Athletics Close To Deal With Brian Fuentes

8:09pm: The two sides are closing in on a two-year deal worth about $10.5MM, according to Jon Heyman of SI (via Twitter).

6:55pm: Expect the A's to announce the signings with Fuentes and Balfour on Tuesday or Wednesday, according to Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group (via Twitter).

5:08pm: The deal calls for Fuentes to get more than $5MM per year and will include "lots" of closing incentives, a source told Rosenthal (via Twitter).

4:50pm: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says (via Twitter) that it is expected to be a two-year deal with an option for a third.

3:36pm: The Athletics are close to finalizing a deal with Brian Fuentes, reports Steve Phillips of AOL FanHouse (on Twitter). We heard that Oakland was pushing to sign the free agent lefty just yesterday. ESPN's Buster Olney says the deal isn't done just yet (Twitter link).

The A's have remade their team quite a bit this offseason, facilitating trades for David DeJesus and Josh Willingham while signing Grant Balfour and Hideki Matsui as free agents. Fuentes would join Balfour in an already strong bullpen that features Michael Wuertz, Craig Breslow, Brad Ziegler, and All-Star closer Andrew Bailey.

ESPN's Buster Olney pointed out that geography could work in Oakland's favor since Fuentes if from nearby Merced. The Blue Jays were also considered a serious suitor to sign the lefty reliever, and both the Yankees and Rays were connected to him earlier this month. Fuentes was said to be seeking Scott Downs money a few weeks ago, though it's likely that his asking price has since come down.


109 Responses to Athletics Close To Deal With Brian Fuentes Leave a Reply

  1. bacon_bitz 5 years ago

    FFS Beane, don’t you have enough relievers already?

    • Pete 5 years ago

      Complete this sentence: “You can never have enough ________ “

    • Guest 5 years ago

      I hate to directly quote Beane. But what he says is absolutely true. You can never have enough good players. And that is especially true when you have a lot of question marks in your bullpen, healthwise.

      • sportsfan07 5 years ago

        Exactly more than likely someone is going to go in a trade soon anyways. You just don’t have enough room on the roster for Harden, McCarthy, Devine, Blevins, Ziegler, Wuertz, Balfour, Fuentes, Breslow, Bailey and even quite possibly Outman. More than likely at least 2 relievers are going out the door for the right handed bat that Beane wants.

        • Guest 5 years ago

          I would love it if they could upgrade the offense even more. But I just don’t see it happening, unfortunately. This is Billy Beane we’re talking about, so you can never say never. But he would have to get extremely creative, at this point. The only position where they could really use a better bat is 3B, and I can’t think of a single player who might be available that is much better than Kouzmanoff.

      • sportsfan07 5 years ago

        Exactly more than likely someone is going to go in a trade soon anyways. You just don’t have enough room on the roster for Harden, McCarthy, Devine, Blevins, Ziegler, Wuertz, Balfour, Fuentes, Breslow, Bailey and even quite possibly Outman. More than likely at least 2 relievers are going out the door for the right handed bat that Beane wants.

  2. arock1234 5 years ago

    was hoping he was gunna go to the Jays……..

    • Gurvir Nijjar 5 years ago

      Same

      • NicholasDerosa 5 years ago

        Yeah, it would have been nice, but we would have had to have over-paid. We’ve got a bunch of decent lefties in our system, they might not be better than Fuentes, but the cost vs value just wouldn’t have matched up.

  3. davestiebrules 5 years ago

    Enjoy.

    Sincerely
    A Jays Fan

  4. METfan201 5 years ago

    Idk about this move i think he was a better fit in toronto or tampa. A’s … Are nice but….idk

  5. ludafish 5 years ago

    So they have a good rotation and now a great bullpen…so can the A’s make a real run at the division next season? I think they could really surprise people if they get some offense going and compete with everyone in the division.

