The A’s announced they’ve claimed corner outfielder Conner Capel off waivers from the Cardinals, designating fellow outfielder Luis Barrera for assignment. Oakland also recalled reliever Domingo Tapia from Triple-A Las Vegas, optioning Zach Logue in a corresponding move.
Capel is joining the third organization of his career. Originally an Indians draftee, he was dealt to the Cardinals as a prospect in the deal that sent Oscar Mercado to Cleveland. The left-handed hitter has spent most of the past two seasons at Triple-A Memphis, generally performing at an above-average level. He’s hit .267/.355/.452 through a bit more than 800 plate appearances there, walking at a robust 11.5% clip while only striking out in 18% of his trips. Capel has also connected on 26 home runs, 40 doubles and seven triples, demonstrating a well-rounded offensive skillset.
That earned the 25-year-old his first MLB call in late June, but Capel didn’t receive much of a look at Busch Stadium. He got into nine games and only hit 19 times, collecting three hits (including his first round-tripper). The Cards designated Capel for assignment earlier this week upon calling up top prospect Alec Burleson.
As the team with the second-worst record in the majors, the A’s had the league’s #2 waiver priority. They’ll leverage that to add an outfielder with a solid upper minors track record. Capel is only in his first of three minor league option years, so the A’s can bounce him between Oakland and Las Vegas for the next couple seasons if he holds his spot on the 40-man roster.
Barrera, himself a left-handed outfielder, has gotten brief big league looks in each of the past two years. He’s gotten into 38 games, hitting .235/.290/.329 over 93 trips to the plate. Barrera has played most of the season with the Aviators, compiling a .271/.331/.451 line through 294 plate appearances. That’s actually below-average production in one of the sport’s most hitter-friendly environments, but Barrera is an elite runner who’s capable manning all three outfield positions.
The A’s have already taken Barrera off the 40-man roster once this year, outrighting him in April before re-selecting his contract the next month. They’ll place him on waivers again in the next few days. If he clears outright waivers again, he’ll have the right to refuse the assignment in favor of minor league free agency this time.