Oakland A’s send Christian Bethancourt to Tampa Bay Rays

Jun 28, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; Oakland Athletics first baseman Christian Bethancourt (23) at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 28, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; Oakland Athletics first baseman Christian Bethancourt (23) at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports /
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Trade season has begun. It should not be a surprise that the Oakland A’s are the ones to make the first move.

In a setup for what should be a busy trade deadline, the A’s have sent Christian Bethancourt to the Tampa Bay Rays. In exchange, they have received a pair of minor leaguers in Triple-A outfielder Cal Stevenson and A-ball pitcher Christian Fernandez.

Oakland A’s turn Christian Bethancourt into pair of minor leaguers

Virtually no one paid any attention when Bethancourt was signed to a minor league deal. He had not appeared in the majors since 2017, bouncing through three different organizations and the KBO in that span. Given a chance by the A’s due to injury and Covid, he seized the opportunity and never let go, posting a 99 OPS+ with four homers and 11 doubles over 182 plate appearances.

For the Rays, Bethancourt is certainly worth the trade. Their catching situation has been awful as Francisco Mejia and his 78 OPS+ has been the best of the group. While that should change once Mike Zunino returns from the Injured List, Bethancourt provides a solid bat behind the plate in a backup role. He could also serve as that right handed compliment to Ji-Man Choi that the Rays have been searching for.

Neither Stevenson nor Fernandez were amongst the Rays’ top 30 prospects. Stevenson is a soon to be 26 year old who has made his Triple-A debut this season, producing a .265/.376/.353 batting line in his 203 plate appearances, hitting two homers and seven doubles while stealing nine bases. He is regarded as someone who could potentially be a fourth outfielder, getting on base and stealing bases – another Skye Bolt type.

While Stevenson was able to get a mention in the Fangraphs’ view of the Rays system, Fernandez did not. He had not pitched in the Rays system since 2019 before this season, but has made up for lost time. The 22 year old righty had posted a solid 2.79 ERA and a 1.155 WHiP in his 58 innings in A-ball, striking out 87 batters with 25 walks.

It is questionable as to whether or not either pitcher will be able to make an impact upon the A’s going forward. However, they were able to turn an unheralded minor league signing into a pair of lottery tickets. Fernandez is particularly intriguing due to his success at Charleston before the trade, giving hope that the A’s have someone that could be a part of their future in a more meaningful role.

Next. Montas biggest name to be moved at deadline. dark

The Oakland A’s have started selling off pieces. Christian Bethancourt is the first player to go, having been sent to the Tampa Bay Rays.

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