Heading into this season, Oakland’s primary strength is going to be its starting pitching, but the bullpen is shaping up to be one of baseball’s finest as well. The A’s have already made a move to sign reliever Grant Balfour, who really bolsters the ‘pen, but the A’s are now in the running to land free-agent closer Brian Fuentes. If the A’s are successful in their pursuit to land Fuentes, who saved 24 games last season while splitting time between the Angels and Twins, then they’ll boast one of the best bullpens in the game.
According to a report by FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi, the A’s are ‘pushing’ to sign Fuentes. According to Rosenthal and Morosi, however, the Blue Jays are also serious suitors for Fuentes’ services.
The A’s have been very aggressive this offseason, as the team has already added to their pitching depth with the acquisitions of Rich Harden, Brandon McCarthy, and Balfour. The team’s offense is also improved too, with the additions of DH Hideki Matsui, and outfielders David DeJesus and Josh Willingham.
If the A’s add Fuentes, they’ll probably use him as a set-up man for closer Andrew Bailey. They could also have Fuentes close a few games for them as well if they wanted to. Either way, adding Fuentes would really bolster a ‘pen that already includes Bailey, Craig Breslow, Jerry Blevins, Joey Devine, Michael Wuertz, and Brad Ziegler.
The A’s, who have some financial flexibility this offseason after missing out on 3B Adrian Beltre, could still add a right-handed bat before the start of the season as well. According to Rosenthal and Morosi, Fuentes would probably command a two-year deal worth around $12 million.
What Fuentes would bring to the A’s would be depth, and depth can go a long way in this league. The A’s could even move around one their arms in the hopes of acquiring an impact hitter. Adding Fuentes would make trading away one of the other arms in the bullpen a little less difficult to do. Either way, A’s fans should certainly be excited about this potential deal…
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