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A’s DFA Fuentes and Reinstate Colon

July 3, 2012

Bartolo Colon was reinstated from the disabled list today as he is set to make the start tonight against the visiting Red Sox. Colon’s addition will strengthen the rotation as he takes the spot of the frustrating Tyson Ross. The surprising move however to open a roster spot, and in hindsight perhaps this should not be so surprising, was the designating for assignment of several-time A’s closer Brian Fuentes.

Fuentes threw 25 innings for the 2012 A’s, with a messy 6.84 ERA to go along with a messy 5.55 FIP. In his 26 appearances he managed 6.5 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 and a staggering 1.8 HR/9. A frequent target of my ire for being a LOOGY yet not used as one (which I guess is ire better directed at Bob Geren and Bob Melvin), he allowed a .300/.368/.536 line against right-handed batters this season. And like last year where he managed to let a lot of games slip from the A’s grasp he was second on this year’s club with five meltdowns (behind only Grant Balfour‘s seven) but with just eight shutdowns (further distinguishing him from Balfour who has 2.14 SD/MD ratio, to Fuentes’ 1.60). Fuentes was signed by the A’s two Januaries ago to a two-year $10.5M contract that pays him $5M this season with a $6.5M club option (with a $500K buyout) for 2013 – I imagine if a team should choose to pick up this contract they won’t choose to pick up that option. Since joining the A’s, Fuentes a frequent recipient of A’s fan’s frustrations posted a 4.64 ERA in 83 1/3 innings while recording 17 saves, 6.5 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and 1.2 HR/9.

I was a bit surprised that Fuentes despite his struggles did not have trade value. There are several contenders with serious bullpen struggles, but obviously the New York Mets, who one would think might benefit from a pitcher like Fuentes getting a change of scenery. It should have been obvious this move was coming as Fuentes has pitched extremely infrequently as of late, his last three appearances being June 14th, 23rd and 30th, but that hardly seems a sound strategy for building trade value. My expectation is that Fuentes clears outright release waivers and the A’s make the determination it is better to pay him to play for someone else than it is to pay for him to play for them.

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