Springing the A’s

Add another quality arm to a bullpen chocked full of them. Russ Springer appears close to signing a one-year, 3 million dollar deal (with incentives) and joining the Oakland Athletics. The Athletics relief corps contributed roughly 5 wins, that’s more than the Cubs, Diamondbacks, Twins, and Rays bullpens and more than the Pirates, Brewers, Cardinals, Mets, Orioles, Astros, Giants, Marlins, Nationals, and Padres combined. and only have two notable members to replace – Alan Embree (4.53 FIP) and Huston Street (3.47 FIP).

Over the last three years Springer has recorded win values of -0.1, 1.1, and 0.6, or an average of ~0.5, which puts him worth just under 2.5 million. Springer could very well see an increase in leverage situations, and thus an increase in value. Springer had a 3.51 FIP last season and moving forward CHONE projects 3.97 while Marcels spits out 4.01. We’ll say a 4 FIP and 50 innings, that puts him pretty close to being worth 3 million. It’s important to remember that Springer is going to a pitchers paradise, meaning his out-by-air methods will play better, but it’s a bit hard to imagine Springer having a sub-6% homerun per flyball percentage for the third consecutive year.

Given the current personnel in the A’s pen, we can probably expect the construction to involve Joey Devine or Brad Ziegler in the 8th and 9th, Jerry Blevins as the LOOGY – although he can face righties with more success than most left-handed pitchers – and Springer pitching in the 7th. I’m curious if Billy Beane would attempt to “build a closer” using Springer, and then potentially spin him off if the Athletics were out of contention in July.

Since the Cardinals chose against offering Springer arbitration, this move won’t signal the loss of a draft pick, leaving the Athletics in position to add Orlando Cabrera if they so choose. Such an addition would leave the Athletics creeping even closer into contention for the American League West.

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Paul Thomas
Paul Thomas

Serious question: has it been demonstrated that elite relief pitchers can limit HR/FB consistently?

Not that I’m arguing Springer is “elite,” he probably isn’t. Just curious.