The A’s are acquiring right-hander Brent Honeywell from the Rays, reports Jeff Passan of ESPN (Twitter link). Tampa Bay will receive cash in return, reports Shayna Rubin of the San Jose Mercury News (on Twitter).
It’s a notable low-cost pickup for the A’s. Honeywell, 26, was considered one of the game’s most promising pitching prospects on his way up the minor league ladder. He appeared on Baseball America’s top 100 list entering a staggering five consecutive seasons from 2016-20. That speaks both to Honeywell’s talent and the repeated injury troubles that have kept him from making a major league impact to this point.
For all his acclaim from evaluators, Honeywell’s big league resume consists of just 4 1/3 innings across three outings this past season. He spent the bulk of the season working in a swing role with Triple-A Durham, tossing 81 2/3 innings of 3.97 ERA ball but only fanning 20% of opponents. That’s a far cry from the near-30% strikeout percentages he’d run for a good chunk of his early minor league career.
Recent struggles notwithstanding, there’s little harm for Oakland in taking a flier on Honeywell. The A’s have one of the league’s thinner farm systems, giving them space on the 40-man roster. With the Rays seemingly in a perennial state of roster crunch, there was an opportunity for Oakland to squeeze an affordable, big league ready starter with pedigree out of a deeper organization.
Honeywell is out of minor league option years, so he’s a good bet to break camp with the A’s in 2022. Otherwise, Oakland would have to designate him for assignment and make him available to other clubs themselves.