The Oakland A’s shuffled their bullpen slightly on Friday by calling up lefty Jeremy Bleich, the team announced. To make room on the 25-man roster, they optioned righty reliever Josh Lucas back down to Triple-A Nashville. To make room on the 40-man roster, starter Andrew Triggs was transferred from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day.
This is the first time the 31-year-old Bleich has ever been called up to MLB. He’s spent the last five seasons in the upper minors for five different teams and even did some time in Independent Ball, and this year he’s pitched in 27 games for Nashville.
Bleich, 2018 AAA: 3.00 ERA, 39 ip, 38 Ks, 9 BB, 5 HR, 4.18 FIP
He signed with the A’s last winter as a minor league free agent, and here’s what I had to say about him at the time:
He’s definitely not boring. Bleich was a Yankees 1st-round pick back in 2008, out of Stanford no less. In high school, he was profiled in a Michael Lewis book. Furthermore, his grandparents were Holocaust survivors, and he pitched for Team Israel at the World Baseball Classic in 2017. After that tournament he briefly dabbled in Independent Ball before being signed by the Dodgers last April.
As for a scouting report, here’s one from the New Orleans Advocate last July:
Bleich’s fastball is now at 95 mph, up from 92. “But when you talk about his stuff, it’s that he consistently throws four pitches — fastball, curve, change and slider — for strikes,” [pitching coach Matt Herges] said. “He’s able to throw from different arm angles, which is like having six pitches. Not everybody can do that.” ... [Bleich said]: “I have been mixing angles, changing the eye level of hitters, and that has taken the pressure off some of my other pitches.”
With Bleich on board, Oakland now has a second lefty in the bullpen behind Ryan Buchter. That’s especially useful right now since Buchter pitched each of the last two days. Meanwhile, the odd man out is Lucas, who hadn’t been getting much playing time lately anyway. The 27-year-old last pitched on July 1, allowing four runs in a blowout loss to Cleveland.
Lucas, 2018 MLB: 6.28 ERA, 14⅓ ip, 14 Ks, 9 BB, 1 HR, 4.18 FIP
In order to add Bleich to the 40-man, someone had to be removed. That ended up being Triggs, who was transferred to the 60-day DL. He’s been out since May 18 so it’s already been nearly two months anyway, which means this move tells us nothing new about his status. The last update was that he has no structural damage causing the nerve irritation in his arm, but he wasn’t supposed to start throwing again (much less return to MLB action) until after the All-Star break. This appears to be a procedural move to clear roster space for immediate bullpen help.
Here’s the A’s bullpen entering the Giants series, with Edwin Jackson, Brett Anderson, and Sean Manaea on tap to start:
- Blake Treinen (R)
- Lou Trivino (R)
- Ryan Buchter (L)
- Yusmeiro Petit (R)
- Ryan Dull (R)
- Emilio Pagan (R)
- Chris Hatcher (R)
- Santiago Casilla (R)
- Jeremy Bleich (L)
There’s still plenty more depth waiting in Triple-A, as Lucas, righty Carlos Ramirez, and lefty Danny Coulombe are all on the 40-man roster. Beyond them, Bobby Wahl and J.B. Wendelken represent the chance for true impact help.
In one final note, the addition of Bleich further increases the ranks of local university alums. He joins Stephen Piscotty and Jed Lowrie as Stanford products, alongside UC Berkeley standouts Marcus Semien, Mark Canha, and manager Bob Melvin.