Pat Neshek’s year-plus stint with the Oakland A’s appears over as the reliever has elected free agency.
The 33-year-old right-hander appeared in 45 games this past season and went 2-1 with a 3.35 ERA. He was acquired from the Baltimore Orioles in August 2012 and went 2-1 with a 1.37 ERA in 24 games.
Neshek provided one of the A’s most inspirational moments of that 2012 season when he pitched a scoreless outing against Detroit in Game 1 of the American League Division Series, just three days after the loss of his newborn son, Gehrig, who died unexpectedly.
As the roster stands now, the expected returners in Oakland’s bullpen include Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle, Dan Otero, Jerry Blevins and Jesse Chavez. Closer Grant Balfour is expected to command heavy interest on the free-agent market and his return appears doubtful.
Doolittle and Cook are the leading in-house candidates to assume closer duties, but expect the A’s to look into acquiring late-inning relief help as well.