OAKLAND -- In dire need of relief help this winter, the A's began the process of reshaping their bullpen by consummating a trade that sent Ryon Healy to the Mariners on Wednesday evening.In return, the A's acquired right-hander Emilio Pagan, who enjoyed a nice rookie season as part of Seattle's
OAKLAND -- In dire need of relief help this winter, the A's began the process of reshaping their bullpen by consummating a trade that sent Ryon Healy to the Mariners on Wednesday evening.
In return, the A's acquired right-hander Emilio Pagan, who enjoyed a nice rookie season as part of Seattle's relief corps, along with Minor League shortstop Alexander Campos.
Healy's departure is hardly surprising, despite his steady offensive production over the course of 221 games with Oakland. For months, he has been viewed as expendable as the A's seek to give more DH at-bats to Khris Davis. This makes it all the more likely that this plan will take shape, which means the A's are bound to acquire an outfielder this offseason.
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Healy, who started 77 games at DH in 2017, was essentially without a position. Oakland's corner-infield spots are occupied by first baseman Matt Olson and third baseman Matt Chapman, teammates he grew up with in the Minors.
"We've obviously talked a lot since the end of the season about adding to the bullpen," A's general manager David Forst said. "At the same time, with the emergence of Matt and Matt on the corners, we felt like maybe Ryon was going to be someone that we might have to move in order to add to that depth.
"Seattle expressed an early interest in [Healy], right after the season. We've been talking to them for the last month, and Pagan was a guy we had asked for in the past. Once it was clear he could be part of this deal, then we spent the last week or so trying to work it out."
Healy, 25, was long considered part of a youthful core that's shaping into a future contender, bursting onto the scene midway through the 2016 season, hitting 13 homers in just 72 games. In his first full big league season this year, he upped that total to 25 home runs in 149 games, batting .271 with 78 RBIs. However, his on-base percentage dipped from .337 to .302, ninth-lowest in the American League among qualified candidates.
Pagan made his Major League debut on May 3 and turned in a 3.22 ERA in 34 relief appearances over four stints with Seattle, holding opponents to a .212 average. The 26-year-old, who relies on a fastball-slider combo, struck out 56 batters in 50 1/3 innings, walking only eight, and Forst envisions him being a strong setup option for manager Bob Melvin.
The A's will continue to seek additional bullpen help, specifically from the left side to complement Pagan and Co.
"This was a guy that we thought could be an important part of our bullpen for a long time," Forst said.
Pagan's penchant for the strikeout can be traced to the early stages of his professional career; he amassed 305 of them in 257 1/3 Minor League innings. He was originally drafted by Seattle in the 10th round in 2013.
The right-handed-hitting Campos, meanwhile, came to the Mariners' organization out of Venezuela in 2016. He hit .290 with two home runs and 26 RBIs in 59 games for Seattle's affiliate in the Dominican Summer League, adding 41 walks for a .413 on-base percentage.
Just 17 years old, Pagan is expected to stick at shortstop, per Forst, who noted the A's originally eyed him during talks with Seattle that preceded August's Yonder Alonso trade.
"He's an outstanding athlete," Forst said. "He performed very well in the DSL. He walked more than he struck out and has a really good feel for the bat, but the athleticism is what kind of jumps out at you. Just an exciting prospect who was one of the higher-ranked guys coming out of that 2016 signing class."
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB and listen to her podcast.