Posted on November 30, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
Surprisingly, one of the first teams to go out and spend money this offseason has been the Oakland Athletics. Monday night, the A’s reached a deal with free agent relief pitcher Yusmeiro Petit on a two-year deal worth $10 million. According to reports, there is also a club option for the 2020 season worth $5.5 million.
Petit has been largely overlooked by pundits this winter. But he’s actually coming off the best season of his career. As a member of the Angels in 2017, Petit posted a career-low 2.76 ERA. He threw 91.1 innings in 60 appearances while averaging better than a strikeout per inning. He also posted a WHIP below 1 for the first time in his career. Opposing batters hit .207 against Petit, another career-low for the 33-year old righty. Coming off a season like that, it’s clear that Petit has plenty left in the tank after 10 big league seasons and one year pitching in Mexico.
Signing with Oakland brings Petit back to the Bay Area. Following his season in Mexico, the Venezuelan native was with the San Francisco Giants from 2012 to 2015. During the 2014 season, he set a major league record by retiring 46 batters in a row across several appearances. He then made four postseason appearances, allowing just two runs over 12.2 innings. Petit was credited with three wins during the playoffs while helping the Giants win the World Series.
The addition of Petit further signals Oakland’s attempt to rebuild their bullpen this offseason. Last summer, the A’s traded away Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson, two players who are still under contract with the Washington Nationals. The A’s were able to add Blake Treinen in that trade to help anchor their bullpen. But Oakland was still in need of reinforcements this winter for one of the worst bullpens in the American League last year.
Earlier this offseason, the A’s added reliever Emilio Pagan when they traded Ryon Healy to the Mariners. That makes Petit their second bullpen addition of the winter. Petit will likely join Treinen and Santiago Casilla at the back end of Oakland’s bullpen. Meanwhile, Pagan will join the likes of Daniel Coulombe, Liam Hendriks, and Ryan Dull in trying to give the A’s quality depth in their bullpen.
Petit’s contract appears to be a great sign for the other relievers on the open market this winter. He was not considered one of the top relievers available. However, Petit was given a multi-year contract worth an average of $5 million per season. That could set up closers like Wade Davis or Greg Holland to receive four- or five-year deals. Meanwhile, second-tier relievers like Addison Reed, Mike Minor, and Jake McGee, among others, could be set up for three- or four-year offers.
Of course, the A’s are unlikely to sign any of the frontline relievers. But if Petit performs the way he did last season, he could be a bargain and an important part of their bullpen. As it stands, the A’s have a chance to have a solid bullpen, but nothing too special. The signing of Petit may not be the last move they make to help improve their bullpen for 2018. However, he should prove to be a useful addition to Oakland’s bullpen at a fair price.