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Oakland Athletics Close To Signing Brian Fuentes, Further Upgrading Their Bullpen

Major League sources are reporting that the Oakland Athletics are close to signing former Angels closer Brian Fuentes. The left-handed reliever, who finished 2010 with the Minnesota Twins after an August waiver trade, would likely get something a bit higher than Grant Balfour’s $8.1 million deal. Sources indicate he wants $5 million to $6 million per year.

Fuentes had previously been pursued by the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays, but apparently both teams have dropped out of the bidding. Fuentes would make a strong A’s bullpen even stronger. The team was unable to land some of the bigger name free agents so one has to imagine they think a dominant bullpen will improve their starting pitching (fewer innings needed from the starters), which makes it a sort of two-for-the-price-of-one kind of deal. On top of that, the team has several options available in case Andrew Bailey has any health issues. Fuentes would likely be the next in line for closer duties, but Balfour and Ziegler could potentially close the door on a short-term basis as well.

Closer
RHP Andrew Bailey

Set-up Men
LHP Brian Fuentes
RHP Grant Balfour

Middle Relievers
LHP Jerry Blevins
LHP Craig Breslow
RHP Michael Wuertz
RHP Brad Ziegler
RHP Joey Devine