Williams Non-Tendered

When the Oakland A's claimed Jerome Williams off of waivers from the Chicago Cubs in September, the team spoke of Williams as a candidate to compete for the A's fifth starter spot. So it was a surprise on Tuesday when Oakland chose to non-tender the right-hander.

With Barry Zito all but out the door, the Oakland A's will enter the 2007 season with a big opening in their starting rotation. Oakland has a number of candidates for the role, however, former San Francisco Giant and Chicago Cub Jerome Williams was expected to be one of the main contenders for that job.

In a surprising turn of events, the A's chose to cut Williams loose by non-tendering him on Tuesday night. The move opened up a spot on the A's 40-man roster for the A's new DH, Mike Piazza.

Williams has a career 23-24 record at the major league level. He has a 4.03 ERA in 70 appearances, including 65 starts. Williams began his career with the San Francisco Giants. He had a big rookie season in 2003 as a 21-year old, going 7-5 with a 3.31 ERA in 21 starts for San Francisco.

He won 10 games for the Giants in 2004, but struggled in 2005 and was traded to Chicago. He posted a 3.91 ERA for the Cubs in 18 appearances (17 starts) at the end of the season for the Cubs and entered the 2006 season as the Cubs' fifth starter. However, he struggled in five early season appearances (7.30 ERA) and spent the rest of the season at AAA-Iowa.

Williams is a workhorse right-hander. Until this past season, he had always struck out more than five batters per nine innings and had generally displayed good control.

He had been criticized at times for his conditioning, although that had never prevented him from putting up a big number of innings. Williams is now a free agent and can be signed by any team, including Oakland.

With Williams off of the roster, the leading candidates for the A's fifth starter role are Joe Kennedy, Brad Halsey, Jason Windsor, Shane Komine and Kirk Saarloos.

Hiram Bocachica, Milton Bradley, Kiko Calero, Justin Duchscherer, Kennedy, Bobby Kielty, Adam Melhuse, Antonio Perez, Saarloos and Marco Scutaro were all eligible for arbitration and all were offered contracts before the Tuesday night deadline. They are all considered signed players now.

In total, 28 players were non-tendered around Major League Baseball. Some of the big names include Marcus Giles of the Braves, Jayson Werth and Toby Hall of the Dodgers, Aaron Rakers of the Orioles, Joel Pineiro of the Mariners, Jorge Sosa and Rick Ankiel of the Cardinals and Victor Zambrano of the Mets.

Former A's prospects Mike Wood, Edwardo Sierra and David Newhan were also non-tendered by their current teams.

Oakland Clubhouse Top Stories