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A’s roster moves: Shuffling the roster with 7 transactions

Seven moves at once!

Oakland Athletics v Boston Red Sox
Matt Davidson was DFA’d after 8 games
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s made a roster move during their Monday off-day to option outfielder Luis Barrera to Triple-A, meaning that at least one more transaction was coming Tuesday to replace him. As it turns out, they did quite a bit more than that today.

The A’s announced seven roster moves this afternoon:

  • IF Nick Allen called up
  • IF Sheldon Neuse called up
  • IF Matt Davidson designated for assignment
  • RHP Dany Jimenez to 15-day injured list
  • LHP Kirby Snead called up
  • LHP Sam Moll to COVID-19 injured list
  • RHP Domingo Tapia called up as COVID substitute

Holy Toledo, that’s a lot at once! Technically it all happened simultaneously, but let’s break down the list into some functionally corresponding moves.

First up are the position players. Oakland got started on this section yesterday when they sent down Barrera, and now today they DFA’d Davidson to clear another spot. In their places, a pair of familiar infielders return to the majors in Neuse and Allen, both of whom have already made appearances this year.

On the pitching side, Jimenez heads to the IL with a strained right shoulder, retroactive to June 19, and Snead returns to the majors to fill his roster spot. Meanwhile, Moll was placed on the COVID IL, with Tapia specifically tabbed as his substitute.

***

The swap of Barrera and Davidson for Neuse and Allen means there is now one fewer outfielder on the roster. However, they still have plenty of choices in the outfield, with Brown, Laureano, Pache, and Pinder all available, plus Kemp if needed.

Davidson signed a minor league contract in May and was called up to the majors in early June, but the veteran slugger didn’t find his groove on either side of the ball. He played eight games and took 24 trips to the plate, resulting in one homer and 10 strikeouts, and in the field his defense was shaky on the infield corners including negative metrics and a pair of errors at third base.

  • Davidson, OAK: 4-for-24 (.167), 1 HR, 0 BB, 10 Ks

It wasn’t a long audition, but it was enough for the A’s to move on. They revert back to Neuse, who played 49 games for them earlier this year before taking a brief demotion to Triple-A to make room for the Davidson experiment. Neuse had been mired in a deep slump at that moment but made the most of his time in the minors, going 21-for-52 in a dozen games for Las Vegas and earning Player of the Week honors in the Pacific Coast League last week.

  • Neuse, AAA: .404/.400/.731, 4 HR, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 1 BB, 11 Ks

That hot streak comes attached with his customarily high BABIP and low walk rate, but the power surge is especially interesting even with the perpetual asterisk of the PCL’s hitter-friendly atmosphere. At the very least, it’s enough to force another try in the majors, where he’ll look to improve on the .228 batting average and 79 wRC+ he posted during his first stint for the big league club.

Allen has also been hot at the plate in Triple-A. Since the beginning of June he’s batting .365, with seven of his 19 hits going for extra bases, and he’s walked (14) more than he’s struck out (11) during that span for a whopping .500 OBP. Below are his full-season stats, covering 46 games.

  • Allen, AAA: .266/.371/.358, 93 wRC+, 2 HR, 10 SB, 13.1% BB, 16.5% Ks

The defensive stalwart has already come up to the majors twice for quick cups of coffee, most recently in mid-May, so this will be his third stint with Oakland. In MLB so far he’s gone 4-for-23 with a pair of doubles, a steal, two walks, and seven strikeouts.

***

The bullpen loses two of its top arms in Jimenez and Moll, though for different reasons.

Jimenez stepped into the team’s vacant closer role early in the season and has held onto it so far, sealing 11 saves and two holds while blowing only two chances. However, the right-hander has struggled over his past eight appearances, allowing 11 runs, picking up both of his blown saves, and taking three losses.

