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.
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.