Athletics sign lefty Alex Wood, acquire righty Ross Stripling from Giants

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — David Forst and Farhan Zaidi are longtime friends who worked together for years in Oakland, and now executives of each Bay Area team.

They made a trade Friday that had been discussed for months, and the Athletics acquired a pair of pitchers to join their rotation who were starters for the Giants last season.

Free agent left-hander Alex Wood agreed to an $8.5 million, one-year contract with the A's, who also acquired right-hander Ross Stripling and $3.25 million toward his salary from the Giants.

“It’s fair to say those four guys come in with a good shot and a good spot in the rotation,” said Forst, the A's general manager.

Boosting the rotation with some experienced pitchers was a top priority for a club that has lost 214 games the past two years.

The teams announced the swap Friday. The Giants will receive minor league outfielder Jonah Cox.

Sometimes the challenge of doing business with a dear friend or former colleague is “we tend to view players the same way,” Forst said of working with Giants President of Baseball Operations, Zaidi.

“Well, I guess everybody is going to call this one the first real trade we’ve made,” Forst said in a video interview in reference to previous trades only involving minor leaguers. “Look, we’ve always said it’s easier to make trades and have conversations with people you have relationships with, people you trust. And there's nobody on the other side of the phone that I know better than Farhan.”

Wood, who pitched the past three seasons for San Francisco, also has $1 million in possible performance bonuses in his contract.

The 33-year-old pitcher went 5-5 with a 4.33 ERA over 29 appearances with 12 starts in 2023.

Stripling, 34, finished 0-5 with a 5.35 ERA in 22 outings and 11 starts for the Giants. He is 38-43 with a 3.96 ERA over eight major league seasons with the Angels, Toronto and San Francisco.

With the A's unsure where they will play beyond 2024 when their lease runs out at the Coliseum as the team prepares for a relocation to Las Vegas, the offseason has been made up primarily of one-year contracts and trades — though Forst did speak to prospective players about two-year deals earlier in the offseason at times, he said.

Bringing on Stripling and Wood together helped, too, because they have played together and have a strong relationship and are also familiar already with the area.

“I like the addition of these two guys particularly as it relates to the strength of our rotation,” Forst said. “And that’s what we knew coming into the offseason we needed to do, so I feel really good about our group’s ability to get these done.”

In a move to create room on the 40-man roster, Oakland outrighted left-handed pitcher Francisco Perez to Triple-A Las Vegas and designated infielder Jonah Bride for assignment.