  • Jimenez: 4.38 ERA, 24⅔ ip, 23 Ks, 12 BB, 1 HR, 3.25 FIP

Now he heads to the 15-day IL due to a shoulder strain, with the following details via insider Martin Gallegos:

“Kotsay said MRI showed no structural damage for Dany Jiménez but they’ll be cautious and make sure he’s 100% before returning. They’ll go with matchups to close out games. A.J. Puk and Zach Jackson mentioned as options to fill that role in Jiménez’s absence.”

With this move backdated a couple days, Jimenez will be eligible to return no sooner than Aug. 4.

Moll has stymied hitters all season, posting breakout numbers so far. He’s got the lowest ERA on the team and a monster strikeout rate, he’s converted six holds in seven tries, and Statcast loves his work including the weak contact he induces. His slider has been especially dominant.

  • Moll: 1.27 ERA, 21⅓ ip, 29 Ks, 13 BB, 1 HR, 2.99 FIP

The southpaw heads to the COVID list, which might mean any number of things — maybe he tested positive, or just showed symptoms, or was merely exposed to somebody who was sick. Whatever the case, his time on the IL has no set amount of days, just however long it takes to clear the health protocols.

Filling in for them are Snead and Tapia, both of whom have already played for the A’s this summer.

Snead, acquired in the Matt Chapman trade, pitched 14 games before heading down to the minors in mid-May. The lefty was scoreless in eight of his first nine outings and even converted four holds along the way, but then he began to get lit up over his next few tries, and in his final appearance he allowed five runs to spike his ERA more than three points.

  • Snead, OAK: 8.74 ERA, 11⅓ ip, 8 Ks, 7 BB, 1 HR, 4.72 FIP

He spent the past month in Triple-A and still gave up some runs, but he also put up impressive rates of strikeouts, walks, and homers for Las Vegas.

  • Snead, AAA: 4.61 ERA, 13⅔ ip, 20 Ks, 3 BB, 1 HR, 2.87 FIP

Tapia saw action for the A’s in two games a few weeks ago, once tossing a scoreless inning, and once getting blasted for four runs while retiring just one of his seven batters. Since returning to the minors he pitched four games for Vegas, allowing one run in four inning and striking out seven of his 20 batters.

  • Tapia, AAA Vegas: 2.92 ERA, 12⅓ ip, 15 Ks, 5 BB, 0 HR, 3.00 FIP

The right-hander is here as a COVID sub. When Moll returns from the COVID list, a COVID sub will need to go back to the minors, and right now Tapia is the only one with that designation. If other players go on the COVID list before then and more subs come up, then any one of those subs can go back to the minors to make room for Moll (or for any player returning from the COVID list). I’m not certain about this next part, but I’m pretty sure Tapia will not use one of his five options for the season for this emergency assignment.

Here’s the updated roster!

Oakland A's 26-man roster
Pitchers Hitters
Starters

Frankie Montas (R)
Paul Blackburn (R)
Cole Irvin (L)
James Kaprielian (R)
Jared Koenig (L)

60-IL: Daulton Jefferies (R)
60-IL: Brent Honeywell (R)


Relievers

Domingo Acevedo (R)
Zach Jackson (R)
Adam Oller (R)
Austin Pruitt (R)
A.J. Puk (L)
Kirby Snead (L)
Domingo Tapia (R)
Lou Trivino (R)

CV: Sam Moll (L)
IL: Dany Jimenez (R)
60-IL: Deolis Guerra (R)
Catchers

Sean Murphy (R)
Stephen Vogt (L)

Infielders

1B: Christian Bethancourt (R)
2B: Tony Kemp (L)
SS: Elvis Andrus (R)
3B: Sheldon Neuse (R)
UT: Nick Allen (R)
UT: Jonah Bride (R)
DH: Jed Lowrie (S)

Outfielders

Seth Brown (L)
Ramon Laureano (R)
Cristian Pache (R)
Chad Pinder (R)

IL: Stephen Piscotty (R)
60-IL: Skye Bolt (S)