The Oakland A’s released veteran reliever Brian Fuentes yesterday, after they designated him for assignment on July 3. The A’s were unable to work out a trade for him given his struggles and the approximate $2.5 million he is still owed for the remainder of this season.
The A’s are now on the hook for most of that salary and any team that signs the left-handed reliever is responsible only for the prorated portion of the major league minimum.
That makes him worthy of a look:
Fuentes did not perform well in 25 innings out of the Oakland bullpen this season. He has pitched to a 6.84 ERA, but was victimized by five home runs. In the last six seasons he had never given up more than six homers so he could simply be suffering from a rare case of gopheritis. Citi Field can certainly cure that.
Before this season Fuentes has been as solid as a rock in seven previous seasons as his 3.58 career ERA would attest. Few relievers have been as consistent as him and he’s averaged 66 appearances per season since 2005.
Fuentes is not perfect, but he would seem to be an upgrade over the likes of Miguel Batista, John Rauch and Ramon Ramirez, and the Mets can grab him for the rock bottom price of about $250K which certainly makes him even more attractive.
Rumors are floating around that the St. Louis Cardinals may be interested and I’m sure more teams will enter the fray, so it may be prudent for the Mets to act fast here if they want him.
One more side note on Fuentes is that he’s one of only six left-handers to rack up more than 200 saves in MLB history.