    • Guest 5 years ago

      They’ll definitely be in the hunt. And I doubt it will come as a surprise to many people. The only question is can they stay healthier this year? If they can cut their DL stints in half from 2010, they’ll be just fine.

  6. Pete 5 years ago

    Most high profile LOOGY in baseball right here.

  7. Pete 5 years ago

    A’s are 2 players over the limit with Fuentes & Balfour. Trade imminent?

    • Guest 5 years ago

      Nah. A minor trade is possible. But Figueroa and Mortensen will probably be DFA’d.

  8. Pete 5 years ago

    A’s are 2 players over the limit with Fuentes & Balfour. Trade imminent?

  9. zonis 5 years ago

    I haven’t looked at his splits, but the A’s could be going after him to replace Blevins, to have a LHP Reliever instead of a Loogy, like they currently use Breslow.

  10. zonis 5 years ago

    I haven’t looked at his splits, but the A’s could be going after him to replace Blevins, to have a LHP Reliever instead of a Loogy, like they currently use Breslow.

  11. Jay Patel 5 years ago

    Best Bullpen in the AL West… I think so …in the entire AL hmmm maybe not with Red Sox adding good pieces and also White Sox..maybe rank them 3rd w/ addition of Fuentes

    • Guest 5 years ago

      Don’t forget about the Rangers. Their bullpen is very underrated, in my opinion. I won’t say it’s as good as the A’s bullpen, at this point. But it’s not far behind. I would put it right up there among the best in the AL.

      • sportsfan07 5 years ago

        That really depends on what they end up doing with Feliz. If he starts then that pen looks a lot worse than it did before. Their middle relief will be really thin since likely Francisco would become the closer and Rhodes will be the setup man. Before that for the 6th and maybe 7th innings you have a bunch of situational guys like O’ Day and Oliver.

        • Guest 5 years ago

          True. If Feliz does end up being stretched out to start then it’s a very different story.

          • jwsox 5 years ago

            but if that does happen and he can translate he nasty stuff into long term innings then their pen looks a bit weaker but their rotation will take a HUGE jump in the right direction

          • Guest 5 years ago

            I don’t disagree. If he can be as good in the rotation as he is in the bullpen, it will really help them.

            We were only comparing bullpens, though. Not pitching staffs in general, or teams in general.

        • Guest 5 years ago

          True. If Feliz does end up being stretched out to start then it’s a very different story.

    • Guest 5 years ago

      Don’t forget about the Rangers. Their bullpen is very underrated, in my opinion. I won’t say it’s as good as the A’s bullpen, at this point. But it’s not far behind. I would put it right up there among the best in the AL.

  12. baybombers 5 years ago

    I tip my hat to the A’s, billy is doing something legit for next season. if willingham,matsui, can perform well enough then the rangers and A’s going down to the final weeks for the west i think. 85-90 wins in sight

    • Guest 5 years ago

      Definitely. They could even go well past 90 if they can somehow keep everybody on the field all year. Last year they used the DL over 20 times, and still managed to win 81 just on the strength of their pitching, defense, and aggressive base-running (which shouldn’t change too much, even with Davis gone).

  13. Sniderlover 5 years ago

    Eh I was kind of hoping he would sign with the Jays. Oh well… Fuentes should do well with the A’s and that ballpark.

  14. i have a feeling A’s will send some relievers away…they’re gonna get a bat real soon.

    • Guest 5 years ago

      That would be great. But who? Everyone keeps saying that, but no one ever suggests anyone other than David Wright, who is a pipe dream.

      • jwsox 5 years ago

        if the A’s were to say throw in a top pitching prospect(possibly even one of their young starters)+bailer+ an infield prospect and maybe even kouz then you might be able to pry away wright but the A’s would have to take on 100% of his remaining contract…I could also see armis ramirez being made available for the right price, possibly even reaching out to the rangers and getting young

        • not_brooks 5 years ago

          I was thinking of mentioning Aramis, but I doubt the A’s would go for a one-year fix at this point. Maybe if the Cubs are selling him at mid-season…

          Wright could be had for the right price for sure, but I doubt the A’s have the prospects to make it happen.

