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A’s activate J.B. Wendelken, call up 1B Frank Schwindel

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Roster moves!

Detroit Tigers v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s just got back from a losing road trip, and they made several roster moves Tuesday before beginning their next homestand.

The A’s announced the following transactions this afternoon:

  • RHP J.B. Wendelken activated from injured list
  • RHP Cam Bedrosian designated for assignment
  • 1B Frank Schwindel called up from Triple-A
  • IF Vimael Machin optioned to Triple-A

Wendelken and Schwindel are in, and to make room on the 26-man roster Bedrosian and Machin are out. Schwindel also needed to be added to the 40-man roster in order to come to Oakland, so Bedrosian was removed via DFA and now will pass through waivers. Machin simply returns to Triple-A and is still on the 40-man and available for a future callup if desired.

Bullpen

In the bullpen, the swap is Wendelken for Bedrosian. The right-handed Wendelken has been a fixture in the A’s pen for the last few years with consistently strong results, but this summer he landed on the 10-day injured list in early May due to a strained oblique. After missing two months, he’s now back in action at the end of June.

  • Wendelken, 2021: 4.38 ERA, 12⅓ ip, 14 Ks, 5 BB, 1 HR, 3.15 FIP, .297 xwOBA, 2 holds (0 blown)

Meanwhile, Bedrosian signed as a minor league free agent just before Wendelken got hurt, and was called up a few weeks later. Over the next month he made nine appearances for Oakland, with a promising ERA but peripheral stats that screamed warnings. In his most recent pair of outings he came in to maintain a one-run deficit but allowed the opponent to score again to worsen the situation.

  • Bedrosian, OAK: 2.00 ERA, 9 ip, 8 Ks, 4 BB, 2 HR, 5.59 FIP, .407 xwOBA

It’s still a small sample, but it wasn’t enough to keep a spot among the current group, especially with a mainstay like Wendelken returning to the fold and a couple other promising lotto tickets on-hand (like rookie Domingo Acevedo). We’ll find out the result of his DFA over the next week, which might mean getting claimed off waivers, or traded, or staying in the A’s organization in Triple-A, among other possibilities.

Manager Bob Melvin said the following about Bedrosian, per insider Martin Gallegos: “I thought he pitched well. That’s a tough one. We had to take somebody off, and he was the guy. But it’s not like he pitched in the fashion that it was glaring that that was the move.”

Position players

On the other side of the ball, Schwindel arrives and Machin heads out. This was Machin’s second stint in MLB this year but he was only here for a few days, as he was called up Friday when Mark Canha went on the IL and got one at-bat against the Giants over the weekend.

As for Schwindel, he’s a new name for A’s fans. He signed as a minor league free agent last winter, and here’s a snippet from our spring training introduction:

Drafted as catcher but has settled at first base in the pros. Righty hitter has strong Triple-A numbers led by aggressively high contact rate, low strikeouts, and enough power for a defensive corner. Played six games for Royals in 2019, and turns 29 this summer. More details from 2018, and notes on catcher background from 2019.

Since then, he put on a power display for Las Vegas, thumping 16 homers in 44 games to lead all Triple-A hitters. He plays in a western league full of notorious hitter’s parks, but within that context he still leads everybody.

  • Schwindel, AAA: .324/.369/.643, 135 wRC+, 16 HR, 6.4% BB, 16.7% Ks

The key to that stat line isn’t just the slugging, but the low strikeout rate that goes with it. If you can hit the ball that hard and hit it often then you’ll probably do well with that combination, and the high contact rate in particular is not a new feature but rather something he’s done his entire pro career. He’s at a tiny 15.4% strikeout rate in more than 800 games over eight minor league seasons, and the only time he briefly rose over 20% was his first jump to Double-A six years ago.

On defense, Schwindel played exclusively first base for Las Vegas. As for his role in Oakland, Matt Kawahara of the S.F. Chronicle reports the following:

Schwindel likely to be used mostly as DH vs lefties at first, Bob Melvin said. Possible pinch-hits. Has played some outfield and could get him some practice reps out there.

The A’s are currently without right-handed outfielders Canha (strained hip) and Stephen Piscotty (sprained wrist), though Piscotty will take swings Tuesday as he moves forward in his recovery, adds Kawahara.

And the best part of this move? Today is Schwindel’s birthday, turning 29. Happy birthday and welcome back to the Show, Frank the Tank!

Here’s the updated roster, with the injury report below.

Oakland A's 26-man roster
Pitchers Hitters
Starters

Chris Bassitt (R)
Sean Manaea (L)
Frankie Montas (R)
Cole Irvin (L)
James Kaprielian (R)

60-IL: Mike Fiers (R)

Relievers

Lou Trivino (R)
Jake Diekman (L)
Yusmeiro Petit (R)
Sergio Romo (R)
Burch Smith (R)
J.B. Wendelken (R)
Domingo Acevedo (R)
Deolis Guerra (R)

60-IL: Trevor Rosenthal (R)
Catchers

Sean Murphy (R)
Aramis Garcia (R)

Infielders

1B: Matt Olson (L)
2B: Jed Lowrie (S)
SS: Elvis Andrus (R)
3B: Matt Chapman (R)
UT: Tony Kemp (L)
DH: Mitch Moreland (L)
DH: Frank Schwindel (R)

Outfielders

Ramon Laureano (R)
Chad Pinder (R)
Seth Brown (L)
Skye Bolt (S)

IL: Mark Canha (R)
IL: Stephen Piscotty (R)

Injury report: