On Friday, the Oakland A's announced the acquisition of catchers Curtis Thigpen and Eric Munson. Both players are non-roster players who have major league experience. The A's also released Jason Windsor and Ryne Tacker, both pitchers, from minor league camp.
Thigpen was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for a player to be named later or cash. He was once one of the top catching prospects in baseball, but he struggled to hit at the major league level and was never able to establish himself with Toronto. He is a career .229 hitter in the major leagues in 57 games. In five minor league seasons, Thigpen hit .266 with 28 homeruns and a .347 OBP. Thigpen was outrighted off Toronto's 40-man roster on February 6. He was hitting .148 with two home runs and two RBI in 14 games with the Blue Jays this spring as a non-roster invitee.
Munson, a childhood friend of A's third baseman Eric Chavez and former USC star, was signed to a minor league contract as a free agent. He spent the 2008 season at Triple-A Nashville in the Milwaukee organization and hit .165 with a home run and 12 RBI in 27 games. His season was shortened by two stints on the disabled list, one for a hip problem and the other for a shoulder issue. Munson is a .214 career hitter with 49 home runs and 147 RBI in 360 major league games with Detroit, Tampa Bay and Houston. He was the third overall pick in the 1999 draft by Detroit. Barry Zito was taken by Oakland six slots later in that draft. The catcher/corner infielder has always had good power and has 114 minor league homeruns to go along with his 49 big league blasts.
The A's made cuts from minor league camp this week with the release of right-handers Jason Windsor and Ryne Tacker. More cuts are expected in the coming days.
Windsor was once one of the A's brightest pitching prospects. The Cal-State Fullerton product zoomed up the A's minor league depth chart and made his major league debut in 2006. During that 2006 season, Windsor went 17-2 for Triple-A Sacramento and Double-A Midland. He was 0-1 in four appearances with a 6.59 ERA in 13.2 innings with the A's.
In 2007, Windsor began the year in Sacramento after losing out in the spring camp competition for a rotation spot. He made 10 starts for Sacramento, going 5-3 with a 5.40 ERA in 56 innings. He would go on the disabled list after that 10th start with a sore shoulder. That shoulder would eventually require surgery and cost Windsor the rest of the 2007 season and most of the 2008 season. He did make 11 appearances for the A's Rookie League team and Double-A Midland in 2008, but his ERA was above 8.00 in those 11 appearances.
Windsor, a college teammate of A's catcher Kurt Suzuki, was taken in the third round of the 2004 draft out of Cal-State Fullerton. Windsor pitched Fullerton to a College World Series title in 2004 and earned the tournament's Most Outstanding Player award. He is a native of San Jose. He leaves the A's organization with a 30-17 record and a 4.56 ERA with 346 strike-outs in 373.2 minor league innings.
Tacker was a 34th round pick of the A's in 2007. The right-hander was a star reliever for Rice University in college, but he was already 23 when he was drafted. He appeared in 15 games for the A's short-season (Vancouver) and Low-A (Kane County) affiliates in 2008, going 0-5 with an ERA of roughly 11.00.
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