Only a few days after signing veteran right-hander Russ Springer to a one-year deal, the Oakland A's added another reinforcement to their big league bullpen with the acquisition of right-hander Michael Wuertz from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for outfielder Richie Robnett and infielder Justin Sellers.
Wuertz spent most of last season with the Chicago Cubs, posting a 3.63 ERA in 45 appearances. He also spent a few months in Triple-A, where he had a 3.60 ERA in 17 outings. Wuertz has a 3.57 ERA in 262.1 career major league innings. The 30-year-old right-hander was an 11th round pick of the Cubs in 1997.
Wuertz has 270 strike-outs in 262.1 major league innings. He uses a sharp, late-breaking slider as his out-pitch. Wuertz joins Springer as the only projected A's reliever with more than a year of major league service time.
Robnett goes to Chicago after a disappointing tenure with the A's. The 2004 first-round pick has always teased scouts with his batting practice power, as he often clubs balls way out of the ballpark during BP. However, he struggled throughout his time with the A's to make consistent contact. In 1732 at-bats, he has struck-out 506 times. His career-high in homeruns came in 2005, when he hit 20 for High-A Stockton.
Last season was Robnett's poorest as a pro. He missed much of the first part of the season after undergoing surgery on his stomach and managed only a .236 average and three homeruns in 58 games with Triple-A Sacramento before being demoted to Double-A, where he hit .259 with one homer in 23 games. Robnett was added to the A's 40-man roster before last season.
Sellers had been making steady progress up the A's chain since being selected out of a Southern California high school in 2005. He spent the 2006 season in Kane County, the 2007 campaign with Stockton and the 2008 season with Midland. Sellers is only a .256 career hitter, but the 22-year-old has a career OBP of .343 and is considered an above-average defensive player both at second base and at shortstop.
Sellers may be the type of player who thrives outside of the A's organization. At only 5'10'', he isn't likely to hit for much power, but he can handle the bat well and has good speed. He stole only 48 bases in four seasons with Oakland, but he could produce much higher stolen base totals in an organization that runs more. He profiles as a utility infielder in the big leagues.