The A’s added some bullpen depth Monday, acquiring lefty reliever Fernando Abad from the Washington Nationals in exchange for Single-A outfielder John Wooten.
Abad posted a 3.35 ERA in 39 appearances with Washington last season. He pitched primarily in a middle relief and setup role, and he’ll arrive at spring training looking to earn a spot in a bullpen that will also include lefties Sean Doolittle and Jerry Blevins.
The trade for Abad does not preclude the A’s from continuing to look for bullpen help, as they stand to lose closer Grant Balfour to free agency. Doolittle and Ryan Cook are the top in-house options to take over the ninth inning.
One free agent reliever recently came off the board when right-handed sidearmer Joe Smith agreed to terms on a three-year, $15.75 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels also are reportedly eyeing free agent starter Bartolo Colon, who Oakland has interest in re-signing.
The A’s are exploring their options to add a starting pitcher, whether it be the 40-year-old Colon – an 18-game winner for them last season – or someone else via free agency or trade. One starter to cross off the list is right-hander Dan Haren, who reportedly has agreed to a one-year $10 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Abad, who turns 28 next month, spent his first three big league seasons with the Houston Astros. Overall, the Dominican Republic native is 1-14 with a 4.56 ERA in 127 outings. He isn’t eligible for arbitration until next winter, so he was not a costly pick-up.
Wooten was drafted in the 37th round by the A’s in 2012. He batted .257 with 20 home runs and 69 RBI in 133 games with low Single-A Beloit last season.