The Oakland Athletics have bolstered their bullpen by signing free-agent right-handed pitcher Yusmeiro Petit to a two-year contract worth $10 million with a club option for 2020 worth $5.5 million that will come with a $1 million buyout. The deal is slightly back-loaded as Petit will earn $3.5 million in 2018 and $5.5 million in 2019. The Athletics will need to make a corresponding roster move, as their 40-man roster is currently at capacity.
Petit had something of a breakout season in 2017 as he led all relievers in innings pitched throwing 87.1 innings of 2.76 ERA ball with an even more impressive 1.8 BB/9 next to a 10 K/9 for the Los Angeles Angels. Petit signed a minor-league contract with the Halos last February, after being bought out of his contract with the Washington Nationals following the 2016 season. Petit earned a base salary of $2.25 million in 2017, while having $1.25 million in incentives in the deal.
Petit adds a rather solid and stable arm to the back half of the A’s bullpen already consisting of notable names including Liam Hendriks, Blake Treinen, Santiago Casilla, Frankie Montas, and Daniel Coulombe. It seems likely that he will be used as a reliable multi-inning reliever who will provide value, not just with his own pitching, but by taking the some of the strain off of some of the higher leverage guys. Based on the duration of the contract, potentially spanning over three seasons, Petit seems as if he is viewed by the A’s front office as a potential part of the next competitive A’s team.
It seems like a relative bargain for the Athletics in comparison to other relievers coming off of similar seasons. For example, in 2015, Ryan Madson parlayed a 1.7 WAR into a three-year contract worth $22 million going into his age 35 season, while Petit posted a comparable 1.6 WAR last season, and was signed for two-years at $10 million with a club option going into his age 33 season. This is a move that will pay dividends sooner rather than later. (hat-tip to baseball-reference.com for the annual WAR’s of Madson and Petit).