1:08pm: May will be guaranteed $7MM on the deal, ESPN’s Jeff Passan tweets. He can earn an additional $500K worth of incentives.
1:02pm: The Athletics have signed veteran right-hander Trevor May to a one-year contract, the team announced Friday. May is represented by the VC Sports Group. Outfielder Cody Thomas was designated for assignment in a corresponding move.
May, 33, will head to the A’s in search of a rebound campaign after an injury-plagued 2022 showing with the Mets. The 6’5″ righty missed three months of the season due to a triceps injury that seemed to hamper him on the mound, as May’s 5.04 ERA in 25 innings was his worst mark since the 2016 season. Even with those rough bottom-line results, however, May retained his velocity (96.2 mph average fastball) and posted a strong 27% strikeout rate against a solid 8.1% walk rate.
From 2018-21, May was quietly one of the top strikeout arms in the league, logging 175 2/3 innings of 3.33 ERA ball as a setup man for the Twins. In that time, May’s 32.6% strikeout rate ranked 13th among 204 qualified relievers, while his 15.1% swinging-strike rate ranked 20th. He coupled that knack for missing bats with a solid 8.6% walk rate, all of which helped May pile up 46 holds and 11 saves as he went from low-leverage innings to a frequent late-inning option for the Twins and the Mets — the latter of whom signed him to a two-year, $15.5MM free-agent deal in the 2020-21 offseason.
May will look to bounce back into form with the A’s, who have no set closer in place at the moment. Given his salary and experience, May should get frequent opportunities in high-leverage spots for Oakland, be it as a ninth-inning option or as a member of manager Mark Kotsay’s setup corps. May immediately becomes the most seasoned arm in the Oakland bullpen, as prior to his arrival the A’s had just one reliever with even two years of Major League service time: lefty A.J. Puk. In addition to May and Puk, the A’s have Zach Jackson, Dany Jimenez, Domingo Acevedo and Sam Moll likely ticketed for bullpen roles. Given the inexperienced nature of that group, it stands to reason that May could be one of multiple relief additions for the A’s this winter.
May is the third free-agent signing for the low-budget A’s in as many weeks, joining infielders Aledmys Diaz (two years, $14.5MM) and Jace Peterson (two years, $9.5MM) as newcomers. Any of the three could become viable trade chips this summer, but May’s track record and status as a one-year signee makes him seem like a particularly plausible summer trade candidate.
The addition of that trio pushes Oakland’s payroll projection to a still (very) modest $51MM. That, somewhat incredibly, is still an upgrade over last year’s Opening Day payroll (just shy of $48MM), but there figures to be some additional spending ahead for the A’s, who could still upgrade in the rotation, bullpen and outfield, among other areas.
As for the 28-year-old Thomas, he made his big league debut in 2022 but only appeared in 10 games and tallied 32 plate appearances, during which he batted .267/.313/.267. He slashed a hearty .289/.363/.665 with 18 homers in just 245 Triple-A plate appearances in 2021, but Thomas missed nearly the entire 2022 season after undergoing spring surgery to repair his Achilles tendon. His plus raw power and that huge 2021 showing in Triple-A might be enough to pique another team’s interest, and the A’s will have a week to trade him or attempt to pass him through outright waivers.
WS here we come
All kidding aside, this is actually a good signing to bolster the bullpen. This signing also indicates to me that the A’s will indeed try Puk in the rotation.
Oh trust me I wasn’t kidding
Wow, this move May bring out the fans!
What is this? You made a new pun without adding your lame trite one liner?
A’s trying to stay in that revenue sharing recipient pool!
Do you even know how that works Clip???!
Happy Friday Amigo!
No! I thought that was established already….
You too, brother.
I don’t think you understand how the reverse sharing pool works
But I give credit to the A’s, unlike my tightwad Pirates, the A’s are spending their share of the luxury tax on players’ salaries
I do understand, my friend. Recall they’re trying to increase the percentage of their share of the revenues again in this CBA, so they’re on a progressive plan depending on how much they spend.
They were also the focus of a ton of scrutiny by the owners after said agreement because they immediately violated a perceived trust by reversing the money they spent to accomplish said goal by trading off their highest priced players.
So, owners create a spending plan for the A’s because they want more free money. A’s spend money, but then immediately sell if their highest paid players, reversing the intended effects of spending the revenue shares in the market.
It’s precisely what’s wrong with MLB teams making money without trying.
We’re not friends but thanks for the information
Well, I was trying to be cordial, but okay.
Don’t get offended because you’re wrong. Just admit it instead of the childish retort.
I appreciated the write-up, Clipper, even if TheMan3 didn’t. Thank you!
As I understand it there was a pattern of both the A’s and Rays taking the money and pocketing it, relying on tv contracts and playoff money to pay the modest payrolls that they were maintaining. The new union contract got them back in on a probationary basis, with smaller payouts and increased scrutiny until the league determines that the owners aren’t just lining their pockets.
They now have their closer.
Mmmm they’ll probably give Jimenez another shot as the closer. If he falters, they’ll go with a closer by committee.
Decent bullpen piece, but more importantly, superb Twitch streamer.
Remember the players league lol
kid hits 2.60, one of the best averages on the team….NO BALL FOR YOU, DFA
He had 0 extra base hits, so….
Last time the A’s gave a Reliever that kind of money not only did they defer most of it to the following season he never even threw a pitch for them
Wow! If you look at this guys last several seasons, you’ll see what a great pickup this is. He had a slight slip in his ERA and WHIP last year, but his other stats looked solid and the years prior to that were excellent. Another sneaky value sign by the A’s.
