SUNDAY: Alvarez, Parker and Doubront have all elected to become free agents, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Twitter link).
FRIDAY: The Athletics have outrighted pitchers Henderson Alvarez, Jarrod Parker and Felix Doubront to Triple-A Nashville, reports MLB.com’s Jane Lee (Twitter link). Each of the three was a likely non-tender candidate, as Alvarez recently underwent shoulder surgery, while Parker underwent a UCL/flexor tendon repair back in April and Doubront underwent Tommy John surgery in April as well. Though they can technically accept the outright assignments, each of the three is able to reject in favor of free agency, and that’s the likeliest outcome in each instance.
Alvarez inked a one-year, $4MM pact with Oakland after being non-tendered by the Marlins last offseason but was never able to fully get back on track following his first shoulder surgery. Ultimately, it was determined that he required a second procedure to attempt to repair a balky shoulder that has allowed him to pitch just 22 1/3 innings since a brilliant 2014 campaign (2.65 ERA in 187 innings) that now looks like a distant memory. He’ll draw interest as a free agent again due to the upside he brings, but securing a Major League contract isn’t a given this time around.
Parker, meanwhile, was once one of the more promising young arms in the game and looked like a mainstay in the Oakland rotation before a pair of Tommy John operations derailed his career. Now 27 years old (28 next month), Parker has battled through both of those procedures and an olecranon fracture and underwent what was said to be an experimental procedure to repair (but not replace) his ulnar collateral ligament and flexor tendon this spring. The hope, of course, is that he can work his way back to a big league mound, but to call that goal an uphill battle in light of his myriad arm injuries is perhaps an understatement.
As for Doubront, he could theoretically be ready to return to the mound next April or May, as his TJ procedure was performed in the first half of this past April. Of course, it’s far from certain that his recovery from the procedure will go smoothly and allow that presumptive target date to be realized. Parker and many others in recent years (including New York’s Zack Wheeler in 2016) serve as reminders that while many arms are able to bounce back and return to a mound in 12 to 14 months, Tommy John surgery is by no means a guarantee and is often accompanied by setbacks that lead to considerably lengthier absences.
With these moves, the A’s have now shed an incredible 12 players to whom they had committed either 40-man roster spots or 60-day DL spots in a span of roughly 48 hours. Yesterday, Oakland outrighted Eric Sogard, Fernando Rodriguez, Andrew Lambo, Tyler Ladendorf, J.B. Wendelken and Donn Roach, while Matt McBride and Chris Smith were outrighted on Wednesday this week. And, on top of those players that went unclaimed by other clubs, versatile infielder/outfielder Arismendy Alcantara failed to make it through outright waivers and was claimed by the Reds.