De Los Santos optioned in flurry of bullpen moves
The front end of the A’s bullpen received a makeover on Wednesday, the biggest news coming from the demotion of right-hander Fautino De Los Santos, who was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento.
Righty Rich Thompson, just days after being claimed off waivers from the Angels, was designated for assignment, and another righty, Jim Miller, was selected from Sacramento to round out the flurry of roster moves.
De Los Santos, whose roster spot was taken by Wednesday starter Jarrod Parker, compiled a respectable 3.00 ERA in six relief appearances, having not allowed a run in five of his six games. But his other numbers were less desirable, as he exited with a 3.33 WHIP, a .412 opponents batting average and .500 on-base percentage.
Expected to be a significant piece in the later innings, De Los Santos was plagued by mechanical issues, as he regularly struggled to find rhythm out of the stretch and didn’t record an out in his last three outings. But manager Bob Melvin said he believes his Minor League stint “isn’t a long-term thing.”
“He’s a guy that pitched very well for us last year, has a high ceiling,” he said. “It was just to the point now where he was struggling to throw strikes, and when he did, I don’t think he had a lot of confidence. We don’t have too many guys like him that have the potential to be a late-inning reliever with plus stuff. We need to get him right, and he understands that.”
Only three right-handers currently reside in the A’s bullpen, its newest member being Miller, who brings with him a 3.00 ERA and a .188 batting average, including a .095 mark against right-handers, with eight strikeouts and just two walks in nine innings.
Miller was used in various roles in Sacramento, the closer’s job included, but Melvin said he envisions the right-hander in a long-relief role for now. Miller, 29, is just happy for the opportunity.
“I was sitting down in clubhouse last night when [manager] Darren Bush walked in and told everyone, ‘Hey somebody’s going up tomorrow,’” Miller recalled. “He reached out and shook my hand, and I was a deer in headlights. Totally wasn’t expecting this at all.”
It’s safe to assume Thompson wasn’t, either. The right-handed Aussie pitched just 2/3 scoreless innings for the A’s before being designated Wednesday, and Melvin simply deemed the decision one based on “an influx of roster moves.”
“It’s too bad,” he said. “It certainly wasn’t a performance-based thing. It was just more a numbers game than anything else at this point. And when you’re out of options, you have the designation. Really, I’d like to see him again. We’d like to see him get to Triple-A and have the option to bring him back.”