The Oakland Athletics announced Friday they have agreed to terms on a five-year extension with left-handed reliever Sean Doolittle that will keep him in Oakland through 2018.
The deal also includes team options for 2019 and 2020, according to the club, which announced the move on Twitter:
The #Athletics agree to terms with Sean Doolittle on a new 5-year contract. Contract runs through ’18, includes club options for ’19, ’20.
— Oakland Athletics (@Athletics) April 18, 2014
Doolittle is a converted position player who has evolved into one of the most dominant lefty relievers in the American League as well as a fan favorite at O.co Coliseum.
He burst onto the scene in 2012 with a 3.04 ERA and 1.077 whip while striking out 60 hitters in 47.1 innings and settled in last season to post a 3.13 ERA and 0.957 WHIP in 69 innings over 70 appearances as the A’s top late-innings lefty.
So far this season, he has a 3.12 ERA and 0.808 WHIP in 8.2 innings over eight appearances, with nine strikeouts. He also is 1-for-2 in save opportunities, getting a couple of chances to close after Jim Johnson was moved out of the ninth-inning role this week.
Doolittle is effective in part because he can get hitters out from either side of the plate. Right-handed hitters have actually fared worse against Doolittle in his career than lefties have, with righty swingers posting a .213/.257/.320 batting line against him, as opposed to .228/.263/.353 for left-handed batters.
It’s a deal that benefits both sides. Doolittle gets his money without having to fight through the arbitration process and, in return, the A’s get the option of controlling Doolittle through the first two seasons he would be eligible for free agency.