Spring Training Countdown: One Month Until Exhibition Games Begin
Oakland Athletics Roundup: Tuesday, February 2
It’s February, so it’s officially time to start thinking about Spring Training. Pitchers and catchers report later this month, and the Oakland Athletics’ exhibition games begin exactly one month from today.
The biggest potential decisions for the A’s will be in their rotation. While Sonny Gray and Rich Hill are locks for the rotation, the other spots are less concrete. Chris Bassitt and Kendall Graveman are likely to return, but the starting staff has a lot of health concerns. Jesse Hahn is capable of being a #2-type starter, but the Athletics haven’t said definitively whether last year’s injury will continue to be a nagging problem in 2016. Joe Stiglich of CSN reported that Hahn was still feeling some soreness when throwing off the mound in September, and stated that he believes the A’s won’t know more until Spring Training.
Still, it seems likely that those five will be the Opening Day rotation, barring any trades or injuries. Sean Manaea is likely headed back to Triple-A, and pitchers like Sean Nolin and Aaron Brooks would have to be pretty impressive to steal a spot from Bassitt or Graveman. Since Henderson Alvarez is not yet recovered from his 2015 surgery, and Jarrod Parker has a long way to go to show that he’s ready to be a big league pitcher again, after a pair of Tommy John surgeries and an elbow fracture, a lot will fall on Hahn. Can he stay healthy enough to add some depth behind Gray? That may end up being the biggest rotation question as the team heads into 2016.
In Case You Missed It:
Sonny Gray and Rich Hill Must Be Leaders in Starting Rotation – Samantha Riley explains why it’s up to ace Sonny Gray and veteran Rich Hill to set the tone in the rotation, especially with so many inexperience arms vying for a spot.
2016 Non-Roster Invitees: Matt Olson – While there’s much less confusion about who will make the roster on the position-player side of things, the Athletics will still have plenty of interesting non-roster invitees in camp this year. Top outfield/first base prospect Matt Olson is one of those. Does he have a chance to make the major league team?
Around the Web
Climbing Tal’s Hill: Are the Astros Interested in Jonathan Lucroy? – After a brief series of rumors linking catcher Jonathan Lucroy to the Athletics, have the talks shifted to another AL West opponent? Climbing Tal’s Hill writer Eric Huysman explains.