Is the A’s Rotation Depth Lacking?
By Andrew Brown
The A’s seem deep at nearly every position going into this 2013 season. They have four starting caliber centerfielders, a multitude of infielders, two good catchers, and a bullpen that has more than seven extremely deserving pitchers fighting for the one last spot. However one place the A’s may need to make depth at is in the rotation.
Oct 11, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Jarrod Parker (11) pitches the ball against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning of game five of the 2012 ALDS at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
With the emergence of A.J. Griffin and Dan Straily into Oakland’s starting rotation and the trade of Clayton Mortensen last season the A’s lost the bulk of their depth at the minor league level. Currently at Triple-A Sacramento the A’s have Sonny Gray, possibly Michael Ynoa, and Andrew Werner. This does not include Jesse Chavez, Garrett Olson, or Bartolo Colon. This seems like plenty of depth, especially, if you couple it with Travis Blackley who can spot start. However, with the inexperience Gray, Ynoa, and Werner and the lack of quality between Chavez, Olson, and Colon the A’s may need to make a trade at mid season to solidify the rotation.
Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone, Griffin, and Straily all threw the most innings of their careers last season. Brett Anderson came off Tommy John surgery in the middle of last season. It would be unproductive to think that they will be able to duplicate the results of last season without some setbacks at some point during the season.
The A’s do not need to act right now to add depth to the starting rotation. The depth they have now is sufficient enough to last for awhile even though they lack quality and experience. If Sonny Gray can find his legs in Sacramento he may just might become the Griffin/Straily of 2013 for the A’s. Werner also has potential being a lefty pitcher. This will give him a good platform in which to jump up to Oakland possibly to make a spot start. Don’t expect to see too much of Colon, Chavez, or Olson. They are just an insurance policy in case some sort of apocalypse happens in Oakland.
The A’s have five excellent pitchers in the starting rotation to being the 2013 season. They will carry the weight for most of the year barring injury. However, with all the innings they threw last season the Green and Gold need to prepare for the worst by looking for depth now. I’m sure GM Billy Beane already is looking around to see who could potentially become available. As I wrote yesterday, by mid season the A’s may have a good trade chip in Michael Taylor if he bounces back from a rough 2012. There should be plenty of pitchers available at the deadline this season, but with the new CBA making the value of players in trades rise Beane would do well to scout early and often and try and see what the A’s may need for the rotation come July when they could potentially be playing for another berth in October.