A's Claim Thompson, Outright Anderson
The Oakland A's claimed right-hander Taylor Thompson off of waivers from the Chicago White Sox, the team announced on Tuesday. To make room for Thompson on the 40-man roster, Oakland outrighted catcher Bryan Anderson to Triple-A.
Thompson joins the A's after six seasons in the White Sox's chain. The Auburn alum was a 44th-round pick in 2009, but he overcame those long odds to make his major-league debut in 2014 with Chicago. Thompson allowed six runs in 5.1 innings with the White Sox.
The 6'5'' right-hander has been exclusively a reliever throughout his professional career. In 279 career minor league innings, he has a 2.55 ERA and a 297:112 K:BB. Thompson has allowed just 11 homeruns and batters have hit .209 against him.
Thompson is a three-pitch pitcher, featuring a four-seam fastball that ranges from 90-94, a slider and a split-finger fastball that he used with great success in 2014. Thompson has battled arm problems at various points in his career and his command can be shaky at times. However, his ability to miss bats and keep the ball in the park make him an intriguing option for the A's in middle relief next year.
Anderson was acquired by the A's from Chicago for cash just before the August 31st trade deadline. The offense-minded catcher appeared in five games in Triple-A for the A's before spending most of September on Oakland's bench. He got one at-bat for the A's and grounded into a double-play.
Anderson had a big offensive season in 2014. In 78 games between Triple-A and Double-A, Anderson hit .320/.397/.538. He is a career .281/.351/.417 hitter in the minor leagues. In 36 major-league games, he is batting .206.
A's Sign Whelan, Re-Sign Carrithers
Last week, the A's signed minor league free agent Kevin Whelan to a minor league deal. They also agreed to terms with infielder Alden Carrithers, who was in the A's system last year in Triple-A. Both have invites to major-league spring training.
Whelan has split his career between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers' organizations, with a one-year stop in the Cincinnati Reds' system mixed in. He was a fourth-round pick of the Tigers in 2005 out of Texas A&M. Before the 2007 season, Whelan was one of three prospects sent to the Yankees by Detroit in exchange for OF Gary Sheffield.
The right-handed Whelan has mostly been a reliever during his minor league career. In 487 career innings, Whelan has a 3.38 ERA. He has walked his share of hitters (276), but he has 616 career strike-outs and a .189 career batting average against.
Whelan has a low-90s fastball and a split-finger that was effective for him last season. His throwing motion offers some deception and his fastball gets on hitters quickly. He had major elbow surgery in 2012 and it took until 2014 for him to get back to where he was before the injury. Whelan saved 20 games and had a 2.70 ERA for Triple-A Toledo last year. He also struck-out 54 in 43.1 innings. He made one appearance for the Tigers, allowing two runs in 1.1 innings.
Carrithers returns for a second year in the A's organization after spending all of last season in Triple-A. He hit .284/.381/.349 in 101 games last year while playing third base, second base, left field and he even pitched in a game.
A UCLA alum, Carrithers has long been one of the better hitters in the minor leagues at getting on-base. He has a career .399 OBP and is a career .295 hitter.
Olson Shut-Down with Shoulder Injury
A's top first base prospect Matt Olson had his Arizona Fall League season come to an abrupt end when he suffered a shoulder injury last week during a collision at first base. The injury, which is a tear of a ligament the AC joint of his right shoulder, isn't expected to require surgery. He is remaining in Arizona for the time-being to rehab the injury.
Before the collision, Olson hit .257/.435/.686 with four homers and 10 walks in 11 games. He was named to the mid-season AFL All-Star game, as well.