Yusmiero Petit

A's GM David Forst says bullpen improvement main priority for 2020

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A's GM David Forst says bullpen improvement main priority for 2020

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.

[RELATED: Where A's MVP finalist Semien wants to improve in 2020]

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.”

A's bring back Yusmeiro Petit for 2020, decline option on Jake Diekman

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A's bring back Yusmeiro Petit for 2020, decline option on Jake Diekman

Following the final out of Wednesday night's World Series, it became the MLB offseason. It didn't take long for the A's to make some moves.

The team announced Thursday they have exercised their 2020 club option on right-handed pitcher Yusmeiro Petit. The club declined their 2020 option on left-handed pitcher Jake Diekman.

Petit's option will guarantee him $5.5 million next season.

The 12-year veteran reliever had a sensational 2019 campaign with the A's boasting a 2.71 ERA, 0.807 WHIP with a 5-3 record in 83 innings. 

[RELATED: Doolittle, Suzuki well-deserved World Series champs]

For lefty Diekman, the decline of the mutual option will pay him a $500,000 buyout rather than a $5.75 million salary in 2020.

Diekman was acquired by the A's from the Kansas City Royals on July 27. He went 1-1 with a 4.43 ERA in 28 games in 2019 and held batters to a .215 average.

Why A's bringing back Yusmeiro Petit for 2020 MLB season is no-brainer

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Why A's bringing back Yusmeiro Petit for 2020 MLB season is no-brainer

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.

Yusmeiro Petit, RHP

Contract: $5.5 million club option for 2020 ($1 million buyout)

Reasons to bring him back

Petit has been absolutely phenomenal since signing with the A's in 2018. Last season, the right-hander went 7-3 with a 3.00 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in 93 innings. He was even better this season, going 5-3 with a 2.71 ERA and 0.81 WHIP in 83 innings.

Even at 34 years old, Petit shows no signs of slowing down. His 80 appearances this season were a career-high and led the AL. He recorded 71 strikeouts compared to just 10 walks, continuing to retire hitters with excellent location and movement, if not velocity.

Petit pitched in just about every situation imaginable this year, from multiple-inning outings to cleaning up another pitcher's mess. His value in Oakland's bullpen cannot be overstated and $5.5 million feels like a bargain for what he should provide, especially since it's only $4.5 million more than his buyout.

Reasons to let him go

Some would argue that $5.5 million is too much to pay a non-closer, especially on a low-payroll team like the A's. Others might use Petit's age against him -- he turns 35 in November.

That's really all we can come up with and neither argument holds much weight. This feels like a no-brainer.

Final verdict

Petit already has said that he would like to return to the A's next season and there is no logical reason not to pick up his option. The veteran provides tremendous versatility in the A's bullpen and just keeps getting better with age.

[RELATED: What A's must do to win West in 2020, avoid wild-card game]

Petit also is beloved in Oakland's clubhouse and has served as a mentor to many of the younger players on the team. That leadership only adds to his all-around value. The A's would be foolish to let Petit go.