Tag: Pat Venditte

Pat Venditte Reportedly to Mariners: Latest Trade Details and Reaction

Ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte has been dealt from the Toronto Blue Jays to the Seattle Mariners in a waiver trade.  

The Blue Jays officially announced the move, adding they will be receiving a player to be named later. 

Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune initially reported news of the trade, adding the team designated Donn Roach for assignment to make room for the 31-year-old.  

Venditte made his major league debut in 2015 as a member of the Oakland Athletics. He became the first switch pitcher to play in the big leagues since Greg A. Harris in 1995. 

A 20th-round pick by the New York Yankees in 2008, Venditte spent six full seasons in the minors before getting his call to The Show. He made four appearances for the A’s in June 2015 before being placed on the disabled list for two months with a right shoulder strain. 

He did appear in 26 games for the A’s last season, posting a 4.40 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 28.2 innings. The Blue Jays claimed him off waivers in October, and he made eight appearances with the team, posting a 5.19 ERA in just 8.2 innings. 

Venditte has spent most of the season with Triple-A Buffalo. His numbers in the minors are solid, with 52 strikeouts in 35 innings. But he has given up a lot of contact, with 39 hits allowed. 

The Mariners are just looking for depth in their bullpen at this point in the season. They are still fighting for a second wild-card spot in the American League but enter Saturday trailing the Boston Red Sox by five games. 

Seattle relievers rank 14th in the league with a 3.76 ERA. The Mariners’ starting rotation hasn’t been strong thanks in large part to an uncharacteristically poor season from Felix Hernandez, so their best chance to improve the pitching staff is to gamble on one of the most unique relievers in baseball. 

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A’s Ambidextrous Pitcher Pat Venditte Is a Relief Weapon, Not a Novelty Act

Pat Venditte was a feel-good story in February and March. 

He was thrown into the hype machine in April and May, and it was ramped up to full bore Friday after the Oakland A’s called up the ambidextrous relief pitcher from Triple-A Nashville.

While the novelty of a pitcher with a weird glove who can throw with both arms was certainly real, Venditte’s talent at the major league level was still uncertain as the 29-year-old switch-pitcher made his major league debut Friday against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

He erased the questions surrounding him by throwing two scoreless innings in Oakland’s 4-2 loss, showing that his minor league success that earned him the summons was anything but a sideshow attraction. The outing made him the first ambidextrous pitcher to appear in the majors in 20 years and earned him a memorable congratulatory tweet from a teammate.

“You play it 1,000 times in your head how it’s going to happen, and I don’t really remember a whole lot,” Venditte told reporters. “Just a lot of emotions and being able to tell my family and friends that the work was starting to pay off.”

Venditte was gawked at by the baseball world from the start. As he warmed up in the bullpen, television cameras focused on him getting both arms loose. He is such a rarity even his unofficial pitches were newsworthy.

Once he entered the real thing, he was impressive. He gave up one hit and struck out a hitter in his two shutout innings, starting the seventh as a lefty and finishing it as a righty.

And, as could have been expected, confusion ensued the first time he faced a switch-hitter. Blake Swihart came to the plate in the eighth inning, and Venditte, per a rule that exists pretty much just for him, had to declare which arm he would use against Swihart. Venditte was not sure which way to go, though, and there was a bit of back and forth before he went right-handed and struck out Swihart, who hit left-handed.

The A’s are 11 games under .500 after the loss, and they were 10 under when they called up Venditte. Teams in that position could be accused of doing something like bringing up a circus act of a player for non-competitive reasons. Then again, the A’s had won nine of their previous 12 games and are trying to claw their way back into the American League West conversation.

They were not about to risk their momentum by throwing an undeserving Venditte a bone after he toiled in the minors for eight seasons, including 17 games of this current one. That is what September call-ups are for.

Venditte earned his way into the big leagues this year. Over 33 innings with Nashville, he had a 1.36 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and struck out nine hitters per nine innings.

He dominated left-handers with a .095/.136/.095 opponents’ slash line in 45 plate appearances. In 86 plate appearances against right-handers, he held them to a .208/.318/.306 line, showing he could get out hitters with either arm.

This was the kind of effectiveness the A’s saw in spring training. When they started him in the minors because of what began as a deep bullpen, it was with a watchful eye knowing they would eventually need his unique services.

“It’s one thing to be able to just throw a ball with both hands, let alone throw it pretty similar,” manager Bob Melvin told reporters during spring training. “The arm action is fairly the same. He moves it around a little bit. He impressed me.”

He also impressed the Red Sox, not to mention anyone who caught a glimpse of his effectiveness from both sides.

“That was truly amazing tonight,” Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters. “To watch Venditte, it’s a remarkable thing to see what one person’s body is capable of doing. Even guys in the dugout were kind of marveling.

“It’s clear he’s able to get both lefties and righties with whatever arm he chooses. He’s got quality stuff.”

And the A’s need it. They started the game with one of the worst bullpens in baseball, and it’s been a huge reason the team is 3-15 in one-run games. Its 4.86 ERA entering Friday was the worst in the majors, and its minus-0.1 FanGraphs WAR was third worst. 

The bullpen has to find a corner and turn it if the A’s are going to become a relevant team within their division. They were expected to contend, but they’ve been a disappointment to this point of the season, falling 11.5 games out of first place and 7.5 games out in the wild-card standings.

Venditte is not a novelty. He is not a freak show. He is a quality reliever, and the A’s are in serious need of those.

Assuming he continues being a big-time run preventer, Venditte could assist with the shove the A’s need to get themselves trending upward permanently.


All quotes, unless otherwise specified, have been acquired firsthand by Anthony Witrado. Follow Anthony on Twitter @awitrado and talk baseball here.

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