Gregerson, Neshek and Cespedes: Where Are They Now?

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There’s going to be some familiar faces on the mound when the Houston Astros come to Oakland. In the third day of the winter meetings, the Astros picked up Luke Gregerson, who played with the Athletics in 2014, and Pat Neshek from the A’s 2012/13 roster.

During Gregerson’s season with the Athletics he put up decent numbers and kept his ERA down to 2.12 but at a price tag of $5 million in 2014, it comes as no surprise that the A’s didn’t offer him a contract in his first free agent year. Now earning a hair over $6 million a year for the next three years in Houston, Gregerson will be joined by another former Athletic in the bullpen when Pat Neshek joins the team in his first year of free agency, earning at least $18 million over three years with plenty of incentives built in that can up that pay rate considerably.

Neshek was with the Oakland Athletics for the first two years of their Melvin-era comeback and had a combined 2.36 ERA over the course of 107.2 innings. In 2014, with the Cardinals, Neshek had a remarkable 1.87 ERA in 67.1 innings of work.

Those aren’t the only former A’s pitchers to find new work and healthy contracts. Brandon McCarthy, a fan favorite in the 2011 and 2012 campaigns, is jumping over to the Dodgers, where he has a friend in new GM Farhan Zaidi, for four years and $48 million which speaks volumes about his turnaround in 2014.

While in Arizona, McCarthy struggled on the mound and posted a 3-10 record with a 5.01 ERA in 18 starts. Once the Diamondbacks shipped him off to New York, though, he returned to form and went 7-5 with a 2.89 ERA in 14 starts.

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Then there’s the matter of Yoenis Cespedes. Yeah, that Cespedes. He’s a Tiger now. You can read that as many times as you’d like, it’s not going to put him in Oakland’s left field. Keep in mind, Cespedes was due to be traded in this off season anyway and may have ended up with any number of teams looking to contend. Of course, had Beane waited, we would have received something in return for 2015 but if the Athletics would have passed the ALDS, or the wildcard for that matter, because of Lester’s pitching, you’d all be saying he was a genius.

The sting of having Cespedes in Detroit is not lost on me, believe me, but I’m also not terribly worried about what this means for Oakland as Cespedes is quickly becoming regarded as a slightly above average hitter and not the dynamic powerhouse he was thought to be and a number of people have said publicly that they aren’t fans of his fielding (remember, a lot of those catches would have been standard plays had he not bobbled the ball all over the outfield). His on base percentage is only slightly higher than his batting average and his slugging numbers landed around the league average during his time in Boston and his homeruns per at bat dipped considerably.

Cespedes is a free agent after the 2015 season and it may be an interesting story to follow. If he has a bounce back year in Detroit, he’ll command top dollar from teams close to contention in 2016. If he stays the same or regresses, he’d be a prime candidate for a team looking for aging sluggers to have a comeback year.

As always, more moves are expected today and the rule 5 draft will be underway this afternoon. There are a handful of A’s free agents yet to be signed so we’ll see you tonight with another update.

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