The Oakland Athletics made two additional roster moves on Friday night, claiming right-handed pitcher Michael Kelly off waivers from the Guardians and signing outfielder Daz Cameron to a minor league contract.
The 31 year old Kelly has pitched in five organizations over his 12 year career, and Oakland will be the sixth. He's thrown just 20.2 innings in the majors during that time, though he has been effective when given the chance.
Kelly threw 16.2 innings for the Guardians in 2023, pitching to a 3.78 ERA with a 22.5% strikeout rate. He didn't allow a single home run, though he did walk 9 batters in that time. He's always been a bit wild despite having good strikeout numbers. He has a career 11.5% walk rate in the minors, which won't work for a major league pitcher.
The A's should have ample opportunities for Kelly, however. The bullpen was a bit of a disaster in 2023 and without a group of guys locked into specific roles, Kelly should immediately step in as a middle relief guy and get the chance to work his way into high-leverage spots if he pitches well enough.
Michael Kelly should provide major league innings, but Cameron will have to earn his playing time
Daz, the son of former major leaguer Mike Cameron, will be entering his tenth professional season. Drafted by Houston in 2015, he's spent most of his career with the Astros and the Tigers. He played the entire 2023 season at Triple-A Norfolk as part of the Orioles organization.
He put up strong numbers in 2023, hitting .268/.346/.452 with 16 homers and 23 steals in 110 games. Baltimore's major league outfield is crowded, so he never got the call to the majors despite playing well enough to get consideration.
Cameron peaked as the 5th best prospect for the Astros ahead of the 2016 season. He was part of a package of prospects moved to Detroit in the Justin Verlander trade at the 2017 deadline. He spent five and a half years with the Tigers, reaching the majors in 2020 but never quite finding his footing. In parts of three major league seasons, he played in 73 games and hit .201 with just 5 home runs while striking out over 31% of the time.
Because he was signed to a minor league deal, Cameron will have to be added to the 40-man roster before he's eligible to play in Oakland. He's likely seen as a minor league depth piece, but if he hits well enough and the A's have injury issues he could get an opportunity at the major league level.
Based on his performance in 2023, he should be one of the first guys to get a look if the A's find themselves in the position of needing an outfielder. He'll be behind the group of JJ Bleday, Esteury Ruiz, Brent Rooker, Seth Brown, Lawrence Butler, and Lazaro Armenteros.