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A’s sign reliever Cam Bedrosian to minor league contract

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New arm for the bullpen, to stash in Triple-A until needed.

Cincinnati Reds v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Triple-A Las Vegas Aviators announced their projected 2021 roster on Friday, and it included a player who we didn’t know was in the Oakland A’s organization. Probably means they signed him.

Indeed, the A’s inked reliever Cam Bedrosian to a minor league contract, reports Melissa Lockard of The Athletic.

The right-hander has quite a bit of MLB experience, pitching seven seasons out of the Angels bullpen from 2014-20 and then appearing a few times for the Reds this year. But Cincinnati designated him for assignment a couple weeks ago, and now he’s found his way back to the AL West at age 29.

His best season came in 2016, with a 1.12 ERA and 2.13 FIP in 40 innings for the Halos, and he’s been good more often than he’s been bad. His overall stats are decent or better.

  • Bedrosian, career: 3.84 ERA, 283⅓ ip, 297 Ks, 122 BB, 27 HR, 3.69 FIP

That’s a strikeout per inning, more than two per walk, and a normal homer rate, with a 111 ERA+ that’s comfortably better than league-average. He’s been fine at holding leads, with nine saves, 47 holds, and 16 blown, which is enough to show he has a bit of late-inning experience even if he’s not suddenly a closer candidate. Statcast gives him a .308 xwOBA, which is average or better, and he’s kept it within a mostly consistent range without ever being awful.

In terms of stuff, Bedrosian’s velocity used to sit 95-96 mph but now he averages more like 92-93. However, despite not throwing as hard anymore his fastball does have good spin, and leaving aside his rough April in Cincy he still got outs the last few years at the lower radar readings. He also has a wipeout slider and has begun experimenting with a promising splitter.

His health history includes Tommy John surgery back in 2011, and an operation to remove a blood clot from his arm in 2016. That second part sounds particularly scary but was reported as not being career-threatening.

Looking beyond his solid MLB numbers, Bedrosian has an even more impressive pedigree. He’s the son of Steve Bedrosian, who won the 1987 NL Cy Young as the Phillies closer amid a 14-year career. Cam was a 1st-round draft pick in 2010 out of high school in Georgia, though he was soon interrupted by TJS, and in 2017 he was named the Angels closer before a groin strain sent him to the IL a few weeks later. His full name is Cameron Rock Bedrosian, earning him the nickname Bedrock.

If he were to come up to Oakland, Bedrosian could potentially join former Angels bullpen-mate Deolis Guerra, although both routed through the National League on their way from Anaheim to the Bay Area. Guerra has pitched eight games for the A’s this year in a low-leverage role and has been effective at chewing through innings so far.

Analysis

Great pickup, and you don’t even need to squint to see why. He’s had a good career, he’s not even 30 yet, and there’s no specific reason to think his quick blip in Cincy this month is anything more than that. Honestly I don’t understand why he’s available for free, other than the declining velocity, but that’s not new and he’s continued being good so I don’t care. Yusmeiro Petit says hi.

The A’s “bought low” on a good reliever who isn’t broken, so now they have another perfectly viable MLB arm on their depth chart, maybe even a possible setup man. And on a minor league deal they don’t need to use a roster spot on him until they’re ready to call him up!

I’m also a sucker for the fun stuff in a player’s profile, like the MLB pedigree and the middle name Rock. Speaking as someone whose middle name is pronounced “Hazard,” I know what I’m talking about here, and Rock is awesome. Now that Skye Bolt and Blaze Tom are out of the picture, someone has to fill that cool-moniker void. This doesn’t actually matter in analysis, but when we’re talking about a list of theoretically interchangeable options for the 26th spot on the roster, why not put the “fun” in fungible?

Worst-case scenario, Bedrosian comes up and gets knocked around and released, little to no harm done. Or he never makes it up and we forget he was ever in Las Vegas. No risk. Best-case, and not at all unlikely, is the A’s just nabbed another quality reliever for free right when their bullpen needed some extra help.