The Rangers have claimed 1B/OF Peter O’Brien from the Reds, the two clubs have announced. To clear space on their 40-man roster, the Rangers have moved righty Tyson Ross to the 60-day DL. They’ve optioned O’Brien to Triple-A Round Rock.
O’Brien’s stay in the Reds organization was brief — they claimed him from the Royals less than two weeks ago. Cincinnati designated him for assignment when they claimed Jake Buchanan from the Cubs earlier this week.
O’Brien will be 27 later this summer and has struggled in Triple-A this season, posting a .168/.252/.304 line there this season. He also hasn’t fared well in brief trials at the big-league level, batting .176/.228/.446 in 79 plate appearances spanning two years with the Diamondbacks. It is, however, fairly easy to see why he continues to generate interest on the waiver wire — he hit 24 or more minor-league home runs for four straight seasons from 2013 to 2016.
Perhaps unsurprisingly given O’Brien’s recent struggles, though, he has never controlled the strike zone very well, culminating in a 147-strikeout season in Triple-A Reno last year in which he walked only 23 times. The Rangers already have a faintly similar player in slugger Joey Gallo, although O’Brien looks far more like a journeyman than whatever Gallo will turn out to be — he’s significantly older, and his power is perhaps less jaw-dropping than Gallo’s. (He’s also right-handed, whereas Gallo bats lefty.) In any case, the Rangers can stash O’Brien at Triple-A for awhile to see if he makes any progress developing a more well-rounded offensive approach to complement his power.