We are still a few weeks away from Major League Baseball’s offseason kicking into gear, but the Oakland Athletics will have some decisions to make at various points this winter. The A’s will have five players who are arbitration eligible and they will have to decide whether or not to tender them contracts. Before we get to the list, the number was actually six before reliever Austin Pruitt was designated for assignment and elected free agency.
MLB Trade Rumors released its annual arbitration projections earlier this month and the numbers for the A’s are in parenthesis below.
Sean Newcomb ($1 million)
Newcomb pitched well enough at the end of the season that tendering him a contract should be little more than formality. He appeared in seven games, including two starts, and posted a 3.00 ERA and a 4.06 FIP in just 15 innings before a knee sprain ended his season. I’m skeptical that he can be a quality starter, but he could be a quality addition to the bullpen.
Paul Blackburn ($3.2 million)
The biggest number on this list is Paul Blackburn who is arbitration eligible for the second time. The start of Blackburn’s season was delayed by injury, but he ended up making 20 starts. He pitched pretty well for a stretch, but struggled at the end. Still, he had a 4.43 ERA and a 3.96 FIP and is as close to a veteran starter as the team has. Blackburn has one more year of team control in 2025 so it wouldn’t be surprising to hear his name come up in trade discussions this winter.
Carlos Perez ($1.2 million)
Carlos Perez is probably the most likely non-tender candidate on this list. He had some good moments in 2023, but with Shea Langeliers entrenched as the starter, Tyler Soderstrom waiting in the wings and Kyle McCann Rule 5 eligible, their probably isn’t room on the 40-man roster for Perez.
Seth Brown ($2.4 million)
Brown failed to follow up his lofty 2022 season, but had his best month in September. Given the amount of outfielders Oakland has, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him shopped this winter. They could certainly use his offense, but with younger and better defensive options available, it isn’t hard to see a scenario where he gets edged out.
James Kaprielian ($1.5 million)
An interesting decision will also need to be made on James Kaprielian who underwent season ending shoulder surgery in early August. That was Kaprielian’s second shoulder procedure since December of 2022. He made 11 starts and 14 appearances at the major league level, but struggled with a 6.34 ERA and a 5.08 FIP in 61 innings. Even worse, he had a noticeable drop in his fastball velocity.