Athletics

How six free agents A's let go in offseason have fared with new teams

How six free agents A's let go in offseason have fared with new teams

The A's faced some challenging decisions this past offseason as they tried to determine which of their eight free agents to bring back.

Oakland ultimately re-signed only Brett Anderson and Edwin Jackson, though Jackson was recently traded to Toronto. The A's allowed their other six free agents -- Trevor Cahill, Jeurys Familia, Matt Joyce, Shawn Kelley, Jed Lowrie and Jonathan Lucroy -- to sign elsewhere.

Here's a look at how they've fared with their new teams this season:

Trevor Cahill

Cahill signed a one-year, $9 million contract with the Angels and it has not paid off for Los Angeles.

The 31-year-old right-hander is 2-4 with a 6.43 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in 49 innings. He has already allowed 14 home runs, tied for second-most in the majors.

From the very moment the Angels signed Cahill, the deal seemed destined to fail. Sure, he had a nice bounce-back season for the A's last year, going 6-4 with a 3.76 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, but much of that was due to pitching in the Oakland Coliseum. On the road, his ERA was 6.41.

Clearly, the A's made a wise decision letting Cahill go for that price.

Jeurys Familia

Familia returned to the Mets on a three-year, $30 million deal and it has not worked out, at least so far.

The 29-year-old reliever is 2-0 but has a 6.50 ERA and 1.89 WHIP in 18 innings. Familia's biggest issue has been his lack of control, as he has already issued 14 walks. His command was also an issue at times last year, as he surrendered 14 walks in 31 1/3 innings with Oakland.

The A's were never going to re-sign Familia for $10 million per year, and it appears the organization made the right call.

Matt Joyce

Joyce initially signed a minor-league contract with the Indians but was released and signed another minor-league deal with the Giants.

San Francisco then traded the 34-year-old to Atlanta, where he has actually had some success in limited action. Joyce is slashing .250/.340/.477 with two home runs and five RBI in 44 at-bats. He was injured for much of last season and really didn't have a spot to play in Oakland, finishing the year with a .208/.322/.353 slash line.

The A's have plenty of younger options in the outfield, so they haven't missed Joyce at all. Still, it's nice to see him getting a chance on a major league club.

Shawn Kelley

Kelley signed a one-year contract with the Rangers worth $2.75 million. To this point, the veteran right-hander has been a bargain, going 3-0 with three saves and 1.80 ERA. He has struck out 12 batters in 15 innings, issuing just one walk.

Kelley, 35, recently had a health scare when he had to undergo surgery to remove multiple lumps from his vocal cords. Fortunately, the growths were benign, and he has since returned to the mound for Texas.

Kelley was outstanding after joining the A's last August, recording a 2.16 ERA and 0.78 WHIP in 16 2/3 innings. He's probably the one free agent Oakland regrets letting go.

Jed Lowrie

Lowrie signed a two-year, $20 million deal with the Mets this past offseason after a career-year in Oakland.

Unfortunately, the 35-year-old has yet to play a single game this season, due to injuries. Lowrie missed all of spring training and the start of the regular season with a sprained knee capsule. Now. he is dealing with a strained hamstring and is expected to be out until at least June.

The A's have certainly missed Lowrie's bat in their lineup, although Jurickson Profar is finally starting to heat up. Based on Lowrie's age, price tag and injuries, it appears Oakland made the right decision in letting him walk.

[RELATED: California state assembly passes A's new stadium bill; state senate next]

Jonathan Lucroy

Lucroy signed a one-year contract with the Angels worth $3.35 million and he has made it worth their while.

The 32-year-old catcher is slashing .265/.326/.439 with six home runs and 21 RBI. Last season in Oakland, Lucroy only hit four homers all season, while slashing .241/.291/.325.

His value certainly went beyond the numbers, as he guided the A's pitching staff to a stellar season despite numerous injuries.

Even with Lucroy's success this season, the A's have actually received more production from their catchers. Josh Phegley is slashing .276/.317/.474 with five home runs and 28 RBI, and Nick Hundley has added two homers of his own.

