Report: A's Release Reliever Wuertz

As reported by the team’s official website, the Oakland A’s released reliever Michael Wuertz on Tuesday. Wuertz, 32, is now hitting the free agent market after the A’s declined to pick up $3.25 million option for 2012.

Entering the season, the A’s had hoped that Wuertz would be able to play a large role in their bullpen. Oakland added veteran relievers like Grant Balfour and Brian Fuentes prior to the season as a way of beefing up their bullpen. Having a healthy Wuertz in the mix of that ‘pen definitely would have helped, too.

Wuertz was considered one of the league’s top relievers back in 2009, after compiling 6-1 record with a 2.63 ERA during that season. In addition to his sparkling record and ERA, Wuertz racked up 102 strikeouts in just 78.2 innings that year as well.

As a reward for his stellar ’09 campaign, the A’s awarded Wuertz a two-year deal. The two seasons that followed, however, were far from Oakland’s expectations.

After making 74 appearances in ’09, Wuertz managed to make just 48 appearances in 2010 and 39 this year. After putting in a tremendous amount of work during the ’09 season, Wuertz’s final two years in Oakland are marked with various injuries and disappointments.

He spent a considerable amount of time on the disabled-list over the past two seasons, and was unable to replicate the type of success he had during the ’09 season. Wuertz’s two-year, $5.25 million deal, while not all that costing to the A’s, proved to be a bit of a bust.

You can’t place all the blame on Wuertz, who suffered through various injuries including thumb problems this year, but the A’s decision to release the reliever doesn’t come as a surprise. In the 39 appearances he made this year, Wuertz posted a disappointing 6.68 ERA over 33.2 innings.

He enters the free agent market coming off a highly discouraging season, so it’ll be interesting to see what type of market he commands this year. The A’s, meanwhile, will probably look elsewhere to strengthen their ‘pen.

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