The Athletics have signed utilityman Tyler Wade to a minor league contract, reports Chris Hilburn-Trenkle of Baseball America. He’d elected minor league free agency earlier this month after playing the second half of the season on a non-roster deal with the Yankees.
Wade has appeared in the big leagues in each of the last six years. A Yankees fourth-round pick in 2013, he blossomed into one of the system’s more interesting prospects on the strength of plus speed and solid contact skills. Wade never cemented himself as a regular, however, consistently working as a depth player who bounced between multiple positions off the bench. He never tallied more than 145 plate appearances in an individual season in New York as the Yankees frequently bounced him on and off the active roster.
Last offseason, New York designated Wade for assignment as part of a 40-man overhaul to set their roster before the Rule 5 draft. The Angels acquired him a few days later. Because he’s out of minor league option years, the Halos had to carry him on their active roster to keep him in the organization. He spent the first three months of the 2022 campaign in Anaheim, picking up a personal-high 163 plate appearances over 67 contests. Wade didn’t hit well, though, connecting on just one home run while posting a .218/.272/.272 overall line. Anaheim designated him for assignment in July, and he returned to the Yankees on a minor league deal after going unclaimed on waivers.
The 27-year-old (28 next month) spent the rest of the year at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Wade put up a .227/.353/.369 line with four homers through 170 plate appearances with the RailRiders. He walked in an excellent 15.9% of his trips against a manageable 20.6% strikeout rate, but his results on batted balls weren’t great. He didn’t get a new big league look in the Bronx.
Wade will presumably get an opportunity to compete for a big league job in Spring Training. The rebuilding A’s have very little in the way of position player certainty. Tony Kemp is the in-house favorite for playing time at second base, although he could be traded or non-tendered this offseason. Nick Allen is the top shortstop option but began his MLB career with a .207/.256/.291 line through 326 plate appearances. Wade’s also capable of factoring into the outfield mix if he can carve out another bench job.