The A’s announced that right-hander Spenser Watkins and outfielders Conner Capel and Cody Thomas have gone unclaimed on waivers and were sent outright to Triple-A Las Vegas. None of them had previously been designated for assignment. All three are off the 40-man roster, which now sits at 37.
Oakland claimed Watkins off waivers from the Astros a few weeks ago. He made one start, allowing five runs in 4 1/3 innings in a loss in St. Louis. It was the 31-year-old’s third straight season logging some major league action. Watkins started 30 of 39 appearances with the Orioles in 2021-22. In 164 1/3 career MLB frames, he carries a 5.97 ERA with a well below-average 13.9% strikeout rate.
Watkins isn’t overpowering, but he has typically shown above-average control. He has walked fewer than 7% of opposing hitters in his MLB career. His command has been uncharacteristically wobbly in Triple-A this year, however. Watkins has handed out free passes at an elevated 12.8% clip through 54 1/3 frames between three organizations.
Capel, 26, was claimed off waivers from St. Louis last September. He raked in 13 games for the A’s down the stretch and had held his spot on the 40-man until this week. Capel has bounced on and off the MLB roster this year, playing in 32 big league games. He has reached based at a quality .372 clip in his 86 plate appearances but hasn’t made much of a power impact.
The left-handed hitter has spent the bulk of the year in Las Vegas, picking up 315 trips to the dish in 72 contests. He’s hitting .269/.362/.444 with nine homers and 15 stolen bases in 18 attempts. That’s solid but unexceptional offense in one of affiliated ball’s most hitter-friendly settings.
Thomas has played in 29 games for the A’s over the past two seasons. The former Dodger draftee has hit .250/.308/.333 in that limited look. Thomas has had a good year in Triple-A, connecting on 19 homers with a .298/.357/.553 slash over 389 plate appearances.
It’s the second career outfights for Watkins and Thomas, giving each the right to test free agency. Capel doesn’t have a previous outright or sufficient service time to decline the assignment. He’ll stick in Vegas for the stretch run but would qualify for minor league free agency at the end of the season if the A’s don’t add him back to the 40-man roster.