MLB's hot stove season has been lukewarm, to say the least, especially when it comes to the A's. But they need arm help, especially in the bullpen.
Last year's reliever squad sang a different tune from what we heard in 2018. The A's led all of MLB with 30 blown saves last season, and that's something A's general manager David Forst wants to make sure doesn't happen again.
“We need to get better. We need to try and catch the Astros and get out of that one-game playoff,” Forst told MLB.com's Martin Gallegos. “We have a number of things to do, but addressing the bullpen is definitely at the top of the list.”
The AL Wild Card has been a thorn in the A's side in their last three playoff appearances. They've lost the wild-card game each time, including a 5-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in October.
The free agency pool for relievers not only possesses a lot of talent, but a lot of those available arms appear to be what the team goes after historically.
Daniel Hudson could be a nice fit with his experience and the way he's made an uptick in his career, despite his age (33). But that reported interest also shows that the A's recent bullpen approach hasn't been working.
“There’s a lot of talent in our bullpen,” Forst added. “I couldn’t say how many guys we need, but we have to have the depth, both starting, and bullpen, to last over a 162-game season.”
Liam Hendriks took over at the closer role last season and was sensational. He boasted a 1.80 ERA with 124 strikeouts in 85 innings. The 2019 All-Star took the place of Blake Treinen, who wasn't the same from his All-Star campaign in 2018. And we can't go without mentioning Yusmeiro Petit who had a great campaign of his own with a 2.71 ERA with a 0.81 WHIP.
Forst added he's excited about the future the Green and Gold will bring to the table -- and fans should be as well.
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Last season, top A's prospects Jesús Luzardo and A.J. Puk made short appearances out of the bullpen. But they'll join the starting rotation that will have a healthy Sean Manaea and a full season from Frankie Montas.
“We feel like we’re going to be able to contend again in 2020," Forst said. "We still have some work to do, but we like our team coming back.”