The Oakland Athletics signed Drew Rucinski last offseason in hopes that he could eat some innings and provide some stability for their rotation. Neither of those things happened though as Rucinski battled injury throughout and ended up tossing 18 ineffective innings.
The Athletics signed Rucinski to a one-year, $3 million deal last December. The deal also included a $5 million club option for the 2024 season.
What were the expectations?
The A’s brought in Rucinski after he put up four solid seasons in the KBO in which he tossed at least 177 1⁄3 innings. The Athletics brought him in to eat innings for the rotation and his presence was part of the thinking on the decision to trade Cole Irvin to Baltimore.
The results simply weren’t there for Rucinski though as he suffered a hamstring injury during the spring that caused him to miss the start of the season. He wouldn’t debut until April 28 and would make just four starts while allowing 18 runs in 18 innings. He got sick and was placed back on the injured list and then suffered a knee injury while ramping up for his return. Later an MRI showed an issue with his hip and lower back. He underwent season-ending surgery in July.
What went right? What went wrong?
Basically nothing went right for Rucinski or the A’s after his signing. When he was healthy enough to pitch he was ineffective which was a disappointing outcome given that his signing looked intriguing after his success in the KBO.
The A’s declined Rucinski’s club option for 2024 and his outlook isn’t clear. His litany of injuries puts his playing career in question, not to mention that he will turn 35 in December. If he can show that he is healthy, it wouldn’t be terribly surprising to see him latch on somewhere on a minor league deal. Given last season, that feels like a big “if”.