A's Ink Chad Gaudin

Tom DubberkeCorrespondent IMarch 29, 2010

The A’s have reportedly signed Chad Gaudin for $700,000.

I wrote a post four days ago in which I said that I thought a lot of teams would compete for Gaudin after the Yankees cut him loose.  Well, Gaudin certainly signed quickly, but for considerably less than I expected.  Most likely, after his poor Spring (8.68 ERA in 9.1 IP), Gaudin got bigger offers than the $700,000 the A’s gave him, but they were of the non-guaranteed, minor league variety.

The A’s have had a number of injuries in their bullpen this Spring, so that is where Gaudin is expected to start the season.  I suspect, however, that at some point he will become their fifth starter.

At this price, it’s a great deal for the A’s.  I’ll be surprised if Gaudin isn’t a major league caliber pitcher this year at age 27, and even if he isn’t, $700,000 is a very small gamble for a guy who has a been an adequate fifth starter and middle reliever in the past.

Signing with Oakland also makes a certain amount of sense for Gaudin.  Aside from the fact that he’s played for the A’s before, the Oakland Coliseum is a great play to pitch.  It looks like if Gaudin spends the entire season with the A’s, he’ll have enough service time to become a free agent after the season ends.  A good year in Oakland would certainly put Gaudin in a better position contract-wise next off-season.

BTW, this makes Guadin the second former 2009 Yankee pitcher the A’s have acquired this off-season.  The A’s obtained Edwar Ramirez from the Rangers last week for light-hitting minor league middle infielder Gregorio Petit.

The Rangers had obtained Ramirez from the Yankees for cash considerations near the start of Spring Training after the Yankees had designated Ramirez for assignment to open up space on their 40-man roster.  At that time, I commented that he was available and someone should grab him.

Ramirez had a strong year in the Yankees’ bullpen in 2008, posting a 3.90 ERA in 55 appearances with 63 Ks in 55.1 IP.  His command declined in 2009, and he was hit pretty hard in limited time at the major league level.  Ramirez has great stuff with 116 Ks in 98.1 career major league innings pitched, but his command hasn’t been there, which means he gives up too many walks (56) and homeruns (19).

At age 29, it remains to be seen whether Ramirez’s control will improve enough before he begins to lose his stuff to become an honest-to-goodness major leaguer.  Still, he’s close enough that he’s a good risk to take.