I agree. He struggled initially this season coming back from an injury, but pitched better as the season went on. Solid pickup. Surprised the A’s spent $7 million on a reliever, though, unless they plan to flip him at the deadline. Is he currently the highest paid player on the team?
The trade market also overvalues saves, if he can keep it together and be our main closer.
The most obvious rental candidate in MLB history.
Trade a top 3 catcher because he makes too much ($3.5M) so you can sign a relief pitcher for $7M. Brilliant strategy guy.
Haha. This guy is like 45 percent of their payroll.
David Forst is a genius, he knows that a pitcher with a 5.04 era is better then a catcher with a .250 ba, great defense, and 18 home runs.
Except they didn’t trade Murphy “because he makes too much.”
They traded Murphy now because, with many years of team control left, his trade value is higher than it would be when he will make too much for them (it’s not really too much, but bad owner, blah blah blah).
And the fact they got pennies on the dollar for Murphy in value is a whole other issue.
Correct, his trade value is higher. Unfortunately, they didn’t get that high value in the trade, so that can’t be why they traded him either.
My initial response to the trade was WTF?!
However, I kinda see what the A’s were thinking with including Ruiz in the trade. He’s a fast speedster who gets a lot of SB’s. MLB is increasing the size of the bases and limiting pickoff attempts from pitchers for the ‘23 season. This will help speedy SB players. He’s also a capable outfielder from what I hear, and the A’s will try him in CF. That’s a position they desperately need with how bad Pache is offensively. Muller was the Braves #1 prospect and has pitched very well in the hitter friendly AAA as well as his MLB rookie season in ‘21. Tarkon’s scouting report is iffy, but he looks pretty good after I watched video of him. Salinas is a flamethrower and could be a decent RP in the future. The Piña addition was stupid with his contract status. I’d much rather pay d’Arnaud the 8M owed in ‘23 and let him become a FA in ‘24 rather than an old trash backup catcher who we need to pay 4.5m in ‘23 and most likely a 4.5m player option in ‘24.
Get Off My Mound
The more likely reason they got Piña instead of d’Arnaud is because of Shea Langeliers. He’s one of the other reasons why the A’s traded Murphy for the haul.
I think the more likely reason was the Braves not willing to part with d’Arnaud. I would have preferred him and Langeliers splitting time equally rather than giving Langeliers the full time job and Piña being the true backup. I like Langeliers, but I want to see what he does in a full season before giving him full time behind the plate.
Keeping him for another half season for the playoff push “bump” would have been incredibly risky. Murphy has always walked the line between average and above average offensively. If he has a bad year with no lineup protection in our cavernous ballpark his value would have dropped significantly below the package we got…. not that I was entirely happy with it.
Makes sense. Thanks!
High leverage pitching is relatively important. Look around, $7 mil ain’t that much these days.
It especially aint much when the A’s will only be paying a prorated portion of it until they trade him in late July
Throwing around money to two utility infielder, reliever, and a backup catcher.
All incremental improvements
I would be surprised if the A’s don’t sign 2-3 more undervalued guys who all make them incrementally better. That’s what they do.
Tom the ray fan
Highest paid player on the team I think lol
Unless he hits all his incentives, Diaz would be the highest paid player.
Future deadline flipper. Didn’t have the best time with the Mets but did start to come on strong at the end of ‘22. Hope he’s able to rebound
It’s a good bet he will rebound with his velocity still high and posting a good strikeout to walk ratio.
$7 mil is a bit pricey for A’s. Sounds like high expectations.
C Yards Jeff
And 7 mil is not pricy for the Mets. Surprised they didn’t retain him.
Doubled the payroll with this big ticket item
A’s bullpen was low key good last year. I expect there will be some regression from guys like Jackson, Jimenez, and Acevedo as the league adjusts to them but adding May to the mix, its a very strong staff. Definitely one of if not their primary strength.
Zachary D Manprin
I am not sure what that means. The A’s were 24th in Team ERA last season. They were 3rd in blown saves.
Team ERA is bloated by the likes of starters like Oller, Logue, and Keanig getting blasted.
ZJax, Jiménez, Acevedo, Moll, Puk were all, overall, fantastic and accounted for 5WAR between them.
Zachary D Manprin
They were 24th in bullpen ERA.
DeGrom Texas Ranger
They may trade him in May.
put it in the books
May had a solid walk rate but had a 3 ball count on every batter he faced.
Unwilling to toss the ball middle-middle. That’s why he strikes out a bunch of guys.
I predict Cody Stevenson will be the next under performer to be DFA’d from the 40 man roster.
Him or Brent Rooker. It would be a decision whether the A’s want to keep a really good defensive outfielder with limited offensive production or an unproven big AAA bat but horrible defensively.
Zachary D Manprin
I heard reports that Puk was headed for the starting rotation.
May is halfway decent, so this signing for the A’s equates to the Yankees signing Rodon or the Phillies signing Turner.
“That, somewhat incredibly, is still an upgrade over last year’s Opening Day payroll (just shy of $48MM), but there figures to be some additional spending ahead for the A’s, who could still upgrade in the rotation, bullpen and outfield, among other areas.”
That is one loooooooong sentence.
Weird. May is beloved by K-worshippers, but his HR rate undermines his talent for getting strikeouts. Granted his FIP was very similar in 2022 to his good 2021 season, but 1/7m for an iffy setup man’s setup man?
His HR rates since 2020 are 1.9, 1.4, and 1.4 per 9ip. Does Forst think the Colosseum helps May? Maybe so, but it’s hard to believe the A’s aren’t better served by putting most or all of May’s 7m into development or signing bonuses or etc while faking a 7th inning guy from spit and paper the way the Rays do.