MESA – Major League Baseball’s Opening Day is just around the corner and the Oakland A’s are, once again, hoping for a new beginning.
Oakland’s payroll is the lowest in baseball, but the A’s did make some additions this offseason in an attempt to return to the postseason after missing the playoffs the last two seasons.
Right-handed relief pitcher Trevor May, 33, signed a one-year contract with the A’s worth $7 million, making him the team’s highest paid player. Oakland will be May’s third team after he made his major league debut with the Minnesota Twins in 2014 and played the last two seasons with the New York Mets.
May helped both the Twins and Mets get to the playoffs, and the A’s are hopeful that his addition can bring back the winning roots to the East Bay.
“This team is poised to have some guys take big steps forward,” May said. “The A’s organization is notorious for matching that with its young core, so I think that is going to happen again.”
Mark Kotsay is entering his second season as manager of the A’s. He experienced postseason baseball in Oakland first hand as a player in 2006, the last time Oakland made the American League Championship Series.
Kotsay knows that May’s experience and leadership will be vital.
Just one returning pitcher, Domingo Acevedo, threw 50 innings in relief last year for the A’s, something May has done twice in the last three full seasons. Bringing in May who knows how to keep his arm fresh and help his teammates do so as well will be important for a young pen.
“We will lean on [May] for guidance and leadership,” Kotsay said. “Our young guys just need to utilize him.”
May did battle injuries in 2022. He pitched just 25 innings after spending three months on the injured list with tricep inflammation and a stint with COVID-19. With an expiring contract and a bad taste in his mouth, May opted to sign a one-year contract and reset his market.
May said “a lot of things” drew him towards Oakland, including getting to play on the West Coast for the first time in his career which is close to his home in Washington. May and his wife have friends who have never been able to see him play, which will now become much easier.
Oakland is also employing a new backstop tandem this year after trading Sean Murphy to the Atlanta Braves this offseason. Top prospect Shea Langeliers has 40 games of experience in the majors, while Manny Piña is new to the team and played in just five games with the Braves last season.
May, as one of the more experienced pitchers, will be able to work with the rest of the pitching staff and help with any miscommunication.
“It’s good for us to have a leader with the younger guys in the pen,” Piña said.
Piña has been impressed by May’s fastball command and his ability to throw multiple offspeed pitches. May will likely play a big role in the A’s bullpen if he can bounce back and remain healthy.
“I think I have a lot of experience to offer since I’ve been on all kinds of teams,” May said. “It’s part of the reason I love playing the game.”