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Oakland A’s acquire Aaron Brooks, DFA Danny Coulombe

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A slight shuffle in September pitching depth.

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s acquired pitcher Aaron Brooks from the Brewers on Monday, the team announced. In exchange they sent cash considerations to Milwaukee. To make room on the 40-man roster, reliever Danny Coulombe was designated for assignment.

This is the second time that Brooks has joined the A’s organization. He was previously acquired in 2015 from the Royals, alongside Sean Manaea in the trade that sent Ben Zobrist to Kansas City. He threw 51 innings for Oakland to finish out that summer, but hasn’t appeared in MLB since.

Brooks, 2015 OAK: 6.71 ERA, 51 ip, 35 Ks, 14 BB, 9 HR, 5.11 FIP

After that season the A’s shipped Brooks to the Cubs for Chris Coghlan. After leaving Oakland, Brooks spent 2016 with the Cubs Triple-A team but missed most of the year to a hip injury. He stayed in Triple-A in 2017, split between the Cubs and Brewers systems, and posted a 6.12 ERA in 26 starts.

Most recently, now at age 28, the right-hander has been pitching for the Brewers Triple-A club in Colorado Springs. That particular team is famous for playing at an even higher altitude than Coors Field in Denver, making it a hitter’s paradise; many members of Oakland’s Nashville affiliate have endured nightmarish games at that stadium this summer. Brooks, though, has held his own.

Brooks, 2018 AAA: 3.35 ERA, 99⅓ ip, 74 Ks, 28 BB, 8 HR, 4.14 FIP

Here’s a more specific look at his home/road splits. He’s survived in the daunting environment of Colorado Springs, and downright thrived everywhere else:

Brooks, 2018 home: 4.20 ERA, 64⅓ ip, 46 Ks, 18 BB, 5 HR
Brooks, 2018 road: 1.80 ERA, 35 ip, 28 Ks, 10 BB, 3 HR

Since the A’s are acquiring Brooks in September, he won’t be eligible to play in the postseason if they are able to hang on and make it there.

In terms of his arsenal, Brooks Baseball (unrelated) reported the following for his MLB stint in 2015: four-seam, change, slider, sinker, with the fastball averaging 92 mph and topping out at 96. However, keep in mind that was three years ago and things may have changed. Their most recent data is from spring of 2017, at which point he had begun favoring the sinker (topping out 95 mph), but we shouldn’t take that exhibition action as gospel.

To make room on the roster, Coulombe was DFA’d. The left-hander has been in the organization for four seasons but has fallen out of favor this summer. He had his moments but was unable to find any consistency in the bigs, winding up with a 4.56 ERA and 5.10 FIP and toiling in Nashville for long stretches. He returned to Oakland on Saturday with the first wave of September call-ups.

Most recently Coulombe was brought in during the 2nd inning on Sunday, in relief of the “opener” Liam Hendriks, with the goal of retiring a lefty hitter to escape a jam. Instead he served up a two-run double in a game the A’s eventually lost by one.

We’ll find out over the next several days whether the southpaw stays in the organization or not. If he were to stick around for 2019 then he’d be out of minor league options.

Hot takes

I don’t really get it. Brooks was never a big prospect and he’d been terrible in the minors until this summer, when he was decent while being old for the league. The one thing I could see him offering is bulk innings, as the A’s rotation struggles to put together long appearances and the bullpen takes a leading role.

Whatever, though. He cost nothing and Coulombe didn’t seem to have much of a present or future here. There’s no real risk in this move, so anything good that comes out of it is a pure bonus.

Final note

When the A’s sent Zobrist to Kansas City, he helped the Royals win the World Series that fall. When they traded Brooks for Coghlan, the latter turned out to be a complete flop for Oakland in 2016. Coghlan returned to the Cubs later that same year in another trade and ended up winning the World Series with them.

That means Brooks was acquired by the A’s for a player who went on to win a 2015 ring, and then flipped for a player who went on to win a 2016 ring. The Brewers should put those cash considerations on some lotto tickets because they’re bound to win something.