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Royals claim Bubba Thompson, demote Edward Olivares

The Royals add a speedy outfielder for minor league depth

Texas Rangers v Detroit Tigers Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Royals have shuffled their outfield today as outfielder Drew Waters makes his return from the bereavement list. Outfielder Edward Olivares has been optioned to Triple-A, while outfielder Bubba Thompson was claimed off waivers.

Waters, 24, has not played since August 9. Waters has been rather underwhelming at the dish this season, failing to follow up on a strong rookie campaign last year with a slash line of .237/.297/.405, good for a 89 wRC+. He’s been better since the All-Star break, producing a 107 wRC+ in that span, albeit while striking out just shy of a third of the time. Waters played a lot of center field early in the season but has been more regularly slotted in right field over the past couple months. He will likely continue to see plenty of action in right with some occasional spells up the middle.

Olivares, 27, has frequently been played as a DH over the past few weeks as Kansas City has moved away from using him in the outfield. He hasn’t really been able to put it together in his first season with consistent big league playing time, showing some pop but little else offensively en route to a .246/.299/.401 slash line. He hasn’t homered since June 24 and will look to get back on track offensively in Omaha.

Thompson, 25, will take one of the 40-man roster spots opened at the trade deadline. Thompson was designated for assignment by the Texas Rangers last Friday after hitting just .170/.237/.283 in 60 major league plate appearances this season. He hasn’t hit much at the big league level since debuting last year, but he has a decent minor league track record, including a line of .303/.355/.474 in Triple-A last year. Thompson has excellent speed and is capable of playing all three outfield spots, but he’s not as good defensively as his range might imply. He’s got some pop but has always had troubling strikeout-walk numbers in the minors. He figures to be outfield depth for Omaha and could see some time in Kansas City this year.