When the A’s make moves this offseason, they do so in a flurry.
In the span of a few minutes on Sunday afternoon, the A’s reached one-year contract agreements with veteran right-handed relievers Yusmeiro Petit and Sergio Romo, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported, citing sources.
Petit continues to thrive in the twilight of his career, improving his ERA each of the past three seasons with the A’s. He posted a 1.66 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 21 2/3 innings in 2020 while maintaining his reputation as a reliable reliever who can be used in virtually any set-up situation. Multiple innings, batters from both sides of the plate, pressure situations -- nothing seems to faze the 36-year-old Petit.
A's ace Chris Bassitt was clearly happy to hear Petit reached an agreement to return to Oakland.
Romo spent last season with the Minnesota Twins and still totes that frisbee slider that made him famous with the Giants during their World Series title runs last decade. The 37-year-old threw the pitch 64.6 percent of the time last season, according to Fangraphs, which is the highest for any season of his career. He finished with a 4.05 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and a 23-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio last year for the Twins.
The A’s have found some good bang for their buck in their bullpen in recent seasons. Last year’s playoff run was fueled by one of the best relief corps in the game that buoyed an inconsistent rotation and helped lock down any late leads.
With the departure of closer Liam Hendriks and setup man Joakim Soria via free agency, the A’s have had to shore up the bullpen in recent days. First came Friday’s acquisition of southpaw Adam Kolarek, and now the A’s have added a couple of seasoned vets to solidify the group.
As it stands now, Jake Diekman is the favorite to be the closer. Kolarek will probably be the group’s top southpaw setup man while power arms J.B. Wendelken and Lou Trivino could have an in-house battle to take over the eighth inning as well. Look for Petit to continue to be the top long-man option in the bullpen, while he and Romo figure to be used situationally throughout the year.
The crowded bullpen also puts more pressure on unproven relievers like Jordan Weems and Burch Smith to perform well in spring training this season to break camp with the big-league club. The competition starts soon with pitchers and catchers due to report to Mesa, Ariz., on Wednesday.