A’s Add Insurance, Sign Tomko


Do the recent signings of Brett Tomko and Jason Jennings raise any red-flags in Oak-Town?

Are Ben Sheets and Justin Duchscherer okay? Both are coming off injury plagued seasons, and both face various obstacles in spring training. Sheets hasn’t put together a single inning of work in the big leauges since 2008, and Duchscherer is coming off his own problem filled 2009.

Last season, the A’s signed Brett Tomko to a minor league deal after he was released by the Yankees. In short, thereafter he pitched brilliantly, going 4-1 with a 2.95 ERA . However, Tomko had to shut down his season with the A’s after he experienced an irritated nerve in his right arm.

After another losing season, the A’s went out and solidified thier rotation. They resigned Duchscherer and forked over $10 million to Sheets. The idea of bringing back Tomko, who actually pitched in 2009, was unlikely.

But, as always with A’s GM Billy Beane, fans should expect the unexpected. The signing of Tomko and Jennings adds more veteran depth to an already stacked rotation and bullpen.

The signings also reiterate what the A’s are trying to accomplish this year. Their focus for 2010 seems to be pitching and defense rather than explosive offense.

The starting rotation includes Ben Sheets, Justin Duchscherer, Dallas Braden, Brett Anderson and most likely, Trevor Cahill. Gio Gonzalez and Vin Mazzaro are also in the running for the fifth spot.

The bullpen, which should be a strength for the A’s, includes 2009 ROY Andrew Bailey, Michael Wuertz, Brad Ziegler, Craig Breslow and Brad Kilby. So, where exactly does Jennings fit?

Well, Jennings, a former ROY himself, is most likely to be used out of the bullpen for the A’s. Jennings could also be explored as a possible starter candidate for 2010.

Meanwhile, Tomko, who is still behind all the other A’s pitchers in terms of health, should be ready to go for the A’s come May. Tomko adds some insurance for the A’s, who are heavily relying on Ben Sheets and Justin Duchscherer. If either should fall to injury, Tomko or any of the other A’s talented pitchers could step up and take over.

It definitely looks like the A’s are taking precautionary steps to ensure a healthy and productive season.