The Oakland Athletics’s rebuild is continuing. On Saturday, the Athletics traded catcher Christian Bethancourt to the Tampa Bay Rays for minor leaguers Cal Stevenson and Christian Fernandez.
Bethancourt is joining his fourth Major League team at the big league level. He was previously with the Atlanta Braves for three seasons from 2013 to 2015, the San Diego Padres in 2016 and 2017, and the Oakland Athletics in 2022. In the four years Bethancourt was not in Major League Baseball, he was in the minor league systems of the Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates. Bethancourt also spent over a season with the NC Dinos of the KBO League.
In 56 games, 182 plate appearances and 169 at bats in 2022, Bethancourt scored 23 runs, and had 42 hits, 11 doubles, four home runs, 19 runs batted in, four stolen bases, 10 walks, 65 total bases, twice hit by a pitch, and one sacrifice bunt. Bethancourt also had an on base percentage of .298, and a slugging percentage of .385.
Thrice this season Bethancourt collected three hits in a game. The first time came on May 11 in a 9-0 Athletics win over the Detroit Tigers. In this contest he had three singles. The second time came on June 9 in an 8-4 Athletics loss to the Cleveland Guardians. In this game, Bethancourt had one single, one double and one home run. Then the third time came on June 11 in a 10-5 Athletics win over the Guardians. In this game, Bethancourt had one home run and two singles.
Bethancourt is a 30-year-old native of Panama who can play multiple defensive positions. In fact, even though he has played 128 of his 180 career games at catcher, this season he played 31 games at first base. Bethancourt has also played 12 games in the outfield.
There is no doubt that Bethancourt is going to the better team. The Rays are currently in third place in the American League East with a record of 45 wins and 40 losses. The Athletics are currently in the basement in not only the American League West, but all of Major League Baseball, at 29 wins and 58 losses.
Even though the Rays have a respectable record, they have no chance of winning the American League East. The New York Yankees have been simply too good all year, as they are at 61 wins and 25 losses, and have a whopping 14 game lead over the second place Boston Red Sox.
Meanwhile, the Athletics continue to build toward the future with the acquisitions of Stevenson and Fernandez. Stevenson is a 25-year-old outfielder from Fremont, California. This year with the Durham Bulls of the International League, he is batting .265 with two home runs and 17 runs batted in. Fernandez is a 22-year-old right-handed pitcher from Cabimas, Venezuela. This year with the Charleston RiverDogs of A Ball, he had a record of five wins and two losses with an earned run average of 2.79.