There may be a number of you reading this who have absolutely no clue who Mike Ekstrom is. That’s okay, I won’t judge you for that. Allow me to enlighten you if that is the case. Mike Ekstrom was signed by the Oakland Athletics on October 29th after being released by the Colorado Rockies earlier in the month.
Ekstrom has been on a very similar career path to that of current Athletic Evan Scribner. Both passed through the San Diego Padres organization at one point in their careers, and both have had trouble finding success at the Major League level consistently. Ekstrom appeared in 15 games in 2012 with the Rockies, pitching 15.2 innings and posting an ERA of 6.32. He allowed 21 hits, but only walked 2 batters.
Much like Scribner, Ekstrom throws his fastball in the low 90’s along with a changeup and a slider to go along with it. His signing came as a very unheralded move, and he’ll go into Spring Training looking to impress the Athletics brass in hopes of breaking camp with the big league squad.
Evan Scribner began the season solidified as the team’s mop up reliever, an he did an admirable job in that role. As the season progressed Scribner began to be called upon in more and more situations with higher stakes. Scribner performed well in those situations as well. His finest moment came in game 162 against the Texas Rangers. Starter A.J. Griffin struggled against the Rangers tough lineup and put the A’s in a deep hole. Scribner came in and gave the A’s 3 stellar innings that set up their dramatic comeback, and helped propel them to their AL West championship.
Ekstrom could absolutely begin the 2013 season in very much the same type of role Scribner began 2012 in. Billy Beane is known for being able to find value in under appreciated relief pitchers. He did it multiple times in 2012 with Scribner and Pat Neshek being added for next to nothing. In the past, relievers like Craig Breslow, Chad Bradford, and Brad Ziegler went from unnoticed players, to critical pieces in a solid bullpen. There’s no reason to believe Ekstrom doesn’t have a chance to join that same class of relief pitcher plucked from the scrap heap.