The Oakland Athletics have claimed right-handed pitcher Nick Tepesch off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers, designating left-handed pitcher Eric Surkamp for assignment, the club announced Monday. Tepesch, 27, has a 4.68 ERA in 43 games, 40 as a starter and three as a reliever.
Eric Surkamp has made nine starts for the A’s, who have struggled with starting rotation injuries in 2016. Surkamp has a 6.98 ERA this year, averaging 4.3 innings per start. Surkamp was demoted last Saturday to open a space on the roster for Dillon Overton, as the A’s are expecting Sean Manaea back on Wednesday and Rich Hill on Saturday.
The club will likely option Tepesch to Triple-A Nashville once he reports to the organization. Oakland’s current long reliever, Zach Neal, is the eighth reliever out of the bullpen and is a candidate for demotion when Sean Manaea is activated. Including injured starters Henderson Alvarez, Manaea, and Hill, Tepesch probably slots in as Oakland’s eighth starting pitcher, ahead of Neal and Surkamp.
It’s one of those moves that should make the A’s marginally better at the back end of the 40-man roster, though the promotions of Manaea, Mengden, and Overton probably will reduce the need to use the eighth starter for awhile. Surkamp only got nine starts because those prospects were not yet deemed ready for the major leagues earlier in the season and further injuries forced Oakland to use Surkamp more recently.
Tepesch has two option years remaining and has two years, 137 days service time. Tepesch can only become arbitration eligible if he reaches three years service time, or 36 more days. If he does not, he would not be eligible even under the Super Two arbitration rule, as players must accrue at least 86 days of service time to obtain the benefit of that rule.