The Oakland A’s signed another free agent on Wednesday, inking utilityman Adam Rosales to a one-year contract, the team announced. The deal is worth $1.25 million plus another $1 million in incentives, according to Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle (Link 1, Link 2). To make room on the 40-man roster, LHP Dillon Overton was designated for assignment, reports Jane Lee of MLB.com.
Rosales played with the A’s for parts of four seasons from 2010-13, bringing a light bat but useful defensive versatility. But then last season, with the Padres, he began to hit for the first time — 13 homers, a career-high walk rate, and a 114 wRC+. He’s never hit for a high average and still didn’t in San Diego, but at least he added in some power and on-base ability. As usual, he moved all over the field on defense, playing everywhere except CF, catcher, and pitcher. (Note: He did finally get to pitch in 2015, for Texas.)
Rosales, career: 1,474 PAs, .227/.298/.367, 81 wRC+, 40 HR, 8.3% BB, 23.5% Ks
Rosales, 2016 (SD): 248 PAs, .229/.319/.495, 114 wRC+, 13 HR, 11.7% BB, 35.5% Ks, 1.9 WAR*
* average of 1.7 bWAR and 2.0 fWAR
As for roster fit, clearly we’ll have to wait until the dust settles in February to truly judge what’s going on. The A’s have some MLB-ready middle infield prospects on hand (Joey Wendle, Chad Pinder), in addition to last year’s starters Marcus Semien (SS) and Jed Lowrie (2B), though it’s not news that they wanted more help at 2B. Rosey could fit well as a utilityman, but only if they either find a new home for Lowrie or refuse to give any youngsters so much as a spot on the 25-man roster, much less playing time. Or, they could clear out a spare corner infielder, like Yonder Alonso. Stay tuned to see where this goes.
Rosales will turn 34 years old next season, and his veteran presence is praised by A’s insiders. Susan Slusser of the S.F Chronicle, quoting manager Bob Melvin: “his enthusiasm and work ethic are infectious.” Melissa Lockard of Oakland Clubhouse calls him an “A+ clubhouse guy.”
Meanwhile, it’s also tough to know what to make of Overton. He was a 2nd-round draft pick and always in the Top 10 of our Community Prospect List, but when he got his chance in MLB last year his weaknesses were exploited to a horrific degree, in particular his mid-80s velocity. By the end of the year, he’d become the all-time career leader in HR allowed per 9 innings (min. 20 career innings), and he looked every bit as bad as his stats suggest.
Overton, 2016: 7 games, 11.47 ERA, 24⅓ ip, 17 Ks, 7 BB, 12 HR, 9.15 FIP, -1.0 WAR*
* average of -1.1 bWAR and -0.9 fWAR
Even a debut that abjectly terrible doesn’t mean a pitcher has no future, and Overton will surely get another chance at some point (here or elsewhere, depending on the resolution of his DFA). But with the A’s roster getting tighter by the week, something had to give and he was one of the next-most logical options to cut. We’ll find out his fate in a week or two, most likely a trade or a waiver claim/clearing. (My guess: He clears waivers and goes back to Triple-A Nashville, but that’s far from a certainty.)