OAKLAND — The A’s found a taker for Wilmer Font.
After designating Font for assignment Wednesday afternoon, the A’s found a destination for the right-handed pitcher just before Friday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for minor league right-handed pitcher Peter Bayer.
The A’s had originally acquired Font last month in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers. A hard-throwing right-hander whose fastball reached up to 98 mph, the A’s had hoped to unlock the potential they saw in Font. But in four relief appearances with Oakland, Font surrendered five home runs and was roughed up for a 14.85 ERA. His 10 home runs allowed combined with Oakland and Los Angeles are the most by a reliever in the majors.
Bayer, 24, was drafted by the Rays out of Cal Poly State, Pomona in the ninth round of the 2016 draft.
The right-hander doesn’t quite have the velocity Font had, with a fastball around 92-94 mph. But the movement on his fastball has helped him rack up 146 strikeouts in 103 2/3 innings over three seasons in Tampa Bay’s minor league system. His ERA was at 18.00 in five relief outings with the Rays High-A affiliate this season.
Font could find himself pitching against his former team soon, as the Rays arrive in Oakland Monday for a four-game series.
With the Rays a hot topic among baseball for their experiment in which they’ve been starting relief pitcher Sergio Romo for the first inning of their games, A’s manager Bob Melvin is interested to see if that pitching strategy continues at the Coliseum.
“I’d have to see it first-hand,” Melvin said when asked if he would consider such a strategy. “I have not heard at this point that they’re starting relievers against us. We’ll see if they are and how they go about it. But you almost have to look at it like a little bit more of a bullpen day against you, and we’re not afraid to match up as well. It’s an interesting philosophy and I guess they’ve had some success with it.”
Source: East Bay A’s trade Wilmer Font to Rays for minor league pitcher