The Oakland A’s bullpen is struggling lately. On Wednesday they brought up a new arm from the minors.
The A’s recalled reliever Miguel Romero, the team announced. Romero was already on the 40-man roster, but this is his first time being called up to the majors.
To make room on the active 28-man roster, fellow pitching prospect A.J. Puk was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas.
The right-handed Romero has pitched in the A’s organization since 2017, and he posted strong numbers in Triple-A in 2019. Last winter he was added to the 40-man to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, and at that time he ranked No. 26 on our Community Prospect List, though since then he’s had shaky results in 2021 including a spike in ERA and a sharp decline in strikeouts.
- Romero, 2021 AAA: 6.40 ERA, 71⅔ ip, 54 Ks, 32 BB, 14 HR, 6.63 FIP
For context, the hitter-friendly Triple-A West League has an overall ERA of 5.49, and Las Vegas has a 5.70 team mark.
The 27-year-old will get a chance in an Oakland bullpen searching for answers. Over the last 15 games the group has a 7.11 ERA, and during that time they’ve been tagged with seven blown saves and seven losses — and two of the blown saves came in the same night. They’ve allowed 28 runs in the past six games.
Almost everybody in the pen has been knocked around to some degree lately, but Puk was having a particularly rough patch. In his last seven appearances, the lefty allowed nine runs in six innings, and when called on for a couple setup opportunities he blew the lead both times. In his last outing on Tuesday he faced six batters, and five of them got hits.
- Puk, 2021 MLB: 6.08 ERA, 13⅓ ip, 16 Ks, 6 BB, 1 HR, 3.32 FIP, .306 xwOBA
He’s one of the team’s top prospects, and his peripherals (FIP, xwOBA) are encouraging to go along with velocity that averages 96 mph and tops out at 99. But for now he wasn’t retiring hitters, and the A’s will try someone new during a win-now postseason chase.
Analysis: Why not? Nothing else is working, might as well shake it up. The book isn’t closed on Puk’s lofty upside, but he lacks experience. He’s thrown less than 100 innings over the last four years combined due to various injuries, and this summer he made a significant change to his arm slot. Let’s see if he can put it together next year, and in the meantime Romero gets to make his MLB debut.
Here’s the updated roster, with the injury report below.
Sean Manaea (L)
Frankie Montas (R)
Cole Irvin (L)
James Kaprielian (R)
Paul Blackburn (R)
IL: Chris Bassitt (R)
60-IL: Mike Fiers (R)
Sergio Romo (R)
Andrew Chafin (L)
Jake Diekman (L)
Yusmeiro Petit (R)
Lou Trivino (R)
Deolis Guerra (R)
A.J. Puk (L)
Burch Smith (R)
Daulton Jefferies (R)
Miguel Romero (R)
60-IL: Trevor Rosenthal (R)
Sean Murphy (R)
Yan Gomes (R)
Austin Allen (L)
1B: Matt Olson (L)
2B: Jed Lowrie (S)
SS: Elvis Andrus (R)
3B: Matt Chapman (R)
UT: Josh Harrison (R)
UT: Tony Kemp (L)
IL: Mitch Moreland (L)
Mark Canha (R)
Starling Marte (R)
Chad Pinder (R)
Skye Bolt (S)
DH: Khris Davis (R)
IL: Stephen Piscotty (R)
IL: Seth Brown (L)
- RHP Trevor Rosenthal, OUT FOR YEAR, entire body (thoracic outlet, hip labrum)
- OF Stephen Piscotty, OUT FOR YEAR, wrist (had surgery 8/27)
- RHP Mike Fiers, 60-day IL, elbow (no structural damage; resumed throwing)
- RHP Chris Bassitt, 10-day IL, face (had surgery 8/24, long shot to return)
- DH Mitch Moreland, 10-day IL, wrist (maybe out for year?)
- OF Seth Brown, IL, COVID-19 (feeling better 9/3, at Coliseum 9/7)