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The A’s sign Brian Fuentes

Jan 17, 2011, 9:28 AM EDT

brian-fuentes-twins Getty Images

Brian Fuentes has agreed to a two-year deal with Oakland. Fuentes posted a 2.81 ERA and 47/20 K/BB ratio over 48 innings between the Angels and Twins last season, and he absolutely kills lefties. Of course he’s more than a lefty-specialist, having worked as a closer since 2005.

We’ve heard a lot about great the back end of the Yankees bullpen is going to be next year, but how about them A’s?  They already had Andrew Bailey, and now in the past couple of days they’ve signed Grant Balfour and Fuentes. Between the three of them, Bob Geren can do whatever the heck he wants in the late innings.

  1. apbaguy - Jan 17, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    The A’s are setting up to win a lot of 1-run games this year, or at least try to. The expectation is that their offense is good enough to average 4.4 runs a game (don’t laugh, last year they averaged 4.09. The rangers averaged 4.89). The A’s gave up 3.86 runs per game, while cross-bay rivals and WS champs los Gigantes gave up around 3.55.

    This is great in theory. The problem is that the strategy rests upon two shaky pillars:
    – the young starters will further progress. History suggests young starters progress not linearly, but in an overall upward pattern that includes some backsliding. Cahill and Gio are good candidates for regression this year.
    – everyone stays healthy. Except for the bullpen, the A’s have no depth. If a starter goes down, the replacement player is a big drop from the starter, and often the replacement player is also prone to injury.

    The A’s probably won’t win 90 games, even with everyone relatively healthy. Even with the addition of DeJesus (career year), and Willingham (moving to pitchers park), there isn’t enough to the offense to overcome a bad day by the starters, whereas Texas can do that.

    Still, it’s a step forward for the team. And they still have a few bucks to spend. Hopefully they can find this year’s version of Aubrey Huff, a .910 OPS guy in a pitcher’s park who only cost $ 3m. Good luck with that.

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