It’s game on in Oakland.

Very, very quietly, the Oakland A’s have had a very solid offseason. They have improved their offense with the additions of Hideki Matsui, David DeJesus and Josh Willingham (loved that move by them), and now they are really improving their already-existing solid bullpen.


Fuentes is the latest reliever signed by the A’s


To go along with Brad Ziegler, Craig Breslow, Jerry Blevins and Andrew Bailey, the A’s added Grant Balfour last week and now they have signed LHP Brian Fuentes.

According to the Associated Press, the A’s have signed Fuentes. Official terms of the deal haven’t been announced yet, but Ken Rosenthal believes it will be a two-year deal with a $5 million option for a third year. It looks like the first two years will be around $5 million annually for Fuentes.

Anyone who has visited this site on a consistent basis knows that I have always viewed Fuentes as a setup man/closer on a small market team rather than a closer on a World Series-contending team. So the fact that Fuentes will be primarily a setup man to Bailey and will occasionally close games—it’s the perfect role for him.

This is really a good signing by the A’s.

Last year with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Minnesota Twins, Fuentes compiled a 2.81 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 8.8 K’s/9, 3.8 BB’s/9 and a 22.8 Groundball Percentage in 48 total IP. Fuentes was really tough on lefties, holding them to a .128/.222/.149 with ZERO HR’s in 55 plate appearances.

Listen, is Fuentes a lock down reliever?

No, not by any stretch of the imagination. At this point in his career, he can’t get right-handed batters out and he will walk his fair share of batters. He is one of those relievers that will walk two and give up a hit in the ninth, but somehow gets out of the inning unscathed.

I also like this move for Oakland because it does give them some insurance if Bailey is not ready for Opening Day. I wrote last week that it appears all systems go for Bailey, but if he suffers a set back, Fuentes or Ziegler could fill in.

Now, can people complain about the contract Fuentes got?

Sure, but Joaquin Benoit set that market a long time ago. Three years and $15 million seems to be the going rate for middle relievers these days.

I think with the moves the A’s have made this offseason, they will be serious contenders for the American League West crown. I am not sure if they have enough fire power to overtake the Texas Rangers, but I would be shocked if they aren’t neck and neck come September.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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