The A’s announced Tuesday that they’ve reinstated Stephen Vogt from the injured list, selected the contract of infielder Matt Davidson from Triple-A Las Vegas and designated right-handed reliever Parker Markel for assignment. Oakland also optioned infielder Sheldon Neuse to Las Vegas.
Davidson, 31, saw some big league time with the D-backs earlier this season but rejected an outright assignment following a DFA and inked a minor league pact with the A’s. He’s appeared in just 21 Triple-A games and tallied 88 plate appearances but already has seven home runs in Las Vegas. Davidson was mashing with the D-backs’ Triple-A affiliate in Reno, too, and he’s posted an overall .306/.389/.711 batting line with 15 long balls in only 139 Triple-A plate appearances so far this season.
Some caveats to that production apply, of course. The Pacific Coast League is a notoriously hitter-friendly setting, with Vegas in particular tending to inflate offense. Davidson has had his share of Triple-A success in the past as well — albeit not to this extent — with 146 home runs logged through 703 games at that level. He’s a .248/.320/.470 hitter in Triple-A but hasn’t quite carried that over in parts of six seasons in the Majors, where he’s a .222/.292/.433 hitter. He could still give the A’s more offense than they’ve gotten out of Neuse, a fellow right-handed-hitting infielder who has managed a tepid .228/.291/.305 output in a career-high 182 Major League plate appearances so far.
Markel, also 31, inked a minor league deal with the A’s over the winter and parlayed a 1.89 ERA in 19 Triple-A frames into his first big league action since 2019. The former Mariners and Pirates righty has a long track record of missing bats at a high level but also battling command issues, and both of those have been true in the Majors and in Triple-A this season. Markel fanned 35.4% of his opponents while pitching for Las Vegas but also walked hitters at a 12.7% clip. He fired three scoreless innings in the Majors with the A’s and picked up three strikeouts … but he also issued a walk to five of the 13 hitters he faced.
Even though he averages better than 95 mph on his heater and has a 3.09 ERA and 30% strikeout rate in 177 2/3 innings at the Triple-A level, Markel has only ever logged 25 innings in the Majors. There’s no sugarcoating his ugly 14.1% walk rate in Triple-A, but the bat-missing ability and velocity are somewhat intriguing all the same.
Oakland will have a week to trade Markel, attempt to pass him through outright waivers or release him. He’s been outrighted once before — by the Angels in 2020 — so even if he goes unclaimed on waivers, he’d have the option of rejecting an outright assignment in favor of free agency.