The A’s squeezed in two minor moves before Friday’s non-waiver trade deadline, acquiring depth for their starting rotation and parting ways with a former All-Star.
In the first deal, the A’s acquired left-hander Felix Doubront from the Toronto Blue Jays for cash considerations. Doubront has shuffled between Toronto and Triple-A this season and was designated for assignment this week by the Blue Jays. In his career, Doubront is 29-24 with a 4.78 ERA, mostly as a starter.
A’s manager Bob Melvin said Doubront’s role on the team hasn’t been determined yet, but he provides the A’s another option for a starting rotation that they’re still piecing together since the trade of Scott Kazmir. Doubront just started against the A’s on July 22 and allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings, but Melvin said the move indicates “our scouts and player development people have liked what they’ve seen out of him.”
“He’s been a starter, so we’ll see how that goes in the coming days,” Melvin said. “But whether it’s trades or injury, our starting pitching depth has been cut back, so you always want to have five, six, seven guys you can rely on to start.”
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Melvin said Doubront will likely join the A’s on Saturday, at which point they’ll make a 25-man roster move for him. They will also have to clear a roster spot for Aaron Brooks, the right-hander acquired last week from Kansas City who will start Saturday’s game against the Cleveland Indians.
Also Friday, the A’s traded reliever Ryan Cook to the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named later or cash. A fixture of the A’s bullpen the past few years, Cook had spent most of this season at Triple-A Nashville after battling control issues in Oakland early in the year. Cook was an All-Star as a rookie for the A’s in 2012, and saved 14 games while helping lead the team’s late-season charge to a division title.
“He’s had some trouble this year, but I don’t know that we accomplish what we did (without him), certainly in ’12,” Melvin said. “He’s been paramount to the success we’ve had here the last three years.”
Melvin said he exchanged texts with Cook after hearing of the trade and “wished him the best” with the Red Sox. Cook was 4-1 with a 4.05 ERA in 30 games this season at Triple-A, saving eight games in 13 chances. At his best with the A’s, Cook had a devastating fastball-splitter-slider combination, but Melvin said command issues cropped up that “ended up biting him a little bit.”
“Sometimes when you get sent down you can get a little bogged down with your confidence and your motivation,” Melvin said. “Sometimes just a chance of scenery and new organization can really invigorate you. I think that’s the case with him. I know he’s excited for the opportunity.”
▪ Brooks, acquired in the Ben Zobrist trade with the Royals, joined the A’s on Friday and said he’s looking forward to being tested immediately with Saturday’s start. The 25-year-old right-hander has spent most of this season at Triple-A Omaha, going 6-5 with a 3.71 ERA in 18 games (17 starts), but said his sparse big-league experience with Kansas City mostly consisted of relief appearances.
“They were seeming to use me a little differently than what I’m already seeing (with the A’s),” Brooks said. “For me, that’s a huge confidence booster and just really makes me want to go out there and trust my stuff.”
Brooks said he uses a four-pitch mix with a curveball, slider and changeup. He showed good control in the minors this year, issuing just 21 walks in 106 2/3 innings and striking out 92,and said he mostly tries to use that mix of pitches to keep hitters guessing.
Brooks said being traded was “a big surprise,” and the A’s weren’t on his radar at all, but he’s excited to get an opportunity at the big-league level – and to be back in California. Brooks was born in Montclair and went to Cal State San Bernardino, and said he has a large group of family members coming up from Southern California for his first start.
“They haven’t seen me play in seven years,” Brooks said.
After Brooks, the A’s have Sonny Gray starting Sunday against the Indians, then list their starter for Monday as TBA. That could be a spot for Doubront if the A’s elect to slot him into the rotation.
▪ Coco Crisp went 1-for-4 in his third rehab game with High-A Stockton Thursday and played nine innings in the outfield. Melvin said Crisp would play nine innings again Friday, one more game with the Ports, then rejoin the A’s likely on Sunday to be re-evaluated. If all goes well, it sounds like Crisp could be activated as early as Monday.
▪ Reliever Sean Doolittle felt good a day after his first bullpen session off a mound, playing some light catch, and will throw another bullpen on Saturday.
* The A’s Friday lineup against Indians right-hander Danny Salazar:
And the Indians’ lineup against A’s right-hander Kendall Graveman:
▪ One unofficial deadline acquisition: Josh Reddick brought a chinchilla into the A’s clubhouse Friday, setting up the cage by his locker. Reddick said the chinchilla’s name is “Chuckie,” since that starts with the same two letters as “chinchilla.”
“I got a quick look at him,” Melvin said. “He’s cute. Hopefully he can bring us some luck.”