The Athletics made their decisions on two outstanding club options today, announcing that right-hander Yusmeiro Petit’s club option will be exercised, thus guaranteeing the veteran reliever $5.5MM in 2020. The A’s will decline their end of a mutual option on southpaw Jake Diekman, paying him a $500K buyout rather than a $5.75MM salary next season.
Today’s option decision will turn Petit’s original contract with the A’s from November 2017 into a three-year, $14.5MM commitment, and Oakland’s investment has paid off nicely in the first two years of the deal. Petit has a 2.86 ERA, 7.5 K/9, and 5.25 K/BB rate over 176 relief innings and 154 games in 2018-19, and he led the league with 80 appearances this season. Though Petit turns 35 in November, his pitching style seems built to age well — his excellent control and ability to induce soft contact belies his lack of strikeout ability and somewhat limits issues with the home run ball (1.2 HR/9 over the last two seasons).
Diekman was acquired in a late-July deal from the Royals, and posted a 4.43 ERA over 20 1/3 innings with the A’s that included more than a few nervous moments (Diekman issued 16 walks during his brief time in Oakland). Overall, Diekman had a 4.65 ERA over 62 combined innings for the Royals and A’s, with a 2.15 K/BB rate and 12.2 K/9.
Those numbers are quite similar to Diekman’s statistics from his 2018 season split between the Rangers and Diamondbacks. With back-to-back years of only okay performance, Oakland will decide to move on rather than spend the extra $5.25MM to retain Diekman’s services. Left-handed relief does seem like it will be an offseason priority for the A’s, given that Ryan Buchter is currently the only southpaw reliever on Oakland’s 40-man roster.