After losing closer Liam Henriks to the Chicago White Sox in free agency over the last week, the Oakland Athletics made an effort to improve their bullpen. On Thursday, they acquired left-handed relief pitcher Nik Turley of La Canada, CA in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates according to Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors. In return, the Pirates will receive $60,000.
The Athletics become Turley’s third Major League Baseball team. In addition to the Pirates, Turley has pitched for the Minnesota Twins.
This past season for the Pirates, Turley pitched in 25 games and had a record of zero wins and three losses. He also had an earned run average of 4.98. In 21 2/3 innings, he gave up 13 hits, 12 earned runs, 11 walks, three hit batsmen, one balk, and one wild pitch. Turley also had 20 strikeouts, three holds, one save, and a very good WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) of 1.11.
Turley’s save came in a 2-0 Pirates win over the St. Louis Cardinals on August 27. He also had holds for the Pirates in a 4-3 Pirates win over the Cincinnati Reds on September 4, in a 2-1 Pirates win over the Chicago Cubs on September 23, and in a 4-3 Pirates loss to the Cubs on September 25.
At 31 years of age, Turley showed significant improvement in 2020 compared to 2017, his rookie season in Major League Baseball. That year he had a very high earned run average of 11.21 in three starts with Minnesota. The switch to the bullpen and in a reliever role seemed to suit Turley much better with the Bucs.
Turley also rebounded with the Pirates after being suspended for 80 games in 2018 for taking a performance-enhancing drug. He was not in the Majors at all in 2018 or 2019. Since being drafted by the New York Yankees in the 50th round in 2008, Turley has been in the minor league systems for the Yankees, San Francisco Giants, Chicago White Sox, and Boston Red Sox, but never played at the Major League Baseball level with them.