Jordan Norberto had a 2.77 ERA and 46/22 K/BB ratio in 52 innings out of Oakland’s bullpen last season, but he failed to crack the Opening Day roster this year and today the A’s released him.
The move cleared room on the 40-man roster for first baseman Daric Barton, who’s rejoining the A’s after previously being designated for assignment and passing through waivers unclaimed last week. He’s getting another opportunity because of injuries to Coco Crisp, Chris Young, and Josh Reddick.
Releasing a 26-year-old reliever with just one season of service time coming off a very useful year is unusual, but Norberto has been limited to just three appearances in the minors because of elbow problems and the A’s clearly think they have plenty of bullpen depth.
When the Astros acquired suspended reliever Roberto Osuna it was viewed as a low-price move to bolster their bullpen. Now, it turns out, it was a move to get a closer. Manager A.J. Hinch said as much today, anyway, telling MLB Network Radio that Osuna is going to get most of Houston’s save chances going forward.
This comes the morning after a late innings loss to the Mariners. The closer who Osuna is going to take over for — Hector Rondon — didn’t even pitch in that game, with the damage coming on a three-run Robinson Cano homer off of Collin McHugh. Rondon has blown saves in two of his last three appearances, however, coughing up runs against the Mariners at home on August 12 and against the A’s this past Friday.
Osuna has made five appearances since joining the Astros, allowing one run, striking out three and walking one in five innings of work. Before that he saved nine games for the Blue Jays prior to his domestic violence suspension.