A’s, Fuentes agree on two-year deal
OAKLAND – The Oakland Athletics have made another move to boost their bullpen, agreeing to terms with free-agent lefty reliever Brian Fuentes on a two-year contract, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Sunday night.
Fuentes still must pass a physical before he signs. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no formal announcement had been made.
The 35-year-old Fuentes, who grew up in the Central Valley town of Merced, was 4-1 with 24 saves and a 2.81 ERA in 48 appearances and 48 innings with the Los Angeles Angels and Minnesota Twins in 2010. It’s unclear what role he will have considering Oakland has used 2009 AL Rookie of the Year Andrew Bailey in the closer role, though he has battled injuries.
He will become the second bullpen addition for the A’s in a matter of days. Oakland agreed to terms with free-agent right-handed reliever Grant Balfour on an $8.1 million, two-year deal Friday. Balfour also still must take a physical.
On Saturday, the A’s agreed to terms with righty submariner Brad Ziegler on a $1.25 million, one-year contract to salary arbitration.
With right-hander Rich Harden returning to the A’s and likely to pitch out of the bullpen after years of injury troubles, Oakland suddenly has a deep bullpen to back its standout rotation.
The A’s led the American League in ERA (3.56) and shutouts (17) while holding opponents to a .245 batting average in 2010, when they remained in the playoff chase until late September before finishing second in the AL West to the eventual AL champion Texas Rangers.
The most memorable pitching highlight was left-hander Dallas Braden’s perfect game against Tampa Bay on May 9, the first by an A’s pitcher since Hall of Famer Catfish Hunter did it in 1968.
Along with Braden, Oakland has experienced starters in Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez ready to fill spots in the rotation for manager Bob Geren this season. The fifth spot is up for competition in spring training, which begins next month in Phoenix.
The A’s have five remaining players eligible for arbitration: Braden, Craig Breslow, Conor Jackson, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Josh Willingham.