Why A's should either trade or non-tender All-Star Blake Treinen

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Why A's should either trade or non-tender All-Star Blake Treinen

Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine 10 A's players who may or may not return to Oakland next season. For each player, we will provide reasons why the A's should bring him back and reasons why they should not, followed by a final determination.

Blake Treinen, RHP

Contract: Final year of arbitration (projected to get $7.8 million after earning $6.4 million this season)

Reasons to bring him back

In 2018, Blake Treinen enjoyed one of the greatest seasons in MLB history. The right-hander went 9-2 with 38 saves and a 0.78 ERA, notching 100 strikeouts in 80 1/3 innings.

Unfortunately, Treinen followed that up with the worst season of his career, going 6-5 with a 4.91 ERA in 2019, ultimately losing the closer job to Liam Hendriks. Still, Treinen's stuff looked dominant at times and he could certainly bounce back in 2020.

Treinen is still just 31 years old and should have some productive years ahead of him. His fastball averaged 97 mph this season with explosive movement. If he can improve his command, Treinen could still be a productive reliever moving forward.

Reasons to let him go

Treinen is coming off an incredibly disappointing season. He entered the year as one of the top closers in baseball, but quickly lost his closer job due to injury and poor performance.

Treinen's 4.91 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, and 5.14 FIP were all career worsts, as were his 37 walks in just 58 2/3 innings. He saw his season come to a premature end when an MRI revealed a stress reaction in his back. And pitchers and back injuries don't mix well (see: Marco Estrada). Tendering Treinen a contract would be a major risk.

Final verdict

Treinen could very well return to being an effective relief pitcher, but the A's can't afford to take that chance for nearly $8 million. That money would be better spent on multiple relievers to help shore up the team's shaky bullpen.

[RELATED: A's stay or go candidate for 2020 season: Jake Diekman]

Between Treinen's on-field struggles and the injury concerns, Oakland would be better off seeking an offseason trade of its former All-Star closer. If the A's can't get a deal done, look for a non-tender.

Why Jake Diekman's command issues could mean A's move on in offseason

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Why Jake Diekman's command issues could mean A's move on in offseason

Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine 10 A's players who might or might not return to Oakland next season. For each player, we will provide reasons why the A's should bring him back and reasons why they should not, followed by a final determination.

Jake Diekman, LHP

Contract: $5.75 million mutual option for 2020 ($500,000 buyout)

Reasons to bring him back

Diekman's stuff is undeniable. The 32-year-old left-hander boasts a 96-mph fastball along with a wicked slider, making him a tricky at-bat for right-handed and left-handed hitters alike.

Despite a 1-7 record and 4.65 ERA this season, Diekman notched 84 strikeouts in just 62 innings. For his career, he has averaged 11.2 punchouts per nine innings.

Another reason to keep Diekman is Oakland's lack of left-handed relievers. Jesús Luzardo and A.J. Puk both figure to move to the starting rotation next year and Ryan Buchter's return is far from certain. As a result, Diekman could be the only southpaw in the A's bullpen.

Reasons to let him go

While Diekman's strikeout numbers were highly impressive, his lack of command became a major issue down the stretch. He walked 39 batters this season, including 16 in 20 1/3 innings with the A's.

That contributed significantly to Diekman's disappointing 1.42 WHIP and 4.65 ERA. For $5.75 million, you'd have to think the A's would want someone more consistent and reliable in the late innings.

[RELATED: A's 3B coach Williams will manage in Korea next season]

Final verdict

Oakland is unlikely to bring Diekman back next season for a couple of reasons. Far too often, he just doesn't know where his pitches are going. Throughout his career, Diekman has averaged five walks per nine innings. That's a serious problem for a setup man.

The other factor is Diekman's $5.75 million price tag. That is a high figure for any non-closer, but particularly worrisome for a setup man who has proven to be inconsistent.

The A's would probably be wise to spend that money elsewhere.