The A's announced Friday they did not tender contracts to right-handed pitchers Mike Fiers, Kendall Graveman and Cory Gearrin, making all three free agents.
Graveman and Gearrin's non-tenders were somewhat expected, but Fiers is a bit of a surprise, especially considering Oakland's desperate need for starting pitching. The 33-year-old was the A's number one starter at the end of last season, going 5-2 with a 3.74 ERA after coming over from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for prospects Nolan Blackwood and Logan Shore.
Last season, Fiers went 12-8 overall with a 3.56 ERA, 10th best in the American League. He ranked fifth in the AL issuing just 1.94 walks per nine innings.
Fiers was projected to get $9.7 million in arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors. While that's certainly not the cheapest price tag, it seemed reasonable for a number one or two starter. Instead, Fiers will hit the free agent market where he figures to draw plenty of interest.
With Fiers gone, the A's have no starting pitchers from last year's rotation under contract for next season. Executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane said last month that addressing the starting rotation would be a top priority this offseason. He and general manager David Forst will have to pursue those arms through free agency.
Graveman was Oakland's Opening Day starter last season but struggled to a 1-5 record and 7.60 ERA. He later underwent Tommy John surgery and is expected to miss the entire 2019 season. The 27-year-old was projected to get $2.5 million in arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors.
Gearrin only pitched six innings for the A's, allowing four earned runs. He went 2-1 with one save and a 3.77 ERA last season between San Francisco, Texas and Oakland. The 32-year-old was projected to get $2.4 million in arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors.
The A's did tender contracts to their other six arbitration-eligible players: Khris Davis, Marcus Semien, Blake Treinen, Sean Manaea, Mark Canha, and Ryan Buchter. Oakland earlier reached one-year deals with Liam Hendriks, Ryan Dull, and Josh Phegley.