To say the least Monday and Tuesday were exciting days for Oakland Athletics fans. They signed Scott Kazmir, and acquired closer Jim Johnson, outfielder Craig Gentry, Josh Lindblom and reliever Luke Gregerson over the course of the two days. We also saw the departures of Jemile Weeks, Michael Choice, and Seth Smith among others in the process. It was all a lot to process for fans, and in doing so the minor transactions of tendering contracts to arbitration eligible players was overlooked. There was some question as to whether the A’s would non-tender anyone, with the likes of Daric Barton, Jerry Blevins, Seth Smith himself, and reliever Fernando Rodriguez under consideration for being let go.
Sep 17, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics first baseman Daric Barton (10) connects at the plate during the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports
Barton went through this last year, as many thought he might be let go then, he survived that time, and did so as well this time around. Blevins has proven himself as a capable reliever, although he slipped down a bit in the depth chart last season with some mid-season struggles. That said, Blevins is a more than useful part of the bullpen, if for nothing else than the fact that he has established absolute dominance over Josh Hamilton in potentially dangerous situations.
Smith may have been the most expensive of the lot, and that may have spurred the chain of events that led to the acquisition of Gentry, and the deal for Gregerson that followed. For what he is, Seth Smith is a good player to have, but he is limited in what he can contribute. If he was to make upwards of $4MM in 2014, that would be a lot of money to pay for what he delivers, especially for the cost conscious Athletics. Gentry makes more sense on a financial level, and a flexibility level.
The unknown quantity in this equation would be Fernando Rodriguez, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, but will likely make the minimum for an arbitration eligible player, MLBTradeRumors.com projected him to earn $500,000.
Brandon Moss, Jed Lowrie, Josh Reddick, John Jaso, Pat Neshek, and Jesse Chavez were also tendered contracts, but none of them were really ever in doubt. Agreements on terms have not been made with any of the arbitration eligible players as of yet.