VIA TAMPA BAY RAYS COMMUNICATIONS -
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired catcher/infielder Christian Bethancourt (KRIS-chin BETH-en-court) from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for minor league right-handed pitcher Christian Fernández and minor league outfielder Cal Stevenson. To make room on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher David McKay was designated for assignment. A corresponding move to the active roster will be made when Bethancourt joins the club.
Bethancourt, 30, hit .249/.298/.385 (42-for-169) with 11 doubles, four home runs and 19 RBI in 56 games (44 starts) with the Athletics this season. He has produced an avg. exit velocity of 91.9 mph and barrel rate of 14.0 pct., according to Statcast, both of which rank in the 90th percentile in the majors. All four home runs this season have come in 23 games (20 starts) since the start of June, and he is batting .273/.317/.494 (21-for-77) over that stretch. He has thrown out 33.3 pct. (3 of 9) of attempted base stealers this season and 31.7 pct. (20 of 63) in his career (2013-22). He has spent parts of six seasons (2013-17, 2022) in the majors and has made starts at catcher (117), first base (24), designated hitter (10), right field (4) and left field (3).
Bethancourt was originally signed by the Atlanta Braves as an international free agent in March 2008. He made his major league debut in the final game of the 2013 season, striking out as a pinch-hitter in the 8th inning. He was traded to the San Diego Padres in December 2015 and spent two seasons in the Padres organization, transitioning to pitching in 2017 before returning to catching duties in the Milwaukee Brewers system in 2018. He played for the NC Dinos in the Korean Baseball Organization in 2019, did not play in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and spent the 2021 season with Triple-A Indianapolis in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. He was selected to the All-Star Futures Game in three consecutive seasons (2012-14) and was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 69 overall prospect in the minors entering the 2014 season.
Fernández, 22, signed with the Rays as an international free agent on March 23, 2016. He went 5-2 with a 2.79 ERA (58-IP, 18-ER) in 16 appearances (eight starts) for Class-A Charleston this season, transitioning from the bullpen to starting rotation on May 26. He is 11-13 with a 3.79 ERA (263.2-IP, 111-ER) in 72 apps (43 starts) over five minor league seasons.
Stevenson, 25, was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 10th round of the 2018 Amateur Draft, traded to the Houston Astros at the trade deadline in 2019 and traded to the Rays in the Austin Pruitt trade on January 9, 2020. He hit .265/.376/.353 (45-for-170) with seven doubles, two home runs, 17 RBI and nine stolen bases in 57 games for Triple-A Durham this season. Over four minor league seasons, he is batting .291/.407/.412 (319-for-1,096) with 18 home runs and 148 RBI.
PHOTO COURTESY GETTY IMAGES