A’s free agent closer options for 2022

Though the A’s are rarely big spenders in free agency, one area of their team they always seem to address year in and year out is the bullpen. We saw it last offseason, when the club tried hard at replacing All-Star closer Liam Hendriks with the signing of Trevor Rosenthal, who ultimately was lost for the season due to injury without making an appearance in the regular season.

This offseason strategy of adding relief arms has held true for the A’s even in rebuilding years of the last decade, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them add some arms once again this winter, particularly one with closing experience after multiple A’s relievers struggled to close out games in 2021.

Here are some free agent closing options Oakland could take a look at bringing in:

RHP Mark Melancon
Melancon is coming off a stellar All-Star campaign in which he led the National League with 39 saves for the Padres and posted a 2.23 ERA with 59 strikeouts in 64 2/3 innings. So what makes him attainable for a low-budget club like the A’s? The fact that he’ll be 37 by the time the 2022 regular season begins. Given his age, Melancon could be looking at a one-year deal and would immediately provide the A’s with a proven closer.

LHP Brad Hand
Hand bounced around with three different teams in 2021, combining for a 3.38 ERA in his time spent with the Nationals, Blue Jays and Mets. A couple of years removed from being an All-Star, the 31-year-old left-hander could be in search of a short-term deal that allows him to re-establish himself as a top closer, a chance Oakland could certainly provide.

RHP Alex Colomé
Colomé is another former All-Star in search of a bounce back after posting a 4.15 ERA with 17 saves in 67 appearances for the Twins last season. With 155 saves across nine big league seasons, Colomé might benefit from pitching in the pitcher-friendly Oakland Coliseum.

RHP Daniel Hudson
Hudson, 34, combined for a 3.31 ERA over 54 games with the Nationals and Padres last season. A starter in the early part of his career, Hudson has developed into a reliable late-inning reliever, even gaining closing experience in recent seasons. He certainly has the stuff to close out games, with a fastball that averaged 97 mph in 2021 complementing his power slider.

RHP Trevor Rosenthal
A torn hip labrum ended Rosenthal’s season officially in July. Expected to be back to full health in time for Spring Training, the A’s could see if the second time is the charm with the veteran right-hander, perhaps getting the production out of him that they hoped for last season prior to the injury. He was electric in 2020, posting a 1.90 ERA with 11 saves and 38 strikeouts across 23 2/3 innings pitched with the Royals and Padres.

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