A’s Sign Ekstrom to MiLB Deal With Invitation to Spring Training
The A’s signed right-handed reliever Mike Ekstrom today who had elected free agency earlier this month after a stint with the Colorado Rockies. Financial terms were not released but Ekstrom was signed to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training. Ekstrom who recently turned 29, shuttled between the Majors and Triple-A for the past five seasons with the Padres, Rays and most recently Rockies. Last year with Colorado, Ekstrom threw 15 2/3 innings of 5.2 K/9, 1.2 BB/9 and 0.6 HR/9 baseball for a 6.32 ERA opposing a good 3.16 FIP (a .333 BABIP and 55.6% strand rate help explain that disparity) adding up to a total of 0.2 WAR. With Colorado Springs of the Pacific Coast League he fared better throwing 57 innings with 9.0 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 while keeping the ball in the park for a stellar 2.31 FIP to go with his strong 2.53 ERA – especially noteworthy given the nature of the PCL.
Ekstrom just represents organizational depth but this year demonstrated just how valuable these pitchers can be though their contributions aren’t particularly expected. Jim Miller, signed in a similar fashion last offseason, ultimately threw 48 2/3 innings for the A’s en route to the division crown. Likewise, other overlooked at the time MiLB moves produced Travis Blackley and Brandon Moss, key piece in the A’s good fortunes.