Seattle’s long-in-the-works acquisition of Eric Bedard from Baltimore wasn’t the only recent transaction of note in the AL West. A little less than a year after bolting Cleveland’s spring training camp, former Red Sox closer Keith Foulke (above) is returning to Oakland. From the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser :
Foulke is back for another go-round with the A’s, signing a $700,000 one-year major-league deal that could be worth an additional $2.5 million in bonuses, including income bumps in the event the former All-Star performs set-up chores or if he closes games. According to A’s assistant general manager David Forst, Foulke will help left-hander Alan Embree set up for closer Huston Street.Foulke said on a conference call that he doesn’t have any problem with that role.
“I never considered myself a closer, I’ve always been a bullpen guy,” he said. “Sometimes pitching in the seventh inning is more valuable than pitching in the ninth.”
Though he hasn’t pitched in the big leagues in more than a year, Foulke’s inclusion in the bullpen will increase speculation that the rebuilding A’s will move Street or Embree this season.
“This is not an indication of anything other than this was an opportunity to acquire a good player who is going to help us win,” said Forst, who mentioned that the team continues to talk with some other free agents.