The A’s traded Triple-A RHP Matt Buschmann to the Tampa Bay Rays for cash on Thursday. We’ve also learned that, though no final decision has been made yet, the A’s front office thinks it’s likely that non-roster pitcher Barry Zito will agree to join the Triple-A Nashville Sounds to start the season. And if that is indeed the case, then the Buschmann deal would serve to open up a spot in Nashville’s starting rotation for Zito.
If Zito does agree to accept the Triple-A assignment, then the Sounds would open the season with a starting staff consisting of LHPs Zito, Brad Mills and Rudy Owens as well as RHPs Chris Bassitt and Arnold Leon. The team’s bullpen would likely include 8 of the following 10 relievers: Ryan Cook, Eury De La Rosa, Fernando Rodriguez, Pat Venditte, Brock Huntzinger, Kevin Whelan, Ryan Verdugo, Jim Fuller, Chad Smith and Angel Castro.
In other news, the A’s released three more minor leaguers on Thursday. Outfielder Zeke DeVoss and RHPs Tyler Vail and Joseph Michaud were all given their releases. They join hurlers Paul Smyth, Murphy Smith, Drew Granier, Deck McGuire, Brandon “Branch” Kloess and Dakota Freese, as well as first baseman Ryan Huck, who were all released earlier this week.
DeVoss was a light-hitting 24-year-old outfielder who’s appeared in just two dozen games above Class-A in his career and played primarily at Stockton last season. The 23-year-old Michaud was drafted in the 33rd round in 2013 and looked good at Vermont early last season but had a tough time after being promoted to Beloit. Also 23, Vail has mostly struggled since being selected by the A’s in the 5th round of the 2010 draft. He posted a career 4.56 ERA over 290 innings in the A’s minor league system.
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