The Oakland A’s made a series of roster moves today, but none bigger than Ramon Laureano. Affectionately known as Laser Ramon for the past few seasons, the club decided to designate him for assignment:
We have made the following roster moves. pic.twitter.com/YT6aChkpeq— Oakland A's (@Athletics) August 5, 2023
Once considered a building block of a possible contender, Laureano was an important piece of the most recent playoff squads the team has had. Brought in on an under-the-radar trade with the Astros in 2017, Laureano quickly established himself as the center fielder and rocketed into fans’ hearts with his hustle and cannon of an arm in center field. He regularly gunned down runners trying for extra bases while providing speed and power in the batters box.
A veteran of six season, injuries (and a PED suspension) have affected him hard over the past three seasons. He was never afraid of striking out but it’s gotten a lot worse over the years and the power and speed disappeared. He was shifted to right field last season to make room for Cristian Pache and kept there for Esteury Ruiz this past year. And again, injuries and ineffectiveness plagued him all season. The A’s have decided to move on from him after presumably trying to trade him for at least a token return during the trade deadline.
Because the club is DFA’ing him, one would think the club will trade him rather than straight up cut him. He was once a highly sought after commodity and the club could probably get something for him. You don’t usually find 28-year-old center field capable players with 20-20 potential with one more year of club control, so it stands to reason we could still see a trade within the next few days. Or maybe another club will just wait until he’s released. It’s an inglorious end to the Laureano era in Oakland.
Additionally, the club is activating Ruiz off of the IL. He was initially placed there due to a dislocated shoulder but returns to the club after a quick 5-game rehab assignment. He split time between center field and DH but the fact he is being activated now seems to imply the club is comfortable inserting him right back into center field immediately, which is terrific news considering the injury he suffered. Better yet, Ruiz returns still in the lead for stolen bases in the AL (although he has lost the MLB lead to superstar Ronald Acuna Jr.). Expect to see Ruiz’s name in the lineup and in center field tonight.
The club wasn’t done there. Infielder Tyler Wade was outrighted to Triple-A Las Vegas after his own DFA a few days ago. He will return to Vegas and continue to provide the A’s with a veteran utility option in the minor leagues who is ready to be called up in a moment’s notice should an injury occur.
Catcher Manny Pina was released by the club as well. Acquired in the Sean Murphy trade this off-season, he was expected to serve as a veteran backup catcher to Shea Langeliers, who was entering his first full season as a starting catcher in the major leagues. Injuries forced him to the injured list before the season even began and fellow veteran catcher/journeyman Carlos Perez stepped in and grabbed a firm hold of the backup catcher job. Pina’s Athletics tenure ends after just four games and 12 at-bats.
On the pitching side of things, Oakland is getting one of their better relievers back in Dany Jimenez. A right shoulder (throwing) strain sent him to the IL all the way back in April and he only has 6 2⁄3 innings under his belt this season. But just last year he was establishing himself as a quality bullpen piece before, yes, a shoulder injury prematurely ended his rookie season. There is still plenty of time and opportunity for Jimenez to show the club what he has to offer, and a strong showing in the last couple months could solidify his spot in next year’s bullpen and possibly put his name into consideration for closer duties.
To make room for Jimenez the club optioned Tayler Scott to Triple-A. Acquired from the Red Sox just recently, Scott appeared in six games for the club, even serving as the opener in one of those appearances. He allowed three runs in 5 1⁄3 innings of work and will now head to Vegas and continue to serve as bullpen depth. Expect to see him again at some point this year.
And finally, infielder Kevin Smith was activated off the IL and immediately optioned to Triple-A. He will also now head to Vegas and try to work his way back up to Oakland with a strong showing for the Aviators. It stands to reason that we’ll be seeing him again soon as his competition in Oakland, Nick Allen, isn’t exactly grabbing hold of the shortstop gig.