It has been a busy transactional year for O’Brien, who was traded by the Diamondbacks to the Royals in January. He has been claimed off waivers three times in the last five weeks, spending time in Triple-A with the Reds and Rangers in addition to Kansas City.
O’Brien is a feast-or-famine, right-handed power hitter, with one home run every 19.1 plate appearances in his minor league career, coupled with a 27.4% strikeout rate.
O’Brien, who turns 27 on July 15, was hitting just .167/.254/.301 with six home runs in 48 minor league games in 2017, with 62 strikeouts and 21 walks in 209 plate appearances.
He spent parts of 2015 and 2016 in the majors with Arizona, hitting .176/.228/.446 in 36 games, with six home runs and 32 strikeouts in 79 plate appearances.
O’Brien is headed for Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Wheeler was acquired from the Twins for cash on June 2, and pitched in three games with Oklahoma City, allowing 11 runs on 16 hits in 8⅔ innings, with three strikeouts and two walks.