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Elephant Rumblings: A’s bolster bullpen depth with Patton signing

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MLB: Texas Rangers at Baltimore Orioles Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday, AN!

With the starting pitching struggling to make it deep into games so far in the season, the bullpen has been asked to pick up the slack. In only six games the bullpen has thrown 27.2 innings, fifth in the AL but three of the teams ahead of them have played a full extra game.

That’s why the A’s signed veteran journeyman reliever Spencer Patton to a minor-league deal yesterday. Patton, who just turned 35, gives the A’s another experienced candidate for their bullpen as he’s pitched 5 seasons in MLB and four years overseas in Japan.

Patton had little success in his first go-around in North American baseball for the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers but improved once heading across the Pacific. In four seasons pitching in the Nippon league, he threw to a 3.68 ERA in 205 23 innings, all out of the bullpen.

He finally made his way back to the states in 2021 for another stint with the rival Rangers and had his first successful big-league season when he made 42 appearances and pitched to a 3.83 ERA. Not eye-popping numbers but a decent enough middle reliever. That kind of player has value in baseball.

The 2022 season wasn’t as kind to the right-hander. After making seven appearances he was placed in the injured list due to an oblique strain, a notoriously difficult injury to overcome. He did finally make it back into game action that year but only for Texas’ Triple-A squad. His final season stats don’t tell the whole picture of his 2022 season, either. He was mostly solid for them for a majority of the year but got absolutely destroyed in the final couple weeks of the season, raising his ERA from a respectable 3.42 to a ghastly 6.44.

For a bullpen light on experience and age, Patton brings both of those to the organization. He’s been assigned to Triple-A Las Vegas for now but he’s now only a phone call away from joining the A’s inexperienced bullpen. Don’t be shocked to see him brought up at some point this summer, or perhaps earlier if he gets back to his ‘21 level.

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