The Dodgers have claimed outfielder Peter O’Brien off waivers from the Rangers, according to an announcement from Texas. To make room for O’Brien, the Dodgers have designated left-hander Jason Wheeler for assignment, tweets Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Additionally, right-hander Dillon Gee, whom the Rangers designated on Friday, has cleared waivers and elected free agency.
The Dodgers are already the fifth organization of 2017 for the 26-year-old O’Brien, who spent time with the Diamondbacks, Royals and Reds before joining the Rangers in a waiver claim last month. O’Brien only collected 15 plate appearances with the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate before the club designated him Saturday, and has stumbled to an overall minor league line of .167/.254/.301 in 209 PAs this year. Although he’s prone to striking out, teams continue to take flyers on O’Brien because of his prodigious power, as the former Yankees farmhand has swatted 122 minor league home runs – including six this season. He saw brief major league action with the D-backs in 2015 and ’16 and hit six long balls in 79 PAs, though he slashed just .176/.228/.446 with a 40.5 percent strikeout rate during that time.
Wheeler, 26, has only been in the Los Angeles organization for two-plus weeks. Since the Dodgers acquired him from the Twins for cash considerations on June 2, Wheeler has thrown 8 2/3 frames of 10-earned run, 16-hit ball with their Triple-A affiliate. Wheeler made his major league debut with Minnesota earlier this season and surrendered three earned runs on six hits and four walks, with no strikeouts, causing the Twins to boot him from their 40-man roster before dealing him to the Dodgers.
As for Gee, the only somewhat established big leaguer of the three, he made four appearances (one start) for Texas this year and tossed 13 innings of 4.15 ERA ball, but he yielded 17 hits and walked six during that short span. Gee fared better with their Triple-A affiliate, logging a 3.88 ERA, 7.59 K/9 and 2.29 BB/9 across 51 frames. The Rangers originally added Gee on a minor league deal over the winter, which came after a 2016 in which he racked up 125 frames of 4.68 ERA pitching with the Royals and then underwent thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. The 31-year-old has spent the majority of his career with the Mets and owns a 4.13 ERA, 6.47 K/9, 2.85 BB/9 and a 45.1 percent ground-ball rate in 817 1/3 big league frames.