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September 11, 2013

Pebble Hunting

The A's and Building a Bullpen By Attrition

by Sam Miller


The other day, Ben Lindbergh and I were bantering about relievers who are all of a sudden awesome. Will Smith, Louis Coleman, Neal Cotts, some other guy whose name I have already forgotten. (Ed. note: Kevin Siegrist.) And Ben asked, as somebody always will, why teams still pay for relievers when there seem to be an infinite number of humans capable of pitching like Jonathan Papelbon for a year.

The A’s don’t pay for relievers. Their top seven this year are making about $8 million and cost almost nothing in talent to acquire. The A’s also have the second-best bullpen FRA of the post-expansion era, behind only this year’s Braves. They make it look so easy! But this incredible success is also the answer to Ben’s question. Teams still pay for relievers because the A’s way of doing things takes so much friggin' effort.

Here’s the A’s bullpen this year, listed by acquisition method instead of name:

Closer:

  • Seven-figure free agent

Set-up men:

  • Small part in big trade
  • Converted first baseman

Middle relief:

  • 28-year-old w/ almost no big-league experience picked up off scrap heap
  • 28-year-old w/ extensive big-league experience picked up off scrap heap
  • 31-year-old w/ experience picked up off scrap heap
  • Low-minors return in trade of undesirable veteran

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Related Content:  Oakland Athletics,  Relievers,  Bullpen

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<< Previous Article
Reworking WARP: Why We... (09/11)
<< Previous Column
Pebble Hunting: The Je... (09/09)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: Castin... (09/13)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (09/11)

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