The Athletics have a lot of options this season, and from the looks of it, there’s still a lot of competition left this spring. The A’s have a few candidates vying for the No.5 starter job in the rotation, and the A’s also seem to have plenty of capable back-up/versatility-type players to choose from as well.
Pitching, without a doubt, will be Oakland’s primary strength this season, so choosing the right No.5 starter is a big decision for manager Bob Geren. The A’s currently have Josh Outman, Bobby Cramer, Brandon McCarthy, and Tyson Ross in the running for the vacant spot. Rich Harden, who was figured to be a strong candidate for the job this spring, will likely start the season in the bullpen.
Outman, 26, was a part of Oakland’s rotation in 2009, and he’s a likely candidate to land the job. His spring training stats are not too appealing, however, so that certainly opens to the door to a guy like Cramer.
Cramer has been very effective in the early goings of spring training, having compiled a 1.29 ERA through seven strong innings this spring.
McCarthy, and Ross will likely compete for the job as well. My early vote, however, goes to either Outman or Cramer. Outman certainly has the stuff to qualify for the No.5 spot, but you can’t overlook what Cramer has done this spring.
Offensively, the A’s have a couple of guys in the running for the A’s utility spot. Adam Rosales, who played in 80 games last year for Oakland, is still recovering from injury, and the A’s need an infield utility player. Guys like Steve Tolleson, Eric Sogard, and Andy LaRoche certainly all fit the bill.
Tolleson played in 25 games last season with the A’s, hitting .286/.340/.408 with a homer and four RBIs. This spring, however, Tolleson is batting just .200 in 11 games. He has gotten on base, though, as evidenced by his seven walks.
Sogard has appeared in just five games this spring, but has collected three RBIs. He’s also a possibility for Oakland, although he has not been as impressive as…
In 22 at-bats this spring, LaRoche has collected three home runs and five RBIs while batting .409/.536/.955. Right now, I’d say he’s the favorite in this particular race.
Bottom line, the A’s have plenty of interesting story lines going on this spring. Be sure to check back frequently to get updates on all things related to A’s baseball.