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Braden and Devine File for Free Agency

October 30, 2012

Dallas Braden and Joey Devine were both outrighted to Triple-A Sacramento and refused their outright assignments becoming free-agents. Both pitchers have suffered through a series of injuries with both missing the entire 2012 campaign. Braden last pitched in early 2011 for the A’s and for his career has pitched 491 1/3 innings for the A’s, posting 5.6 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and 0.8 HR/9 for a 4.16 ERA and 3.99 FIP. He has been worth 7.7 WAR in his career (all with Oakland) across five seasons. Braden seemed a strong candidate to be non-tendered given the murky status of him going forward due to the injury concerns. Given his strong clubhouse presence I wouldn’t be shocked if the A’s resigned him to an incentive laden minor-league deal, but his electing free-agency and not presumably waiting to be non-tendered could signal that he may seek an opportunity elsewhere when Oakland is an organization so deeply stocked with starting pitching. Braden will be remembered mostly for his 2010 Mother’s Day perfect game which he threw against the Tampa Bay Rays with his grandmother in attendance. Otherwise, he was a serviceable good middle of the rotation junk thrower and team clown.

Devine is another person who may find himself back in the green and gold if they give him another shot. Devine too missed the 2012 season and has been electric when healthy, but has seldom been healthy. In 88 1/3 innings of MLB work he has posted a 2.75 ERA and 3.27 FIP good for 1.6 WAR while posting 9.1 K/9, 4.9 BB/9 and 0.3 HR/9 in time spent with both Atlanta and Oakland. Devine looked to be non-tendered as well this offseason and was originally acquired from Atlanta in exchange for Mark Kotsay.

Given that the A’s have gone about 14 months since seeing Devine play in a game and Braden has gone 18 months since appearing in a game for Oakland, the A’s should do fine without them and have already won a division title without either of their services. I would not be shocked to see either back in Oakland on incentive-laden minor league deals, but of the two Devine at this point seems more likely as the A’s bullpen is far from set and the depth there is not as extensive in the organization as it is for starting pitching.

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