According to a report, the competition for bullpen jobs in spring training for the Oakland Athletics is actually a competition for the bullpen job.
MLB.com reported Tuesday that six of the seven available spots in the ‘pen are already spoken for, barring some sort of injury.
Jim Johnson, acquired from Baltimore in December, will close. Sean Doolittle, Ryan Cook and Dan Otero will be joined by Luke Gregerson, who came over from the Padres in an offseason trade, in the setup roles. Jesse Chavez appears locked into the long relief role.
Manager Bob Melvin said in his mind, there’s one job to be had.
“I think six of them could be fairly obvious and then there’s that seventh spot, and you always want that kind of competition,” Melvin said. “You don’t want to come in with no jobs available, even though I do tell these guys, just because you don’t start with us doesn’t mean you can’t be a big piece for us, based on the amount of players we used the last couple of years.”
But Scribner is also out of options, meaning he would have to clear waivers if the A’s want to send him back to Sacramento.
Scribner, 28, was a waiver claim from San Diego in October 2011 and has made 48 relief appearances over the last two seasons for the A’s. Last season, he pitched in 18 games and had a 4.39 ERA and 1.238 WHIP in 26.2 innings, striking out 19. He had a 2.22 ERA and 0.918 WHIP in 31 appearances and 44.2 innings at Sacramento, earning a save and striking out 58 batters.
He has experience as a closer in the minors, notching 21 saves while pitching for San Antonio in the Texas League in 2009 while a member of the Padres organization. He was originally taken in the 28th round by the Diamondbacks in 2007 out of Central Connecticut State University and was traded to San Diego in July 2008. He made his major league debut in April 2011 for the Padres.
The two left-handers are a pair of newcomers to the organization. Abad was acquired in November from the Nationals in exchange for minor-leaguer John Wooten, while Savery was claimed off waivers from Philadelphia on Feb. 17.
Abad, 28, worked in 39 games for Washington a season ago, posting a 3.35 ERA and 1.381 WHIP in 37.2 innings with 32 strikeouts. He also made 17 appearances at Triple-A Syracuse with a 1.06 ERA and 1.118 WHIP in 17 innings while fanning 12.
Savery, also 28, made 18 appearances for the Phillies in 2013 with a 3.15 ERA and 1.300 WHIP in 20 innings, while striking out 14. He pitched in 20 games and notched two saves for Triple-A Lehigh Valley with a 3.80 ERA and 1.141 WHIP in 23.2 innings, striking out 29.
Abad was originally signed by Houston as an international free agent in 2002 and made his big-league debut for the Astros in July 2010 and opted to become a free agent rather than accept an outright assignment to the minors after the 2012 season. He signed with Washington as a free agent.
Savery was a first-round pick of the Phillies—19th overall—out of Rice University in 2007 and debuted with Philadelphia in September 2011.
It looks like it will be a spirited competition—as it usually is when three guys are battling for one spot—but the added flexibility of a second left-hander to fill the role vacated by Jerry Blevins could be hard to resist.