The Athletics continued to bolster their bullpen today, as they announced the signing of left-hander Eric O'Flaherty to a two-year contract. O'Flaherty, a client of the MVP Sports Group, is recovering from 2013 Tommy John surgery and expected back on the mound in July. His deal is reportedly worth a total of $7MM.
O'Flaherty was a dominant force coming out of the Atlanta 'pen from 2009-13 after being selected off waivers from the Mariners, posting a 1.99 ERA, 7.2 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 to go along with a 54.6 percent ground-ball rate. While he's unquestionably better against left-handed hitters, as one might expect, O'Flaherty has also held right-handed opponents to a sub-.700 OPS four times in the past five seasons. However, news broke in late May that the 28-year-old would require Tommy John surgery.
Despite his injury status, O'Flaherty was connected to a number of clubs this offseason, including the Braves and Nationals. The signing with Oakland, however, appears to be a bit out of the blue. The A's are taking on risk in this deal, and as a club with a low payroll, their margin for error is considerably lower than that of a team with deeper pockets.
O’Flaherty is the third key veteran to leave the Braves as a free agent this winter, following starting pitcher Tim Hudson, who went to San Francisco on a two-year, $23 million contract, and seven-time All-Star catcher Brian McCann, who got a five-year, $85 million deal with the Yankees.
O’Flaherty had a 1.95 ERA during 2009-2012 with the Braves, averaging 69 appearances during that four-year stretch. His 0.98 ERA in 2011 was major league record for 75 or more appearances.