The Athletics announced a handful of roster moves before this evening’s matchup with the Royals. Oakland selected reliever Spencer Patton onto the MLB roster. Starter Luis Medina landed on the 15-day injured list with a blister on the index finger of his throwing hand. The A’s also reinstated first baseman Ryan Noda from the 10-day IL while optioning rookie catcher/first baseman Tyler Soderstrom to Triple-A Las Vegas. To create space for Patton on the 40-man roster, righty James Kaprielian was transferred from the 15-day to the 60-day IL after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery.
Patton returns to the big leagues a little over three months since being outrighted off the roster. The 35-year-old hurler signed a minor league pact with Oakland in April. He was called up a few weeks later and pitched four times, allowing four runs in 5 1/3 innings of work. Patton returned to Las Vegas after clearing waivers and has had an alright showing there in an extremely hitter-friendly setting.
Over 40 outings, he owns a 4.68 ERA through 42 1/3 frames. He has struck out an above-average 24.3% of opposing hitters against a slightly elevated 10.1% walk rate. Including his early-season stint in the Bay Area, Patton has appeared in parts of six big league campaigns for a trio of teams. He has a 5.19 ERA in 109 1/3 MLB innings. Patton is out of minor league options, so the A’s will have to keep him in the big league bullpen or again put him on waivers.
Medina, acquired from the Yankees in the Frankie Montas trade, has had a tough debut campaign. The 24-year-old has started 13 of 18 appearances this year, allowing a 5.44 ERA through 86 frames. His 21.5% strikeout rate and 43.8% grounder percentage aren’t far off the big league averages, but he’s walking 11% of opponents. He’s looking to stake a claim to a rotation spot going into next season but will need at least two weeks off because of the blister issue.
Noda, yet another first-year player, has been one of the A’s best players this year. Selected out of the Dodgers’ system with the second pick in last winter’s Rule 5 draft, he’s reaching base at an excellent .375 clip through his first 90 games. Noda has been very prone to strikeouts, but he has collected 11 homers and is walking in nearly 18% of his plate appearances. He missed around a month with a fractured jaw.
His return pushes Soderstrom off the big league roster. The former first-round pick has been regarded as one of the better offensive talents in the minor leagues. He secured his first big league call during the All-Star Break and has gotten into 27 games. Soderstrom didn’t find initial success, however, mustering only a .165/.237/.247 line while striking out 29 times over 93 trips to the dish. He’s still just 21 years old, so it’s hardly surprising he didn’t hit the ground running at the MLB level. He’ll return to Las Vegas, where he’d hit .254/.303/.536 over 304 plate appearances.
The demotion isn’t likely to have an effect on Soderstrom’s time to arbitration or free agency. He wouldn’t have gotten a full service year in 2023 and was unlikely to accrue enough service time to have a path to Super Two eligibility. However, it could have an impact on his rookie status heading into 2024. Position players retain rookie eligibility if they’ve tallied fewer than 130 at-bats and spent 45 or fewer days on an MLB active roster.
Soderstrom has spent 38 days in the big leagues. If he spends the rest of the year in Las Vegas, he’d remain a rookie heading into next offseason. Assuming he’s still regarded by prospect evaluators as a top 100 caliber talent, which seems likely, the Prospect Promotion Incentive could come into play next spring. Teams that carry a top prospect on the MLB roster for a full service year can receive a draft choice if that player wins Rookie of the Year or finishes top three in MVP voting during their pre-arbitration seasons. There’s been a slew of top prospect promotions over the past few days; Masyn Winn, Noelvi Marté and Kyle Harrison have all gotten their first call once things got deep enough into the summer that they couldn’t exhaust their rookie eligibility this year.
Paradoxically, the promotion incentive could work against Soderstrom getting another MLB look later in the season. That’s not to say it’s the sole or even primary motivation for the A’s sending him down — he has unquestionably struggled in his first five weeks at the MLB level, and Noda’s return would cut into the first base/DH reps available — but could be a factor down the stretch.