From ESPN.com’s Buster Olney comes word that the A’s avoided arbitration with reliever Brad Ziegler on Saturday by agreeing to a one-year, $1.25 million contract.
Ziegler, a 31-year-old right-hander, posted a 3.26 ERA and 1.35 WHIP over 60.2 innings last season and a 3.07 ERA over 73.1 innings the year before. He was eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter and did pretty well for himself.
Last season he earned just $410,000. This season he will earn more than double that.
Thanks to a lights-out rookie season that saw him set a record for most scoreless innings (36.1) to start a career, the submariner from Missouri State University boasts a 2.51 career ERA across 193.2 major league frames. He should remain an effective and useful reliever in Oakland at least through his arbitration years.
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.