Here’s some quick-hitters from the Brian Fuentes media teleconference that just wrapped … The lefty reliever signed a two-year, $10.5 million deal with the A’s, with a $6.5 million club option for 2013.
–Fuentes was told by the A’s front office that Andrew Bailey is the unquestioned closer (“There’s no competition in my mind,”) but he’ll be ready for the ninth inning if needed. From what I’m told, he’ll get some save opportunities if Bailey needs a rest. Fuentes added that he’s comfortable whether he’s pitching the seventh or the ninth. “I’ve mopped up, set up, and closed. My mindset is be efficient with pitches and get guys out.”
–He says the A’s remind him of the 2010 Giants a bit — good pitching, solid role players, and a team that might be under the radar to start the season. Could he envision the A’s winning the AL West? “It’s premature to say we’re going to win the West, but certainly the opportunity is there.”
–Fuentes, 35, grew up in Merced and was a huge A’s fan. He particularly liked Mike Gallego — who just so happens to be the A’s current third-base coach — and Dave Stewart (“bulldog mentality”).
–A’s GM Billy Beane, assistant GM David Forst and manager Bob Geren impressed Fuentes by driving down to Merced and having lunch with him last Friday. I guess that’s the advantage of pursuing a free agent who lives so close to the Bay Area … Fuentes hinted that he could have signed elsewhere with opportunities to close, but that the chance to win wouldn’t have been as good. “Me and my family felt Oakland was the best place for us.”
Look for more in tomorrow’s Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune and San Jose Mercury News …