The Oakland Athletics have re-signed reliever Deolis Guerra to a minor league contract after designating him for assignment at the 40-man roster deadline ahead of the Rule 5 Draft last month.
Guerra signed with the A’s as a free agent before the 2021 season, and worked his way into a prominent role in the A’s bullpen that season as Yusmeiro Petit’s apprentice in Bob Melvin’s bullpen. He appeared in 53 games for Oakland that season and tossed 65 2/3 innings to the tune of a 4.11 ERA.
Guerra needed Tommy John surgery before Opening Day in 2022 and missed the entire season.
Having him back on a minor league deal gives the A’s a valuable bullpen depth piece once he is fully recovered from injury, though newcomer Domingo Acevedo has seemingly taken over Petit’s old role in the bullpen under Mark Kotsay.
To make room for new signees Jace Peterson and Aledmys Díaz, the A’s DFA’d Ernie Clement and Yonny Hernandez.
Hernandez had signed a minor league deal with the A’s earlier in the off-season, and a day after being DFA’d, he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for cash.
According to the A’s transactions page, Ernie Clement has been outrighted to Las Vegas.
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The A’s brought in another veteran reliever in Trevor May, which led to Cody Thomas getting DFA’d. Thomas hit 18 home runs in 59 games during the 2021 season, but injuries have kept him from getting regular playing time. He got into just ten games in Triple-A in 2022.
The A’s also signed Brayan Polanco, a 6-foot-6 right-handed pitcher, to a minor-league deal. There is no information on Polanco, and he looks to be an international signing.
Finally, the A’s also came to terms on a minor-league deal with left-hander Garrett Williams. Williams was drafted by the Giants in the 7th round of the 2016 Draft, and was traded to the Angels as the player to be named later in the Zack Cozart deal back in 2019.
He was then claimed off waivers by the Cardinals late in 2020 and elected free agency last month before signing with the A’s. He went 1-9 with a 5.73 ERA in 2022, racking up 101 strikeouts in 77 innings pitched.
His strikeout rates have consistently been in the double-digits post-pandemic, but in 80 Triple-A innings in the last two seasons combined, he has walked 70 batters. The A’s like to take chances on guys with control issues and high strikeout rates, and Williams fits that bill.
Though he made 11 starts out of 18 appearances in Triple-A Memphis last season, a lot of those were more in an opener role where he’d go one or two innings. In his final start of the ’22 campaign, he went five innings against Nashville and gave up just one hit, walked three and struck out two.
Fun fact: Williams once struck out 17 batters in the Little League World Series.