        • Guest 5 years ago

          Wright just isn’t gonna happen. Even if the Mets were willing to listen, and even if the A’s could afford his contract, they would have to give far too much away.

          Michael Young isn’t going anywhere unless the Rangers eat a huge portion of his contract, and somehow I can’t see them paying him to play for a division rival.

          Aramis is a huge downgrade on defense, plus he’s coming off a down year, offensively. Maybe if the package for him wasn’t too significant, and if the Cubs ate at least $5 million…

        • The Cubs already have a mess of arms to sort out for 2011. I can’t see them dealing Aramis to add to that pile. If anything, come spring, they’ll be dealing an arm or two. Maybe you weren’t thinking of the A’s new bullpen surplus as what would be going to Chicago, though.

      • not_brooks 5 years ago

        There’s certainly no upgrade available that could be had for a couple of relievers.

        Billy Butler is the most likely to be traded in my book, and he’s a textbook Billy Beane hitter, but relievers for Butler isn’t happening either.

        • Guest 5 years ago

          I’m sure they could easily put together a package for Butler if they really wanted. But where would they put him? Even if they trade Barton (which I seriously doubt will happen), they still have Matsui at DH, and Carter waiting for a position to open up.

          • not_brooks 5 years ago

            Oh, I don’t expect the A’s to trade for Butler. You’re right that there’s no place for him and I wouldn’t want him at first over Barton.

            I wouldn’t expect Butler to hit more than .290 with 20 homers and 30-some doubles at McAfee, and Barton can do that (minus seven or eight homers) with plus defense to boot.

      • 510akland 5 years ago

        Sandy Alderson the new GM for the Mets is a friend of Billy Beane’s. Honestly the Mets aren’t going anywhere so a trade for Wright is improbable but possible. more than just a pipe dream

  15. slider32 5 years ago

    We will see whether the old saying, good pitching beats good hitting, is true. The A’s have the pitching and Texas has the hitting!

  16. slider32 5 years ago

    We will see whether the old saying, good pitching beats good hitting, is true. The A’s have the pitching and Texas has the hitting!

  17. jwsox 5 years ago

    dont forget too if they are done by the deadline Billy has a ton of trade chips on his roster now to stock up

  18. jwsox 5 years ago

    dont forget too if they are done by the deadline Billy has a ton of trade chips on his roster now to stock up

  19. MLB_in_the_Know 5 years ago

    Spending over $5 million a year on a setup guy? Not smart Moneyball.

    • Guest 5 years ago

      If you know of a better way they could spend it at this point, I’m all ears.

      • MLB_in_the_Know 5 years ago

        Sometimes the best money spent is money kept.

        • Then people would complain that they aren’t spending. As an A’s fan, I am happy to see them being aggressive.

          • MLB_in_the_Know 5 years ago

            So, adding Balfour, DeJesus, Harden, Matsui, McCarthy and Willingham wasn’t enough to make you happy?

        • not_brooks 5 years ago

          Didn’t mean to “like” that…

          This is what, $9MM* total on two potential bullpen improvements? I’d rather see them use that money to continue to improve the team than sit on it and be sorry they didn’t beef up the bullpen.

          *I wouldn’t be surprised if Rosenthal is wrong and the Fuentes contract is worth a lot less than $5MM per.

        • Guest 5 years ago

          Keep it for what? They’re still gonna have enough flexibility to offer some extensions, and to be active at the trade deadline, and to make competitive offers to top free agents next year (who will all just probably turn them down like Berkman, Beltre, Scutaro, Furcal and many others recently have).

          They had over $30 million to spend on the 2011 payroll when the offseason began, and have aggressively tried to spend it on improving the team all winter. Why would no one want them to? And why wouldn’t THEY want to? They spent over two years rebuilding and now they’re ready to win. Bolstering the bullpen will help them with that.

