The Oakland Athletics had a solid group of relievers last season, but GM Billy Beane decided to stockpile the team with even more impact arms out of the pen looking to be a dominant team in the latter stages of a game.
The trend started with the arrivals of Jim Johnson – acquired from the Baltimore Orioles – and Luke Gregerson – from the San Diego Padres – but they have made another splash, as they have signed lefty Eric O’Flaherty to a two-year deal worth $7 million, as it has been reported by several sources.
Despite the fact that O’Flaherty is still recovering from a Tommy John surgery underwent last season – meaning that he won’t be back on the mound until July at the earliest – he was a hot commodity on the free agent market. He was linked with several other teams like the Washington Nationals and a return to the Atlanta Braves, where he became one of the most dominant relievers at the MLB level between 2009 and 2013.
The 28-year-old lefty posted a 1.99 ERA, 7.2 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 between that four-year span, and while he has been mostly used as a LOOGY, he can still be used against right-handed hitters without losing much effectiveness.
It remains to be seen in which role O’Flaherty will be used, as health will be a huge concern with him. Oakland is taking a huge risk in this deal, because if he fails to recover properly, there are chances he won’t be able to play at all this year. However, if he can come back strong, there’s no doubt that the A’s made another solid addition to their bullpen looking towards next year.