in their farm system, including a brief MLB debut in 2019. But he didn’t get another chance during the abbreviated 2020 campaign, and the team’s outfield depth chart grew crowded around him in the meantime.

The clock finally ran out this spring, as he was out of minor league options and didn’t make the A’s Opening Day squad, leading to waivers. The Giants picked up Bolt and he appeared in two games for them, with one plate appearance that resulted in a strikeout, but he didn’t stick with them either.

  • Bolt, MLB career: 1-for-11, double, BB, 4 Ks

For what it’s worth, the double should have been a homer, but it bounced off the extra-tall RF wall at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. At last sight in Triple-A in 2019, the switch-hitting Bolt posted a modest 96 wRC+ and didn’t see the same power surge as some of his teammates at Las Vegas Ballpark, but he did still crack the end of our most recent Community Prospect List as an alternate after the Top 30. He’s considered a plus in terms of speed and defense, with strikeouts as his biggest drawback.

This is the second trade between the A’s and Giants in recent memory, after pitcher Burch Smith crossed the Bay to Oakland in 2020, but before that the two clubs hadn’t connected on an MLB deal in three decades.

Analysis

The Triple-A Las Vegas outfield was already set to include Luis Barrera, Greg Deichmann, Buddy Reed, and Cody Thomas, all of whom are higher-rated prospects than Bolt and also bat lefty or switch.

However, Bolt is the most experienced of the group, and the only one who has been to the majors before or even played at Triple-A. It was notable that the club had burned through all their MLB-ready outfield prospects in the past month — Seth Brown is a fixture in the majors now, and Dustin Fowler and Ka’ai Tom were traded away. Who would you call up if you needed somebody tomorrow?

Here’s one way to look at it. There was no room for Bolt a month ago, and his options clock ran out, so he tried out somewhere else during April. But his internship in the city ended and he came back, and in the meantime, the OF depth chart has thinned, and several Oakland players have gotten hurt as is inevitable once the season gets going. Now there’s space again, and clearly the A’s never gave up on him.

Or, another way: We have our latest Adam Rosales, bolting back and forth across the Bay Bridge between the A’s and Giants.