Wood provides veteran presence to young A's staff

February 2nd, 2024

This story was excerpted from Martín Gallegos’ A’s Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Adding a veteran-type starter who can provide guidance and mentorship for a young and inexperienced pitching staff topped the list of needs for the A’s this offseason.

They checked in on several free agents who fit that description early in the winter, including a possible reunion with right-hander Frankie Montas, who ultimately signed with the Reds last month. The trade market was another avenue Oakland was exploring.

It took a few months, but the A’s appear to have found that veteran pitcher by reaching an agreement with left-hander . The A’s had not officially announced the deal as of Thursday night, though a source told MLB.com that the contract is for one year.

Wood, an All-Star in 2017 with the Dodgers, has proven to be a durable arm over his career by going 76-65 with a 3.74 ERA over 269 games (202 starts) in 11 big league seasons. More recently, Wood pitched 367 innings across the bay from 2021-23 as a mainstay of the Giants’ rotation.

In ‘23, San Francisco utilized Wood in more of a swingman role. Dealing with separate back and hamstring injuries, he made 12 starts and appeared in a total of 29 games, posting a 4.33 ERA with 74 strikeouts and 42 walks in 97 2/3 innings.

Wood will likely slot back into a full-time starting role with the A’s, who hope he can help ease the burden on a rotation that used 24 starting pitchers last season, tied for a Major League record. Oakland's starters also pitched 738 innings in 2023, the fewest by any staff in the American League.

The addition of Wood seemingly gives Oakland three rotation locks, along with Paul Blackburn and JP Sears. The group of pitchers competing for rotation spots this spring includes Ken Waldichuk, Luis Medina, Joe Boyle, Joey Estes, Mitch Spence, Freddy Tarnok and Adrián Martínez.