Tag: Sean Doolittle

poses for a portrait during the spring training photo day at HoHoKam Stadium on February 28, 2015 in Mesa, Arizona.

Athletics activate Sean Doolittle from disabled list


Things haven’t gone according to plan for the Athletics and closer Sean Doolittle this season, but here’s some good news to pass along.

Doolittle has been limited to just one appearance this season due to a partially torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder. He missed the first six weeks of the season before making his return on May 27, but he went right back on the disabled list a few days later.

While there was some question about whether Doolittle would pitch again this season, he has made solid progress of late and there were positive reports during his minor league rehab assignment. He allowed one run in four inning and struck out the side in each of his last two appearances. Jane Lee of MLB.com notes that he was sitting in the 90-92 mph range while topping out at 93 mph.

Tyler Clippard functioned as the closer while Doolittle was sidelined, but he was traded to the Mets last month. It has been a bumpy ride in the A’s bullpen since, so Doolittle could get a chance to reclaim his old job. At the very least, he could go into the offseason with some peace of mind about his health.

Doolittle, 28, owns a 2.95 ERA with 10.6 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 over 176 appearances in the majors. He saved 22 games for Oakland last season.

A’s expected to trade closer Tyler Clippard very soon

Tyler Clippard A's

Now that the A’s are officially open for business following the Scott Kazmir trade Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that closer Tyler Clippard is the next impending free agent expected to be traded away from Oakland and “perhaps as soon as Monday.”

Clippard was acquired from the Nationals this offseason to act as the A’s setup man and instead stepped into the closer role with Sean Doolittle hurt. He’s been shaky at times thanks to poor control, but Clippard has a 2.79 ERA and .175 opponents’ batting average in 39 innings and has been an elite-level reliever since 2009.

According to Slusser the interested teams include the Yankees, Mets, and Nationals, for whom Clippard pitched from 2008-2014. And he actually came up with the Yankees in 2007 as a prospect before being traded to the Nationals.

A’s closer Sean Doolittle: “I have my mind set on pitching this year”

doolittle getty

Being without All-Star closer Sean Doolittle for all but one game this season is one of many things that have gone wrong for the A’s on the way to a 44-52 record, but Doolittle hasn’t given up hope of pitching again in 2015.

On the disabled list with a shoulder injury for the second time, Doolittle told Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com:

I’ve been working so hard to get back. I have my mind set on pitching this year. Obviously we’re going to be smart with it. But it looks like there’s a really good chance I’ll be pitching this year.

Tyler Clippard has subbed for Doolittle in the closer role, but as an impending free agent the A’s may be looking to trade Clippard. If nothing else, Doolittle returning for some late-season appearances would give him and the A’s a little confidence heading into 2016 and perhaps even enough to label him as the closer again heading into the offseason.

Doolittle converted from first baseman to reliever and debuted for the A’s in 2012, first thriving as a setup man and then thriving as a closer. Overall he has a 2.95 ERA and 211/32 K/BB ratio in 180 innings, including an All-Star appearance last year.

Bullpen-starved contenders can target Chapman, Papelbon, Clippard, K-Rod in deadline deals

aroldis chapman getty

Now that the All-Star game is over the next big date to circle on the baseball calendar is the July 31 trade deadline.

Starting pitching tends to generate the juiciest rumors and multiple aces could be available this year–Hamels! Cueto! Price!–but contending teams in search of a shutdown closer or reliable setup men also have some big names to choose from.

Here’s my view of prominent relievers likely to generate considerable trade interest between now and July 31 …

LHP Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds

Everyone seems to assume that the rebuilding Reds will trade impending free agent ace Johnny Cueto, but their plans for All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman aren’t as clear. Chapman is only 27 years old and under team control for next season, so the Reds aren’t in as much of a rush to trade him. However, his 2016 salary will likely be more than $10 million via arbitration and if they’re eventually going to shop Chapman around why wait 12 months and risk an injury in the meantime?

Performance-wise Chapman is dominating as much as ever with a 1.69 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 37 innings while holding opponents to a .178 batting average. His triple-digit fastball and wipeout slider have the ability to transform a contending team’s bullpen and because any team acquiring him would be getting 1.5 seasons of excellence it’s possible the Reds can get more in return for Chapman than for Cueto. The big question is whether they want to part ways right now.

RHP Jonathan Papelbon, Philadelphia Phillies

Jonathan Papelbon has made it abundantly clear that he wants out of Philadelphia, providing strongly worded quotes to anyone who asks him about the rebuilding Phillies. Of course, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. presumably would have gladly traded him by now if there was a deal to be made that actually brought a decent prospect back to Philadelphia.

In the past Papelbon’s big contract scared teams off, but this is his final guaranteed season and even next year’s $13 million vesting option is around the going rate for top-level closers. And don’t let his personality or the Phillies’ lack of save situations mask the fact that he remains a top-level closer with a 1.60 ERA and 35/7 K/BB ratio in 34 innings this season. Papelbon has a 2.33 ERA and 89 percent save rate for the Phillies. He had a 2.33 ERA and 89 percent save rate for the Red Sox. He can still make a huge impact.

RHP Francisco Rodriguez, Milwaukee Brewers

After saving 44 games for the Brewers last season Francisco Rodriguez returned to Milwaukee in the middle of spring training by signing a two-year, $13 million deal. He made the All-Star team for a sixth time by saving 19 games with a 1.41 ERA and 37/9 K/BB ratio in the first half, but the last-place Brewers seemingly don’t have a ton of use for a 33-year-old closer. Rodriguez hasn’t always generated the most trade or free agent interest in recent years, so it’s possible his being under contract for $5.5 million next season may scare some teams off even though it’s a reasonable salary.

RHP Tyler Clippard, Oakland A’s

Oakland got Tyler Clippard from Washington this offseason to take over as the primary setup man, but he shifted to the closer role with Sean Doolittle hurt and has done a fine job with 17 saves and a 2.43 ERA in 37 innings. Clippard hasn’t been quite as dominant as he was for the Nationals and has struggled at times with his control, but opponents are batting below .200 off him for the third straight year. Oakland is 41-50 and he’s an impending free agent.

RHP Joaquin Benoit, San Diego Padres

Joaquin Benoit has been a consistently outstanding reliever since coming back from a bunch of injuries in 2010, posting a 2.36 ERA in 351 total innings during that time while serving as a setup man and closer. Even at age 37 he’s logged 38 innings with a 2.39 ERA this season, although his 33/15 K/BB ratio is underwhelming. San Diego is 41-49 and he’s an impending free agent.

RHP Steve Cishek, Miami Marlins

Steve Cishek saved 88 games in two-and-a-half seasons as Miami’s closer despite few people viewing the side-arming right-hander as ninth-inning material before it happened and then the Marlins demoted him to Double-A on June 1 following 19 rough innings. He returned two weeks later and has allowed just one run in 8.2 innings since, potentially re-emerging as a lower-wattage trade target for a team in need of seventh- or eighth-inning help.