A’s sign Sean Doolittle to long-term extension

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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.