Eric O’Flaherty could be in Oakland as early as Thursday, according to Bob Melvin. John Hickey of Bay Area News Group has also reported that he could be ready for this weekend. Ultimately, this means that O’Flaherty is coming, A’s fans. This also means there’s a roster move to be made.
The addition of Eric O’Flaherty to the bullpen should stregnthen what has been a shaky collection of arms in recent games. From 2011-2013, O’Flaherty posted ERAs of 0.98, 1.73 and 2.50. While the lefty is coming off of Tommy-John surgery, a return to these numbers is not out of the question. If he does, the bullpen could become what it was expected to be all season.
Adding Eric O’Flaherty to the 25-man roster means one player has to vacate Oakland. There are 2 likely options: Jeff Francis and Jim Johnson. Of the 2, Johnson makes the most sense from a performance standpoint. Yes, Jeff Francis has a 6.57 ERA in his own right, but he is the long man. His ERA carries a little less weight on the team because he is there to eat up innings. Jim Johnson and his 5.94 ERA have cost the A’s numerous victories. Francis preserves the ‘pen.
The move that is expected from A’s fans is that Johnson will be DFA to make room for Eric O’Flaherty. While getting rid of Johnson makes the most sense, there is one other factor. Johnson has a little trade value. Last month it was reported that the Marlins were close to acquiring the former closer. There may not be much demand, but it only takes one team that thinks they can fix him.
Getting anything for the $10M investment would be welcome. A PTBNL, the dollar back that Beane and Co. paid for Brad Mills or padding for chairs to prevent future injuries. Anything.
If Francis is released, expect Johnson to follow closely behind. If Johnson is the designated one, then hopefully he is picked up by a contender and we see him in the playoffs.
Tags: Oakland Athletics