The Athletics have announced a one-year deal with free-agent right-hander Marco Estrada, as Jane Lee of MLB.com first reported (via Twitter). He’ll be guaranteed $4MM, according to ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan (via Twitter).
The former Brewers/Blue Jays hurler is a client of TWC Sports. To clear roster space, the club has outrighted just-claimed righty Parker Bridwell, per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter).
This move represents the latest short-term strike from an Oakland organization that wants to boost its pitching staff in the near-term without tying up long-term resources. Naturally, that means taking some chances on players who have not been at top form of late, and Estrada certainly matches that characterization.
The A’s previously inked Mike Fiers and Joakim Soria, but it was clear that the rotation, in particular, was in need of at least one more addition. It’s certainly still possible that other hurlers will be added, at least on minor-league deals.
As for Estrada, he’ll be looking to bounce back from a pair of less-than-effective seasons. Lower body and back issues may partially have been to blame, so returning to full health could make a difference in and of itself. Otherwise, it’s a question whether Estrada can hold off the hands of time for at least one more campaign.
Last year, working in his fourth straight season in Toronto, Estrada posted a brutal 5.64 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9. He was stung, especially, by the long ball. While he only allowed dingers on a reasonable 11.2% of the flyballs put in play against him, that still worked out to 1.82 per nine, due to the large number of flies he permits.
Estrada still works in more or less the same fastball velocity range (89.0 mph) that he long has, though it did dip in the second half as his struggles increased. He also sat at a typical 10.1% swinging-strike rate last year. Perhaps, then, much of his physical skill remains intact.
The A’s surely won’t be expecting an ace-level performance, of course, but they obviously feel confident that Estrada will provide a good volume of solid innings. He has mostly done just that over the course of his MLB career.