Another day, another new closer in MLB.
According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, A’s manager Bob Melvin announced late Saturday night that veteran lefty Brian Fuentes will take over as the team’s new ninth-inning man.
Grant Balfour, who is sporting a 4.41 ERA and 11/6 K/BB ratio through 16 1/3 innings this season, has been demoted back to his old setup role.
“It’s where I feel most comfortable, and I believe I can get the job done,” Fuentes told reporters on Saturday after being informed of Melvin’s decision. “It’s good to know he has that confidence in me.”
The 36-year-old southpaw has posted a 3.86 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 12/2 K/BB ratio in 14 frames this year.
Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports that the Astros and reliever Ryan Pressly are close to finalizing a two-year, $17.5 million contract extension, which will also include a third-year vesting club option. Rome notes that the extension is believed to be the largest, in terms of both total money and average annual value, for a reliever who is not a closer.
Pressly, 30, agreed to a $2.9 million salary for the 2019 season back in January, avoiding arbitration in his final year of eligibility. The Astros acquired Pressly from the Twins near the end of July in exchange for a pair of minor leaguers. Pressly posted a 3.40 ERA in 47 2/3 innings with the Twins and a 0.77 ERA in 23 1/3 innings with the Astros. In the playoffs, Pressly allowed just one run on one hit and three walks with seven strikeouts across five innings of work.
Along with Héctor Rondón, Pressly will once again help bridge the gap to closer Roberto Osuna.