The Athletics have placed left-handed reliever Sean Doolittle on the 15-day DL with a shoulder strain, per a club announcement. It had been hoped that he’d avoid a trip off of the active roster, but evidently Doolittle wasn’t progressing as hoped.
After some struggles early, Doolittle had been on the rise in 2016 — with his heater gaining steam along the way. On the year, the 29-year-old has put up 30 2/3 innings of 2.93 ERA pitching, with 10.3 K/9 against 2.3 BB/9.
The overall profile made Doolittle rather an interesting trade candidate for the foundering A’s. Clubs looking to add pop to the back of their pens are surely at least considering him. The fact that he’s owed just $1.55MM this year — and controllable through 2020 at below-market rates — boosts his appeal to organizations that don’t want to burn prospect capital on a pure rental.
Of course, the added control also increases the asking price, and the degree of scrutiny that buying teams will need to take. Doolittle’s injury might not rate as a major red flag were it an isolated matter, but shoulder problems limited him to just a dozen appearances last year. And the timing obviously isn’t optimal either. Barring a timely return and a few appearances that prove he’s at full capacity before the August 1st deadline, he may simply not be a part of the trade puzzle this summer.