The A’s announced a number of non-roster invitations to Spring Training this afternoon. Among those invited to camp were relievers Jake Fishman and Deolis Guerra, indicating both recently joined the organization on minor league deals. Oakland also signed first baseman Kevin Cron.
Fishman reached the big leagues for the first time with the Marlins in 2022. The southpaw had a few separate stints with Miami and made seven appearances altogether. He tallied 11 innings, allowing five runs while striking out six and issuing three walks. The sinkerballer averaged only 87.5 MPH on his fastball and under 76 MPH on his slider, but he had a nice year in Triple-A.
Through 56 appearances with Miami’s top affiliate, Fishman posted a 2.25 ERA. He induced grounders at an excellent 54.2% clip and struck out a serviceable 23.1% of opponents. The Union College product walked 8.5% of batters faced in the minors, and he held same-handed hitters to an awful .191/.270/.270 line across 142 plate appearances in Triple-A. Despite that strong showing, he was outrighted off Miami’s 40-man roster at the end of the end of the season and qualified for free agency. Also a former member of the Blue Jays organization, Fishman will compete for a situational role similar to the one already held by Sam Moll in Oakland.
Guerra is a familiar face for Oakland fans. The 33-year-old was second on the team in relief innings in 2021, soaking up 65 2/3 frames across 53 outings. He had a solid if unremarkable year, posting a 4.11 ERA while putting up roughly average strikeout and walk rates (23% and 7.4%, respectively). A veteran journeyman who’d previously suited up for the Pirates, Angels, Brewers and Phillies at the MLB level, Guerra looked to have carved out a multi-year role in the Oakland bullpen.
That was thrown off track before the 2022 season even began, however. Guerra battled some elbow pain in Spring Training, and he underwent Tommy John surgery a week into the regular season. He spent the whole year on the injured list and was non-tendered at the end of the season. While the A’s weren’t prepared to carry him on the 40-man roster all winter after a lost season, they quickly brought him back with a chance to earn a spot yet again. Given the mid-April timing of his surgery, it’s unlikely Guerra will be ready to take the mound in exhibition play. He’ll presumably start the year on the minor league injured list and head to Triple-A Las Vegas after he completes his rehab and builds back to game shape.
Cron, 30 in February, played in 47 games with the Diamondbacks from 2019-20. The right-handed hitter didn’t perform well in that very limited look, but he has mashed at a .319/.405/.651 clip in just over 800 career Triple-A plate appearances (albeit in an extremely favorable environment in Reno). Those monster numbers earned Cron looks in both Japan and South Korea over the past two years, though he didn’t fare especially well at either stop. He hit .231/.270/.431 with NPB’s Hiroshima Carp in 2021 and posted a .222/.255/.420 mark through 259 trips to the plate with the KBO’s SSG Landers this year.
Also included in the list of non-roster invitees are outfielder Cody Thomas and infielder Ernie Clement. Both had been designated for assignment in recent days but apparently went unclaimed on waivers and remained in the organization on outright assignments. Thomas debuted with 10 MLB games this past season, while Clement hit .184/.243/.209 in 70 combined contests between the Guardians and A’s in 2022.
Oakland further announced that infielder Vimael Machín declined an outright assignment after going unclaimed on waivers. He’ll head to minor league free agency, as is his right as a player who has been outrighted multiple times in his career. The lefty-hitting infielder posted a .220/.300/.287 line with one homer through 253 plate appearances this past season. He hasn’t done much at the plate in parts of three big league campaigns. Owner of a far more impressive .307/.400/.468 line through parts of four Triple-A seasons, Machín figures to find a minor league opportunity elsewhere.