In a bad year, this blog lived for the waiver wire, craved the non-tendered, and salivated over the recently cut. Friends, this is a good year.
With that, there are fewer openings on the roster to plug with an interesting story of a non-tendered guy. As it stands, the A’s have just a few openings. Catcher is an imminent need, a second baseman could be nice. The true target is pitchers, particularly of the starting variety but anyone who can eat innings is welcome. Can the A’s plug any of those holes with the recently non-tendered?
Who was non-tendered?
The full list, courtesy of MLB.com. These players are all effectively free agents, available for any team to sign.
Jonathan Schoop, 2B
Schoop was an All-Star just a few years back but struggled offensively last year on his way to posting a wRC+ of just 80. He’s been an average-ish defender over his career putting pressure on his bat to perform. When it fell off a year ago, so did his value and thus the Brewers deemed him not worthy of an arb based contract.
At just 27 years old, Schoop certainly has time to bounce back but his underlying stats make the likelihood of that a question. His groundball rate went up significantly last season, his flyball and line drive rates down, in addition to a drop in exit velocity. A lot of words to say Schoop hit bad in 2018.
Obliques are notoriously finicky, and Schoop strained his early last year. It’s an injury known for lingering, and it could be the explanation for Schoop’s uncharacteristically down year.
Should the A’s pursue? There’s a risk in most non-tendered players, but a full time guy is a tougher sell. Plus, save an unexpected Jed Lowrie return, the A’s seem committed to Franklin Barreto taking the starting role if only to settle the AN debate.
Billy Hamilton, CF
Somewhat hilariously, the A’s have multiple good options in centerfield just a year after it being one of their biggest question marks. Billy Hamilton is unbelievably fun and unbelievably not a match for this roster, even though he’s a highly talented guy who will provide a lot of value to someone.
Should the A’s pursue? Sadly no.
Shelby Miller, SP
Miller has been non-existent since our beloved Dave Stewart gave up way too much talent to acquire him three seasons ago. Much of that has been injury induced, but Miller still has the high-middle to top of the rotation talent he had when he made the All-Star game in 2015, at least from a velocity standpoint. He is a complete and total wild card and shouldn’t be counted on for much next season.
Should the A’s pursue? The A’s have roughly 15 openings in the starting rotation and one of the nice things about starting pitching is that you can stockpile players like no other position. A Miller signing wouldn’t be much of a blocker to singing others except for the minimal salary it should take and the 40-man spot it would require. Could be worth a shot!
Hunter Strickland, RP
Strickland is the kind of pitcher you hate on an opposing team, and also probably hate on your own team. But he’s talented, not all that expensive, and it would be fun to salvage a Giants castoff and strengthen an already impressive bullpen.
Should the A’s pursue? Probably not, if only because the bullpen is already remarkably full.
Kendall Graveman, SP
The A’s non-tendered Graveman, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the line for him in Oakland. He’ll miss much of 2018 and any contract he signs will have an eye on the future. The team has already expressed that he could stick around and if he’s comfortable here, why not?
Should the A’s pursue? Up to Graveman.
Mike Fiers, SP
There hasn’t been much made of a Fiers return after the A’s declined to offer him a contract, but a reunion would make sense. Fiers can eat innings and the A’s can compete. A match made in heaven, minus the tendering a contract part. Starting pitching is still expensive, and Fiers may get something approaching the $9 million he was projected in arbitration. If that happens, there’s no chance he comes back.
Should the A’s pursue? Yes, but it seems unlikely.
Luis Avilan, RP
Ryan Buchter is the only left handed pitcher on the A’s roster right now, and with Bob Melvin’s propensity to use him beyond just a LOOGY role, the A’s could stand to find another. Avilan is similar to Buchter in that while he’s best suited to face lefties, he’s not a total liability against right handers which an important trait in this dynamic bullpen. Again, space is tight but as spring comes and goes, a spot may open up.
Should the A’s pursue? Hard to see how he fits in right now, but that may become more clear during Spring.
Should the A’s pursue any of the recently non-tendered?