Ross Stripling, Alex Wood

The Oakland A’s officially announced the signing of left-handed pitcher Alex Wood Friday to a one-year deal.

Additionally, the team made a trade with the San Francisco Giants for right-handed pitcher Ross Stripling and cash considerations in exchange for minor-league outfielder Jonah Cox.

“Both guys will come to camp as starters,” A’s general manager David Forst told the media Friday.

Wood and Stripling have impressive resumes.

Stripling has four years of postseason experience and was selected to the 2018 NL All-Star team. He has a career 3.96 ERA in 226 games (115 starts) across eight seasons and three teams.

The 34-year-old right-hander finished his 2023 campaign in San Francisco with a 5.36 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 89 innings pitched.

Stripling mentioned a “Deathball” pitch he’s introducing into his repertoire recently which is essentially an “inefficient spinning slider,” of “a funky, downward, harder slider that guys from high arm angles are trying to figure out,” that he described to KPRC 2 in Houston recently. He hopes it adds more swing-and-miss to his game.

Forst knew all about it, but he liked Stripling’s stuff before he heard about the pitch.

“We saw the ‘Deathball’ video as we were discussing this deal, so I don’t know a lot about it yet,” Forst said. “I know we like Ross’ repertoire before the ‘Deathball’ so, I’m happy to add something, but he’s obviously, you know, a guy that pitches a lot at the top of the zone, curveball plays off his fastball — any ability he has to add swing-and-miss to his game, I think will serve him well.”

Don’t worry, your girl found footage of it.

@aria1exander #Giants RHP Ross Stripling is working on a new pitch for 2024 – The Deathball – a type of gyro slider meant to drop late. Looked absolutely filthy live today as he worked out north of Houston. Stripling tells me he’s looking for more swing & miss #mlb #baseball #slider #deathball #sfg #pitch #pitching #fyp ♬ original sound – Ari Alexander

Wood was 5-5 with a 4.33 ERA last season with the Giants. He earned an All-Star selection in 2017 with the Los Angeles Dodgers when he boasted a 2.72 ERA with 151 strikeouts in 152 2/3 innings. He was also in Cy Young Award talks that year.

Across 11 big-league seasons, Wood went 76-65 with a 3.74 ERA over 269 games and 202 starts.

One of the main factors of Wood’s decision to come to Oakland, was his chance to get 30 starts. He’s also familiar with the Bay Area.

More A’s Notes:

  • Ken Waldichuck will see a doctor next week to determine his throwing schedule. Forst said he’s not throwing yet and the A’s don’t expect him to be on the mound in the next two weeks, and it’s fair to say he won’t start the season healthy.
    • Waldichuk experienced left elbow discomfort after his last start on Sept. 29. He underwent an MRI and an evaluation with Dr. Mike Freehill at Stanford University, then was subsequently seen by Dr. Neil ElAttrache and was diagnosed with a flexor tendon strain and UCL ligament sprain. Waldichuk opted for a conservative treatment.
  • The A’s look to have a big camp — anywhere from 68-69 guys. Forst added the organization could skip over the 70 mark before they get to Mesa, AZ.
  • With Wood and Stripling being in and out of the rotation in the past and not at their best last season, Forst was asked about the confidence the two could have as true starters. He said both have had success as starters in the big leagues which is a valuable commodity for the A’s. Additionally, two veteran names add to the youth of the squad/rotation.
    • “We’ve seen what happens when you get a little overwhelmed with inexperience and we started last season with five rookie starters, and it didn’t go well,” Forst said.
  • As far as the closer role goes, Dany Jiménez was mentioned as the guy who has the most experience out of the bullpen. Newly signed arm Trevor Gott was also mentioned; he has experience pitching in the back of the game and the A’s talked to him about giving him that opportunity. Mason Miller was also mentioned as a possibility and Forst informed me he’s healthy, “which is what matters.” He can also do more than just throw one inning at the end of the game and the team would like to take advantage of that.
  • Forst added the front office will continue to look at the reliever market and if there’s a guy out there with closing experience.
    • Manager Mark Kotsay and pitching coach Scott Emerson will feel guys out during camp — they like going into the regular season knowing who that ninth inning guy is.
  • Pitcher Luis Medina is seen as a starter. Forst thought he did a great job last season and proved he can turn the lineup over two or three times. “He’s absolutely a starter,” Forst said.


About Jessica Kleinschmidt

Jess is a baseball fan with Reno, Nev. roots residing in the Bay Area. She is the host of "Short and to the Point" and is also a broadcaster with the Oakland A's Radio Network. She previously worked for and NBC Sports Bay Area.