      • yes. Instead of wasting 5MM of payroll on a LOOGY like Fuetes, (I know he’s been a closer, but his splits vs Righties are ridiculously high) why not avoid arbitration with Breslow and Braden and keep them under team control for next couple years.

        • Guest 5 years ago

          Braden and Breslow are under team control for three more years, no matter what. And the A’s still have plenty of money to offer them extensions if they choose to do so.

          Signing Fuentes will not affect any of that in the least.

        • sportsfan07 5 years ago

          Beane always tries to take advantage of the market deficiencies and currently the market has deficiencies are in the middle relief market because middle relievers are getting way too much money. The point here is to create a surplus right here so that you can trade away your young, cost controlled middle relievers to other teams because they would want them because they are such a commodity. Due to the fact that they are a commodity Beane could sell high on them and get the most in return for them then he normally would. Selling high equals a good thing. Money right now is no object to them because they have so much of it and it’s been difficult for Beane to get people to take Wolfe’s money. I think the thinking here right now is to trade away some of his middle relievers by the end of spring training and get back a bat that he wants. Of course it won’t be a super bat that all of us want but it will still be a solid bat that would be a nice addition to the lineup that is desperately needed.

    • Guest 5 years ago

      If you know of a better way they could spend it at this point, I’m all ears.

    • not_brooks 5 years ago

      Moneyball is so five years ago.

      This is about being smart. Anyone can see that young, cost-controlled relievers are the hot commodity right now. With Balfour and Fuentes in the fold now, the A’s can afford to trade guys like Ziegler, Blevins or any number of other guys for more offensive help.

      Or they can trade Balfour and/or Fuentes in a deadline deal. Or just let both of them walk to get more draft picks in a few years.

      Either way, it’s a smart move, and the A’s look good for waiting and getting Balfour and Fuentes for less than what other teams paid for similar relievers.

      • Snoochies8 5 years ago

        If Balfour is a type-A, he won’t be offered arb so there won’t be draft picks coming from him walking

      • Guest 5 years ago

        To be fair, it’s not like they waited around all winter for Balfour and Fuentes to lower their asking price. If Berkman, Iwakuma or Beltre would have taken their money, they probably wouldn’t have signed both of them.

        It’s kind of a “Plan B”. But you’re right about it being a smart move. And you’re right about “Moneyball”. It’s mostly a thing of the past.

        • jpkinney7 5 years ago

          Economics is a thing of the past?

          • Guest 5 years ago

            No, but the Moneyball philosophy is. If it was as simple as you make it sound they wouldn’t have written a 300 page book about it. They would have just posted a blog.

          • Guest 5 years ago

            No. But how does signing Brian Fuentes equal bad economics? Wolff and Fisher set a budget for the team, and then Beane manages that budget as best he can. They had a lot left to spend on the 2011 season, and they will still have more than enough flexibility for the 2012 season.

            Having Fuentes doesn’t change any of that, and he give them quality depth. There’s nothing about that that doesn’t make sense.

            And be honest. Did you even read the Moneyball book?

          • jpkinney7 5 years ago

            I really don’t think that trying to find market inefficiencies and targeting players who fall into that group, aka Moneyball, is a thing of the past. OBP, Defense, Speed, Athleticism… the list will go round and round.

          • jpkinney7 5 years ago

            Yes, I read Moneyball about 6 years ago.

    • jdkladsjl 5 years ago

      The A’s basically have 3 closers in their bullpen, why would you not want him?

  20. MLB_in_the_Know 5 years ago

    Spending over $5 million a year on a setup guy? Not smart Moneyball.

