What Adam Kolarek brings to the Oakland A’s

On Friday, the Oakland A’s made a somewhat surprising trade. Sheldon Neuse had been shipped to the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he may finally get a chance at the major league level. In exchange, the A’s received left handed reliever Adam Kolarek, with a pair of minor leaguers changing sides.

At 32 years old, Kolarek is clearly a player that the A’s are looking at to help them win now. A left handed reliever, and a key part of the Dodgers bullpen last year, he can be a part of the solution as the A’s rebuild their bullpen on the fly.

What Adam Kolarek brings to the Oakland A’s

Kolarek was a solid enough pitcher during his time with the Rays, but he found another level in Los Angeles. In his 46 games spanning 30.2 innings, he posted a 0.88 ERA and a 0.848 WHiP, striking out 22 batters with just six walks.

While his strikeout numbers may not be impressive, Koralek has still become a force in the bullpen. He has become one of the elite groundball pitchers in the game, with a 63.3% ground ball rate. With his funky delivery, it is not a surprise that he has dominated left handed hitters, holding them to a .176/.217/.248 batting line with two homers and nine doubles in 221 plate appearances, issuing five walks while striking out 43 batters.

His acquisition also deepens a bullpen that had been weakened in free agency. Jake Diekman was the only lefty who was guaranteed a role in the bullpen, but he had also been penciled in as the closer. Nik Turley could hypothetically have a role, but he has not exactly been productive in his time in the majors.

Acquiring Kolarek is not going to be the type of move that makes headlines, even in Oakland. Chances are, Neuse being traded will get the majority of the attention. But Kolarek can help the A’s in their quest to retain the AL West crown.

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The Oakland A’s got a badly needed piece for their bullpen in Adam Kolarek. While he may not be a major splash, he could be a key part of their late inning mix.