The Oakland A’s will turn their attention to shoring up their bullpen. Will Harris could provide great value if Oakland is willing to pay him.
The Athletics’ went into the 2019 season with a bullpen they felt great about. Things took a drastic turn very quick as Blake Treinen, Lou Trivino, Joakim Soria and Fernando Rodney all regressed. We take a look at how Will Harris can help start to mend the bullpen back together for the 2020 season.
The A’s 2019 bullpen struggled most of the season. Liam Hendriks and Yusmeiro Petit seemed to carry them all season long. A.J. Puk and Jesus Luzardo coming up late in the season helped a lot and both will be great next season.
As of now the locks to be in the bullpen are Petit, Hendriks, Puk, Luzardo and Soria. That’s three right-handers and two left-handers. But the twist here will be Puk and Luzardo will eventually hit the starting rotation in the future.
Harris is a veteran that is coming off a good season with Houston. He pitched in 68 games and registered a 1.50 ERA and struck out 62 batters in 60 innings pitched. He could be the perfect replacement if the team decides to trade Treinen.
Treinen is scheduled to make close to $8 million dollars in arbitration. Could he bounce back from his down 2019 season? Perhaps, but there is also the fact that he may never get back to his 2018 self and that’s a large amount to pay for his 2019 season stats.
The A’s are very frugal, but they’ve always shown a willingness to spend on their bullpen. If Harris went for a 3-year $21 million deal, I would jump on that quick. For people who are concerned of him dropping off, his career ERA is still at 2.84, which is very good.
The big difference between Treinen and Harris is Treinen has one year of good success. Harris has had consistent success. Sustainability is the hardest thing in sports and having two arms you can trust in the middle in Petit and Harris would be huge for Oakland.
One thing that could help Oakland as well is Harris knows Houston. That makes the signing even better, as he can give the A’s someone who can counteract the Astros game plan. Which may or may not include banging on a trash can to signal a change-up is coming?
Looking at regular stats, you’d say the A’s had a good bullpen last season. They had a 3.89 ERA which was seventh in the league, but they blew 31 saves. That was tied for the league lead with the Boston Red Sox.
Harris would go a long way in helping the bullpen build back up to being elite. Trading Treinen as rumored there shopping him would help absorb the blow the payroll will take. Oakland has been aggressive in the past looking for arms out of the bullpen and this signing would be well worth the risk.