You may not have noticed, but the Oakland A's acquired a major league player today. They swung a trade with the Washington Nationals for left-handed relief pitcher Fernando Abad, who...I've honestly never heard of. I've heard of him now, though, and he might not be abad player to have.
Abad spent three seasons with the Houston Astros (2010-2012), and he was pretty terrible. He put up a 5.10 ERA in 84⅔ innings, allowed 14 home runs, and posted a K:BB ratio of only 1.97. However, the 27-year-old was much better for the Nationals in 2013: 3.35 ERA, three home runs in 37⅔ innings, 3.20 K:BB. Now we're talking about a guy who I wouldn't mind seeing in Oakland's bullpen. A quick look at Fangraphs suggests an obvious reason for his improvement -- his average fastball velocity went up from 90.1 mph to 93.1 mph.
With Grant Balfour all but certain to leave via free agency, Sean Doolittle is the popular pick to replace him as the closer. The addition of Abad would give Oakland a new southpaw in the pen to go with Jerry Blevins. Federal Baseball reports that Abad displayed a perplexing reverse platoon split last season, but his career shows a normal split: 851 OPS vs righties, 727 vs lefties. In addition to his improved fastball, Abad throws a change-up and a curveball.
In exchange for Abad, the A's sent minor league outfielder John Wooten to the Nationals. No, not the legendary UCLA basketball coach. Wooten, with a "T." Wooten was a 37th-round pick in 2012, so that's why you probably haven't heard of him. The 22-year-old hit 20 homers in Single-A Beloit last year and showed a bit of plate discipline. The price tag for Abad was low because he had already been designated for assignment by Washington. He is arbitration-eligible after the 2014 season, and can become a free agent after 2017.
And that is literally everything I know about Abad. Oh yeah, it's pronounced "uh-BOD." Got anything to add? Leave it in the comments!