The Oakland A’s are going to need to rebuild their bullpen on a budget. Here are three relievers that could fit that description.
The Oakland A’s bullpen was a strength in 2020 during the regular season. With a seemingly unending supply of quality arms, and the presence of Liam Hendriks for the ninth inning, the A’s had a buzzsaw to close out the game.
That may change in 2021. Four relievers, including Hendriks, are set for free agency. The A’s simply will not be able to keep all of them, especially given the sheer volume of free agents that they have and budgetary concerns.
As is usually the case, the A’s will need to find some bargains in free agency in places where they may not have an internal option. This includes the bullpen, as they simply may not have enough arms ready that can fill those roles.
Let’s take a look at three possible bargains that the Oakland A’s could take a look at.
The one time A’s closer could be a possible option in 2021 as well.
Sean Doolittle has struggled over the past two seasons, posting a 4.26 ERA and a 1.345 WHiP in his last 67.2 innings. While he still struck out 72 batters, his command just has not been the same as in the past His 19 walks are solid, but Doolittle has a career 1.8 BB/9 rate. Likewise, his home run rate has skyrocketed, as he has allowed 14 homers. Those struggles led to Doolittle losing the closer job at the end of the 2019 season.
He continued to struggle this year, pitching just 7.1 innings over 11 games. Those struggles could have a reason – Doolittle missed time with both right knee inflammation and an oblique injury. However, he will likely see a depressed market in light of those struggles over the past two seasons. This makes him the perfect buy low target, especially for a team that is intimately familiar with him already.
The Oakland A’s former closer could become the closer of the future. If Sean Doolittle is healthy, he could be a perfect fit.