Left-hander Sean Doolittle and the A’s have agreed to a long-term contract that runs through at least 2018, with team options for 2019 and 2020.
Doolittle is making the minimum salary this season and was already under team control through 2018, so essentially the A’s pre-paid for his arbitration seasons and in return got cost certainty plus the right to buy out his first two years of free agency.
A converted position player, Doolittle has been one of the league’s best relievers since debuting in 2012 at age 25, throwing 125 innings with a 3.10 ERA and 129/24 K/BB ratio. He throws strikes and misses tons of bats, and the southpaw has actually been more effective versus righties than lefties.
Now that they don’t have to worry about huge arbitration demands it’ll be interesting to see if the A’s are more willing to give Doolittle a crack at the closer job at some point.
The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.
The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.
This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.
Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.