A's Trade Saarloos To Reds For Reliever

The Oakland A's cleared some of their roster crunch on Tuesday and trimmed their payroll by sending swingman Kirk Saarloos to the Cincinnati Reds along with a player to be named later. In return, the A's received minor league reliever David Shafer and a player to be named later of their own.

During his two and a half seasons with Oakland, Kirk Saarloos played a number of different roles. He was the team's primary fifth starter in 2005, going 10-9 with a 4.17 ERA in 29 appearances (27 starts). He also made five starts in 2004 for the A's. In 2006, Saarloos was used as a reliever first and a fill-in starter second, making 16 starts and 19 relief appearances.

Saarloos' versatility was very valuable for the A's in 2004-2006. However, with the addition of a number of pitchers who can both start and relieve (Chad Gaudin, Brad Halsey, Jason Windsor and Shane Komine), that versatility wasn't needed as much on the A's roster. And with Saarloos being the highest-paid of any of the aforementioned pitchers, the A's deemed him expendable, sending him to Cincinnati in exchange for minor league closer David Shafer.

At the start of the 2006 season, it seemed that Saarloos was in-line to replace former A's reliever Chad Bradford as the team's groundball specialist out of the bullpen. Like Bradford, Saarloos is a soft-tosser who relies heavily on the movement of his pitches to induce a lot of groundballs. However, unlike Bradford, Saarloos struggled at times with his command and rarely struck hitters out. In 2006, he walked 53 batters and struck out only 52 in 121.1 innings. That lack of control made it difficult for the A's to use him with runners on-base in late-inning situations.

The A's also likely needed to clear some salary space and with Saarloos being traded, the A's have now freed up $1.2 million. Oakland had the most arbitration-eligible players in the league this off-season.

In return, the A's receive minor league closer David Shafer, who will add to the A's growing list of outstanding right-handed minor league relievers. The 24-year-old Shafer saved 26 games for Double-A Chattanooga last season. A Central Arizona College alum, Shafer has an impressive minor league career WHIP of 1.11. He has spent his entire career with Cincinnati since signing before the 2002 season. He has averaged 9.84 strikeouts per nine innings during his career and has walked only 2.71 batters per nine innings.

The A's and Reds will also exchange players to be named later.

We will have more analysis on this trade later in the evening...

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