  21. Robert Slye Jr. 5 years ago

    On a completely not-to-be-taken-seriously note: If the A’s opened the season with Bailey, Balfour, Breslow, Fuentes, Ziegler, Blevins and McCarthy in their bullpen, we would be the Oakland A’s with the Killer B’s bullpen:
    andrew Bailey
    craig Breslow
    grant Balfour
    jerry Blevins
    Brian fuentes
    Brad zielgler
    Brandon mccarthy

    • Guest 5 years ago

      There’s clearly a B bias. Look at who the GM is: Billy Beane

  22. Robert Slye Jr. 5 years ago

    On a completely not-to-be-taken-seriously note: If the A’s opened the season with Bailey, Balfour, Breslow, Fuentes, Ziegler, Blevins and McCarthy in their bullpen, we would be the Oakland A’s with the Killer B’s bullpen:
    andrew Bailey
    craig Breslow
    grant Balfour
    jerry Blevins
    Brian fuentes
    Brad zielgler
    Brandon mccarthy

  23. Guest 5 years ago

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  24. Guest 5 years ago

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  25. grownice 5 years ago

    hey oakland how about a BAT!

    • corey23 5 years ago

      You’re the first person to think of this

    • Snoochies8 5 years ago

      Willingham, DeJesus, Matsui say hello

      • grownice 5 years ago

        Tell them i say hey back, but ask them if they know any good bats, thanks.

        • start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

          All 3 of them may not be high caliber all stars, but all 3 are respectable above average hitters. Willingham and DeJesus have been below the radar for years mainly because of who they played for. Athletics are going to have a decent offense next year.

    • Guest 5 years ago

      Yeah. If only they had traded for David Dejesus, and offered Lance Berkman $16 million, and signed Hideki Matsui, and traded for Josh Willingham, and offered Adrian Beltre $76.8 million.

      I don’t know what they were thinking by not going after bats.

  26. Not to say I deserve credit r anything but it makes me happy to know I tweeted that before rosenthal

  27. People forget about Joey Devine coming back too who has a great arm. This could be the best all around pen

    • not_brooks 5 years ago

      It’s easy to forget about Devine. He hasn’t pitched in two years.

      I wouldn’t count on him to do much in 2011. That, and the injury histories of Bailey, Wuertz, Harden and McCarthy, is part of the reasoning for signing Balfour and Fuentes.

  28. optionn 5 years ago

    If the A’s were smart they should get rid of Bailey for a bat. If you can sell high do it. Trouble is Bailey is not that good other than his age.

    • HerbertAnchovy 5 years ago

      I disagree. Bailey has proven himself very effective, and is team-controllable.

    • No…Bailey is nasty. Why trade a nasty closer and leave yourself with a question mark? And he’s young.

  29. 0vercast 5 years ago

    Opposing teams are going to have to pitch their butts off to consistently beat the A’s this year. I like what Oakland is doing recently. If the Giants can win it all with pitching and a few clutch hits, why can’t the A’s?

  30. DudasPriest 5 years ago

    Beane is stuffing the pen with solid relievers in case of injuries/trades. As an A’s fan I like the deal even if it’s for 5 per, mostly because of the flexibility it gives Beane. Plenty of contingency options if someone goes down, and if the team is out of contention (unlikely, I know) he has some goodies to dangle in front of desperate gm’s. I’ll also point out that Fuentes has had exactly ONE bad season out of 10 (and it came in coors)…

    • Guest 5 years ago

      That’s pretty much the same way I feel about this signing. It’s nice to know that we won’t have to worry about Bailey, Wuertz, Blevins, Devine and Harden all being healthy on Opening Day, now that we have Balfour and Fuentes in the fold. I hope they ARE all healthy. That would be a nice problem to have. But it’s highly unlikely, so it’s good to see some quality depth added.

  31. Guest 5 years ago

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  32. Guest 5 years ago

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  33. Guest 5 years ago

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    Disqus, you’re killing me!

    • Infield Fly 5 years ago

      Ooooo-kaaaaaay…that’s some pretty enlightening commentary there! :p

  34. adriangarro 5 years ago

    Fuentes wouldn’t be the closer on Oakland

  35. sportsfan07 5 years ago

    He is just going to be a really expensive LOOGY

  36. Guest 5 years ago

    Nah. The only way he’ll get a lot of save opportunities is if Bailey is injured or traded, and if Devine can’t bounce back from Tommy John surgery. Both things are possible, of course. But that won’t be plan A or even B.

