The Oakland Athletics have designated left-handed relief pitcher Eric O'Flaherty for assignment to call up right-handed pitcher Aaron Brooks for his Saturday evening start against the Cleveland Indians. O'Flaherty, 30, had a 5.91 ERA in 21⅓ innings with 15 strikeouts and 13 walks allowed. Since returning from a trip to the disabled list at the start of June, O'Flaherty had a 3.14 ERA in his last 14⅓ innings with eight strikeouts and eight walks allowed.
O'Flaherty is in the final year of a two-year deal the A's gave to the pitcher recovering from Tommy John surgery. He earned $1.5 million in 2014 and $5.5 million in 2015. With around $1.8 million left on his deal, there is a reasonable chance he will be able to clear trade waivers, and could with some cash assistance be traded to another team for perhaps a low minors flyer.
If the A's do trade O'Flaherty rather than release him, a deal could look something like what the Milwaukee Brewers received for right-handed pitcher Jonathan Broxton at the non-waiver trade deadline. Broxton is earning $9 million this year and has a $2 million buyout on his 2016 mutual option. The Brewers sent Broxton and cash to the Cardinals in exchange for Malik Collymore, who is a 20-year-old playing outfield in his third consecutive season at Rookie-level ball hitting .216/.326/.378 in 23 games this season, but his .333/.403/.480 in 201 Rookie-league plate appearances last year.
O'Flaherty did make appearances for the A's beginning in July 2014. He had a 2.25 ERA in 20 innings, striking out 15 and walking four while allowing three home runs.
Aaron Brooks joins the rotation
Right-handed pitcher Aaron Brooks, 25, will start for the A's Saturday night, as expected, after the A's acquired him from the Kansas City Royals as part of the trade for infielder-outfielder Ben Zobrist. This will be his second major league start. Brooks has made 40 starts and three relief appearances in Triple-A totaling 245⅔ innings. He struck out 189 and walked 46 at that level.
Brooks has barely had a cup of coffee in the big leagues. This season he made two relief appearances, both in blowouts. A scoreless inning against the Yankees on May 15 in a 12-1 Royals win, and allowing three runs in 3⅓ innings against the Boston Red Sox in a 2-13 Royals loss.
He also made two wildly unsuccessful major league appearances in 2014 that has ballooned his career ERA to the double digit level. In his first, a relief appearance, he allowed six runs in two innings. In his second, a May 31 start, he allowed seven runs and recorded only two outs to finish the year with a 43.88 ERA after recording eight outs.