The Oakland A’s are going to need another lefty in the bullpen if their plans come to fruition.
Right now, the hope is that A.J. Puk will be able to transition back into a starting role. The A’s plan on stretching him out to give him a chance to crack the rotation in 2023 after he proved that he can be a major league weapon in the bullpen last year. However, such a move would leave the A’s with Sam Moll, Kirby Snead, and Jake Fishman as their primary lefty options out of the bullpen.
Oakland A’s could find needed bullpen help in Lucas Luetge
Help could be available. The Yankees designated Lucas Luetge for assignment as they needed the roster spot for Tommy Kahnle, putting the lefty reliever on the market. The Yankees now have a week to trade him or place Luetge on waivers.
He is the type of piece that the A’s should pick up the phone for. Despite his underwhelming velocity, Luetge posted a stellar 2.71 ERA and a 1.249 WHiP in his 129.2 innings for the Yankees, striking out 138 batters with 32 walks. He has used his excellent command to induce plenty of weak contact as batters from either side of the plate have struggled to put the barrel of the bat on the ball.
In fact, that is Luetge’s greatest strength. His 23.5% hard hit rate was the lowest of any qualified pitcher last season as he turned his ability to miss the barrel of the bat into a weapon. With the A’s focus on defense being such a priority at this point in the rebuild, that ability to generate such soft contact could lead to his becoming a key part of the bullpen.
Chances are, Luetge would be reasonably inexpensive to acquire as well. He would not cost much financially as he is projected to earn $1.7 million in arbitration, with his overall cost making him all the more attractive to a team such as the A’s. It is simply a matter of picking up the phone.
The Oakland A’s need another lefty in the bullpen if they are going to put A.J. Puk in the rotation. One just came available in Lucas Luetge.