The Athletics announced a series of moves, including the news that outfielder Ramon Laureano has been designated for assignment. As for two other players recently DFA’ed by Oakland, catcher Manny Pina was released and utilityman Tyler Wade was outrighted to Triple-A. The moves create roster space for some injured list activations, as Esteury Ruiz is back from the 10-day IL and Dany Jimenez was activated from the 60-day IL. Kevin Smith was also reinstated from the 10-day IL and optioned to Triple-A, while the A’s also optioned right-hander Tayler Scott to Triple-A.
Laureano has been on the injured list twice this season, missing about six total weeks due to a groin strain and a fractured hand suffered while sliding into a base. This has continued a pattern of injuries that have plagued Laureano over the last few years, to say nothing of the 80-game PED suspension that cost him portions of the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Since returning to action in 2022, Laureano has hit only .212/.285/.371 over 629 plate appearances.
It stands to reason that if it wasn’t for the health concerns and the lack of production, Laureano would have joined the many other notables traded during Oakland’s fire sale. Laureano is still controlled through the 2025 season, making him an interesting possibility for a team looking for outfield help — he could draw a waiver claim from a contender looking to add depth, or a non-contender just looking to add a controllable asset. The fact that the A’s didn’t move him before the deadline for at least a token return might speak to a general lack of trade interest, or an interested team might not have wanted to give anything up in a deal, betting that Laureano might come available on the DFA wire.
Ruiz missed about a month due to a right shoulder subluxation, so a month-long absence ended up being a welcome scenario given the potential seriousness of such a shoulder problem. He’ll return to his customary spot in center field and continue a rookie season that has seen Ruiz hit .257/.310/.329 over 369 PA. Even despite missing a month, Ruiz is still the AL leader in stolen bases with 43, and Ronald Acuna Jr. (51) is the only player in baseball with more swipes than the speedy Ruiz.
Jimenez hasn’t pitched since April 16 due to a right shoulder strain, so he has only 6 2/3 innings (and a 5.40 ERA) on his ledger for the 2023 campaign. Shoulder problems also interrupted Jimenez’s rookie season, though he managed a 3.41 ERA over 34 1/3 innings for the Athletics last year and entered the spring as a contender for the closer role. While the A’s probably won’t immediately insert Jimenez into the highest of high-leverage situations, there’s plenty of time left in the season for Jimenez to post some good results and get himself into the rebuilding team’s plans for 2024.
This is the third time Wade has been DFA’ed, cleared waivers, and outrighted off of the Athletics’ 40-man roster. He again has the right to reject the outright assignment and become a free agent, though it stands to reason that he might again opt to remain with the A’s and await another opportunity.
Pina’s first season with the A’s has seen him play in only four games, as he has again battled wrist injuries for the second consecutive year. All told, Pina has suited up in only nine MLB games since the start of the 2022 season, with these injuries coming on the heels of a six-year as a part-time catcher with the Brewers. The Athletics acquired Pina last winter from the Braves as part of the Sean Murphy deal, and the A’s are still responsible for the roughly $1.5MM remaining on Pina’s contract for 2023. If Pina does sign elsewhere, his new team will only owe him a prorated MLB minimum salary for any time he spends on an active roster, with that salary subtracted from the Athletics’ $1.5MM tab.