The Oakland Athletics officially completed the signing of left-handed pitcher Rich Hill for their 2016 rotation and added him to the 40-man roster today. He will earn $6 million on his one-year deal for 2016. To clear space, the A's designated right-handed pitcher A.J. Griffin for assignment.
Tommy John surgery and a lingering shoulder issue have sidelined Griffin for the 2014 and 2015 seasons such that he was considered a longer shot than two-time Tommy John haver Jarrod Parker to make the rotation in an October offseason prospective by the Sacramento Bee. Further, last offseason's additions of starting pitchers may have pushed Griffin out of the running for a starting role even if he was healthy.
The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser spoke to Griffin after the news:
AJ Griffin doesn't sound stunned to be designated for assignment, says things just don't work out sometimes. Says he's healthy, ready to go.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) November 20, 2015
Griffin tells me that he is over the shoulder tightness that cropped up after his return from TJ surgery. Calls it a learning experience.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) November 20, 2015
AJ Griffin: "I'll miss being part of the team I got my first shot with, and the fans, they're incredible with their support."— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) November 20, 2015
There could be some interest in Griffin and with a DFA, there's still a chance #Athletics could trade him, especially if he's healthy.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) November 20, 2015
Between 2012-13, Griffin pitched 282 1/3 innings for the A's with a 3.60 ERA and a 21-11 over 47 starts. He made one postseason start, pitching five innings and allowing two runs in Oakland's memorable 2012 Game 4 ALDS walk off victory against the Detroit Tigers.