The Oakland A’s announced that they weren’t tendering contracts to three arbitration-eligible players on Friday: starting pitchers Mike Fiers and Kendall Graveman and reliever Cory Gearrin. All three are now free agents.
Graveman is expected to miss most — if not all — of next season after undergoing Tommy John surgery during the 2018 regular season. Graveman struggled badly before the injury, posting a 7.60 ERA in seven big league starts and a 4.50 ERA in four starts in Triple-A. He could be brought back on a lesser deal than the one he would have received in arbitration that would account for the time he will miss rehabbing.
The decision to non-tender Fiers and Gearrin was a bit more surprising. Fiers was the A’s big midseason trade acquisition, as the A’s picked him up from the Detroit Tigers before the deadline for prospects Logan Shore and Nolan Blackwood. Fiers threw 53 innings for the A’s, posting a 3.74 ERA and walking only 11. He had a 3.56 ERA in 172 innings overall in 2018 and figures to get plenty of interest on the open market. Fiers was expected to command roughly $10 million in arbitration.
The A’s picked up Gearrin in a late-season deal with the Rangers in exchange for prospects Abdiel Mendoza and Teodoro Ortega. The former Giants reliever made only six appearances for the A’s and allowed four runs in six innings. He had a 3.77 ERA in 57.1 innings overall in 2018 for the A’s, Rangers and Giants. The A’s will have plenty of bullpen depth even without Gearrin, as they brought back right-handers Ryan Dull, Liam Hendriks and Fernando Rodney, but Gearrin seemed like a nice middle relief option for 2019.
The A’s tendered contracts to their other remaining arbitration-eligible players: Ryan Buchter, Mark Canha, Khris Davis, Sean Manaea, Marcus Semien and Blake Treinen. The A’s 40-man roster stands at 36.
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