Oakland Athletics Roundup: Will A’s Starting Depth Be Enough?


Will starting pitching depth be enough to keep the A’s afloat?
Oakland Athletics Roundup: Tuesday, January 5

This winter, the Oakland Athletics revamped their rotation in the typical way: cheap, low-risk/high-reward signings. While there is certainly reason to believe that Rich Hill‘s sudden success with the Boston Red Sox is unsustainable, or that Henderson Alvarez‘s injury history is a concern, both players have the chance to turn into discount stars like Scott Kazmir or Bartolo Colon. But is it enough?

Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona has been quoted as saying, “When you think you have enough pitching, go get some more.”

Similarly, St. Louis Cardinals’ general manager John Mozeliak told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch , “The moment you think you have enough [pitching], you’re probably wrong.”

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The Oakland Athletics would be wise to follow the adages of these baseball veterans, who seem to have a clear understanding of the volatility of young arms. Could anyone watching the end of Oakland’s 2015 season disagree? With Sonny Gray, Chris Bassitt, Jesse Hahn, Kendall Graveman, and Jesse Chavez on the disabled list – not to mention Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin – it was difficult to watch the A’s play at all during the final games.

The competition for next season will be fierce. Although Chavez and Griffin are gone, most of the other A’s who were in the mix last year will reprise their roles as rotation candidates. Hill and Alvarez were added to the team, and prospects like Sean Manaea aren’t far behind. But that doesn’t mean the Athletics should stop seeking depth. Stockpiling a veteran or two in the minors – someone like Shaun Marcum or Aaron Harang – would prevent what happened last year: a showcase of minor-league starters who weren’t particularly ready for the majors, but were forced into action by injuries.

Depth is important, and even in a season where postseason dreams may not be realistic, it can be the difference between preserving or hurting your best prospects.

In Case You Missed It:

The Top 50 Oakland Athletics of All-Time – If you’ve been following our series of the best and worst Athletics in franchise history (or even if you haven’t), be sure to check out our list of the Top 50 Oakland Athletics. Katrina Putnam ranks the best A’s to ever play at the Coliseum.

Reviewing 2014’s Top Prospects: Max Muncy & Kendall Graveman – Today, the 2014 top prospects series returns, as we look at where the top ten minor-league players from two seasons ago have ended up, and what that ultimately means for this year’s crop of prospects. Catch up on Part I of the series, published before the holiday break, which features Max Muncy and Kendall Graveman.


Next: The 30 Worst Players in A's History

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SoDo Mojo: Top Ten Mariners Pitchers – Ben Garza of SoDo Mojo takes a look at the best starters in the history of the Seattle Mariners. Where does Felix Hernandez rank? Be sure to find out here.

GOTC: A’s Have a Wealth of Shortstops in the Minors – Grading on the Curve writer (and former Swingin’ A’s editor) Jason Burke analyzes the shortstop prospects in the Athletics’ system. From dazzling defense to powerful bats, the A’s have a bit of everything in this area.