The Oakland A’s and General Manager Billie Bean did their normal off-season sell off to get ready for a championship run in 2012. Part of that sell off was trading away former ROY closer Andrew Bailey to the Boston Red Sox. That now leaves the A’s with filling the closer role with someone on their roster or by signing a player.
The possible current roster pitchers that could close are:
Going into spring training I see Brain Fuentes getting the best chance to close and likely open the season as the closer. That is assuming the A’s don’t trade him before April. To young prospects that the A’s brought up last year were Neil Wagner and Jordan Norberto. Both have lights out stuff and could be future closers. Jordan Norberto has two seasons in AAA under his belt with 6 saves in 86.1 innings and struck out a whopping 102 batters. Neil Wagner was very effective in AAA where he recorded two saves in 29 innings, striking out 34. He has 44 minor league saves and 425 Ks in 363 innings. Both these guys have high velocity fastballs and great breaking pitches.
My focus on the A’s future closer once Brian Fuentes is traded (mid-season) or he fails would be on Jordan Norberto.
Many feel that Joey Devine is the likely candidate for the closing job in Oakland and that analysis is correct. Devine is a 7 year veteran with a career 2.75 ERA. His major problem is his health. Granted his career has been limited over 7 years, his health has been a problem. He only has made 96 major league appearances. I don’t think the A’s will trust Devine and like him better in a 7th inning or setup role.
2012 Fantasy Baseball Draft Analysis: Draft Brian Fuentes, but wait until round 17 at the earliest. Draft Jordan Norberto in the latest rounds 25+. He could prove to be a deep sleeper.