Rays get Bethancourt from A's for pair of Minor Leaguers

July 10th, 2022

CINCINNATI -- The Rays acquired catcher/infielder from the A's on Saturday for Minor Leaguers Christian Fernandez and Cal Stevenson to get an early jump on trades before the Aug. 2 Trade Deadline.

Bethancourt is batting .249 with four home runs and 19 RBIs in 56 games with the A’s. He began the year at Triple-A Las Vegas and was 5-for-19 (.263) in five games when he was added to the A’s roster on April 15. Bethancourt has started 24 games at first base, 12 at catcher and eight at DH. This is his sixth season in the Majors, his first since 2017, and he has career highs in runs (23), doubles (11) and stolen bases (4).

Rays get: C/1B Christian Bethancourt
Athletics get: OF Cal Stevenson, RHP Christian Fernandez

“[A’s manager] Mark Kotsay said he really liked him when we played Oakland early on. He’s done some nice things at the plate,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “We’re excited to get him in here.”

The 22-year-old Fernandez has spent the entire season at Single-A Charleston where he is 5-2 with a 2.79 ERA in 16 games, including eight starts. He has struck out 87 batters in 58 innings, an average of 13.50 per nine innings, and held the opposition to a .201 batting average. Stevenson, a former 10th-round draft pick by the Blue Jays, is batting .265 with two home runs and 17 RBIs in 57 games with Triple-A Durham. Neither player ranked within the Rays' Top 30 Prospects.

The Rays entered Saturday with a half-game lead for the first AL Wild Card, with division rivals Boston and Toronto not far behind. Tampa Bay dropped its first three-game series since May 22 with a 4-3 loss to the Reds Saturday afternoon. With uncertainty regarding the status of starting catcher , Bethancourt should provide some much-needed offensive production behind the plate. The catcher’s barrel rate of 9.9% ranks 15th across Major League Baseball while his average exit velocity puts him in the 90th percentile.

Bethancourt is expected to join the team Monday in St. Petersburg. To make room on the 40-man roster, the organization designated for assignment right-handed pitcher David McKay.