Athletics acquire reliever Chris Resop from Pirates

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The Pirates announced earlier this evening that they traded reliever Chris Resop to the Athletics in exchange for right-hander Zach Thornton.

Resop earned $850,000 this past season while posting a 3.91 ERA and 46/24 K/BB ratio over 73 2/3 innings. While the 30-year-old right-hander did a better job limiting walks and inducing ground balls, he averaged just 5.6 K/9. That’s a huge decline from the 10.4 K/9 he averaged from 2010-2011. The Pirates evidently didn’t think it was worth giving him a raise for 2013 and were able to find a match before tonight’s 11:59 p.m. non-tender deadline.

Thornton, 24, posted a 4.53 ERA and 70/19 K/BB ratio over 53 2/3 innings this season with High-A Stockton. He has a 3.29 ERA and 9.9 K/9 over his first three seasons as a pro, but has only pitched one game above the High-A level.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.