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Athletics rumors: Lefty reliever Eric O'Flaherty could debut in Oakland soon

The next wave of neo-Beane relievers is coming.

Joe Murphy

Free agent signing Eric O'Flaherty could make his debut for the Athletics soon, according to SFGate's Susan Slusser. O'Flaherty signed a two-year, $7 million deal with Oakland this offseason during general manager Billy Beane's bullpen blitz, in which he added relievers Jim Johnson, Luke Gregerson, Fernando Abad, and Drew Pomeranz -- who could end up as a starter, but is currently in the pen.

O'Flaherty, 29, recently threw a 30-pitch bullpen session. His next step will be pitching to hitters in preparation for a minor league rehab assignment. He's eligible to come off of the 60-day disabled list on May 29.

Oakland might desperately need him if their rotation loses another arm. Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin are out for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery on back to back days in March -- the same operation O'Flaherty is recovering from. If one of the A's regular starter gets injured or struggles, Pomeranz could end up starting games for the team, which would leave them with just Abad and Sean Doolittle on the left side of their bullpen.

The team claimed Joe Savery off of waivers in March, but O'Flaherty would give them a much more reliable option if he can return to his pre-TJ form.

In nearly 250 innings with Atlanta from 2009 to 2013, he put up a 1.99 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. This season, he'll make just $1.5 million -- presumably a prorated figure to account for recovery time. However, his track record was string enough to earn him a second year worth $5.5 million from a club that consistently ranks in the lower half of team payroll.

Billy Beane must've seen a market inefficiency in relief pitching this winter, and his magic may fizzle out at any minute, but if the A's keep winning, he might have to look for a new inefficiency for 2015.