The Oakland A’s are going to be able to save a little more money on A.J. Puk due to a matter of days.
The service time mark for Super Two players was announced on Monday. Those players who had accumulated two years and 128 days of major league service time became eligible for arbitration, earning an additional payday while teams still retained that year of control.
Oakland A’s getting A.J. Puk cheaply for another year
That line of demarcation made a difference for the Oakland A’s. A.J. Puk has two years and 124 days of major league service time, falling four days short of that requirement. He will now have his contract renewed and make far less than he otherwise would have.
This is a distinct victory for the A’s. Puk had emerged as a key part of their bullpen last season, posting a 3.12 ERA and a 1.146 WHiP over his 66.1 innings, striking out 76 batters with 23 walks. Not only was he one of the A’s better relievers, but his 1.2 bWAR was tied for seventh amongst any player on the roster.
Chances are, Puk will be counted on to fill a similar role in 2023. While there has been some chatter about Puk getting a look in the rotation, it makes sense to keep him in a role where he has had success. That should mean that he remains part of the A’s relief corps, filling a vital role in the late innings.
And it is a role he will continue to do at a minimal rate. The A’s have been trying to save money at every turn, with the idea of players receiving more than the league minimum somewhat laughable. As Puk is now below that Super Two line, he has probably survived an offseason of trade rumors for at least one year.
A.J. Puk missed the Super Two line by four days. It is a win for the Oakland A’s budget as his contract can just be renewed for 2023.