  37. 510akland 5 years ago

    He’s going only going to pitch to one or two batters, most likely lefty on lefty match ups. A’s have Breslow to pitch full innings

  38. zonis 5 years ago

    He pretty much just replaces Blevins.

  39. sportsfan07 5 years ago

    I think even Wuertz and Balfour have to be ahead of Fuentes for save opps if Bailey goes down. Fuentes is really like Plan F for closing. He will be a lefty specialist/occasional setup man.

    EDIT: probably a 6th inning guy as well. He won’t work beyond the 6th because that goes into Wuertz, Breslow, Balfour, Bailey area.

  40. Guest 5 years ago

    You might be right. I was thinking they would turn to him a lot based on experience. But Wuertz (if healthy) and Balfour are probably more talented, in my opinion. Breslow too!

    I wouldn’t go so far as to envision Fuentes as a 6th inning guy (keep in mind that nobody can pitch every game). But either way, it’s pretty nice when you can say that Brian Fuentes is arguably only your 5th or 6th best reliever!

  41. Guest 5 years ago

    You might be right. I was thinking they would turn to him a lot based on experience. But Wuertz (if healthy) and Balfour are probably more talented, in my opinion. Breslow too!

    I wouldn’t go so far as to envision Fuentes as a 6th inning guy (keep in mind that nobody can pitch every game). But either way, it’s pretty nice when you can say that Brian Fuentes is arguably only your 5th or 6th best reliever!

  42. sportsfan07 5 years ago

    Yeah true but I’m just assuming that everyone is available. I think that Wuertz and Breslow will swap back and forth on the 7th inning duties and whoever is not used in the 7th inning that day will swap back and forth with Balfour as the setup guy with Bailey closing. Just assuming that everyone is available making Fuentes the 6th inning guy. He should be the 7th or 8th inning guy if any of those guys aren’t available that day. This should also help the starting rotation as well to not have to put so much pressure on them to go 7-9 innings every single game to try and win. The pen should help boost their confidence.

  43. sportsfan07 5 years ago

    Not just that but he is creating a surplus of pen arms and the reliever market this offseason has been ridiculous. Thus young relievers that have cost control are becoming a commodity. Oh look what Beane just did right there. Now he has guys like Ziegler and Blevins who became spare parts that he could part with and have no regrets about trading. Oh they have also just become the hot commodity because they are young and have cost control and they are relievers. Exactly what other teams want. Beane is just simply using the moneyball philosophy. It is almost a sure thing that at least 2 of the relievers we have now are going to be traded.

  44. sportsfan07 5 years ago

    Not just that but he is creating a surplus of pen arms and the reliever market this offseason has been ridiculous. Thus young relievers that have cost control are becoming a commodity. Oh look what Beane just did right there. Now he has guys like Ziegler and Blevins who became spare parts that he could part with and have no regrets about trading. Oh they have also just become the hot commodity because they are young and have cost control and they are relievers. Exactly what other teams want. Beane is just simply using the moneyball philosophy. It is almost a sure thing that at least 2 of the relievers we have now are going to be traded.

  45. He will blow holds too, any Angels fan will tell you, he will walk the bases loaded first and then proceed to try to get three outs.

  46. Guest 5 years ago

    Yeah. I think this improved bullpen will take just as much pressure off them as the improved defense did in 2010. And that’s really important for such a young staff. Especially Gio, who I think will be the undisputed ace of the staff if he can ever fully conquer his emotions.

  47. Guest 5 years ago

    Yeah. I think this improved bullpen will take just as much pressure off them as the improved defense did in 2010. And that’s really important for such a young staff. Especially Gio, who I think will be the undisputed ace of the staff if he can ever fully conquer his emotions.

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