The A’s announced Thursday that right-hander David McKay has been designated for assignment. His spot on the 40-man roster will go to lefty Ken Waldichuk, whose previously reported promotion to the big leagues is now official. Oakland also recalled outfielder Cody Thomas from Triple-A Las Vegas.
McKay, 27, was a waiver claim out of the Rays organization back in July. He pitched 2 2/3 innings with the A’s, who were his third big league team of the season (Rays, Yankees). All told, McKay allowed five runs in 6 2/3 Major League innings between the three teams in 2022. He’s tallied 33 1/3 innings in his big league career, dating back to 2020, and has a 6.21 ERA with an above-average 24.7% strikeout rate but a grisly 14.7% walk rate.
McKay has also pitched with the Triple-A affiliates for all three of those organizations in 2022, working to a collective 4.50 ERA with a 25.1% strikeout rate that’s similar to his big league rate and a 10.4% walk rate (an improvement over his MLB numbers but still much higher than average). He’ll be placed on waivers or released within the week, as he’s ineligible to be traded at this point.
Thomas, like Waldichuk, will make his big league debut when he first takes the field for the A’s. The 27-year-old was a 13th-round pick by the Dodgers back in 2016 but landed with the A’s organization as part of the trade that sent infielder Sheldon Neuse to Los Angeles. (Neuse has since returned to the A’s on a waiver claim.)
Thomas has missed nearly the entire season after undergoing surgery to repair his Achilles tendon in Spring Training, but he went out on a minor league rehab assignment in mid-August and got 10 games under his belt before today’s call to The Show. Thomas hit just .226/.306/.419 in 36 minor league plate appearances, but the A’s have surely wanted to get a look at him ever since last year’s massive .289/.363/.665 showing in Triple-A (143 wRC+).
Despite tallying just 245 plate appearances in 2021, Thomas racked up 18 home runs, 20 doubles and four triples. He whiffed in 31.8% of his plate appearances, which is an obvious concern, but Thomas also posted a solid 10.2% walk rate in Vegas a year ago. He’ll turn 28 next month, making him much older than the standard “prospect,” but last year’s big showing certainly merits at least a late audition at the MLB level.