April 5, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Eric O

Oakland Athletics Add Lefty Eric O’Flaherty To Pen On 2-Year Deal

The Oakland Athletics have signed free agent reliever Eric O’Flaherty to a two-year deal, but the left-hander won’t be available until midseason.

MLB.com reported the signing, two years and $7 million, on Wednesday. The 28-year-old had Tommy John surgery performed in May and is not expected to be ready to pitch until around the All-Star break.

Prior to the injury, however, O’Flaherty was one of the best left-handed relievers in baseball. In 19 appearances last season for the Atlanta Braves, O’Flaherty posted a 2.50 ERA and 0.944 WHIP in 18 innings with 11 strikeouts.

The previous two seasons, though, O’Flaherty was off-the-charts good. In 2011-12 for the Braves, O’Flaherty posted a 1.31 ERA and 1.115 WHIP in 142 appearances and 131 innings with 113 strikeouts. In 2011, he had a wins above replacement value (WAR) of 3.3, an almost unheard of total for a middle reliever.

O’Flaherty was drafted in the sixth round in 2003 by the Seattle Mariners out of Walla Walla (Wash.) High School and made his big-league debut for the Mariners in August 2006. The Braves claimed him off waivers in November 2008 and got an absolute steal.

In five years with the Braves, O’Flaherty appeared in 295 games with a 1.99 ERA and 1.155 WHIP in 249.1 innings with 199 strikeouts.

Tags: Eric O'flaherty Oakland Athletics

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