Oakland Athletics Need Additional Starting Pitching Depth

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Aug 23, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics pitcher Kendall Graveman (31) prepares to deliver a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays in the first inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 23, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics pitcher Kendall Graveman (31) prepares to deliver a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays in the first inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Oakland Athletics Have Limited Number of Healthy Starters

The Oakland Athletics are no strangers to making moves during spring training. This week, the A’s traded starter Aaron Brooks to the Chicago Cubs for utility man Chris Coghlan. Coghlan has a strong bat against right handed pitchers and it is likely he will only appear in the lineup against righties.

Even though this trade was good for the Athletics’ offense, their starting rotation depth suffered greatly. Oakland is already short on starting pitching due to some injuries afflicting various starters. So, Brooks may have not been the best starting pitcher on the A’s roster, but he definitely could have come in handy should any other starter land on the DL.

Right now, the Oakland Athletics have five confirmed healthy starters, one who is questionably healthy, and two injured. Sonny Gray, Rich Hill, Chris Bassitt, Kendall Graveman, and Felix Doubront are all currently healthy. Then there is Jesse Hahn. The A’s front office reports that Hahn will be ready for the regular season, but his current bullpen throwing schedule is one day on and two days off – the same schedule as Jarrod Parker, who is recovering from his second Tommy John Surgery and an elbow fracture. Lastly, there is Parker and Henderson Alvarez. Both are not expected to be healthy by the start of the 2016 season, but should be ready to take the mound at some point this year. 

If must also be mentioned that many of the A’s currently healthy starters did incur injuries last year. Graveman was shut down for the rest of season in August. Bassitt landed on the DL for most of September. Gray missed his last few starts at the end of the year.  

It is clear that the Oakland Athletics do not have a good track record when it comes to healthy starting pitchers. Yet, they traded away two starters just in the past two weeks who could have provided depth. So, now that the A’s roster is overcrowded with infielders and outfielders, the Athletics should use some of those extra players in a trade to acquire another backup starter.

There are still some options out there when it comes to starting pitchers. The A’s have enough position players to make a trade if they want. For example, the Houston Astros have a surplus of starting pitching. As Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle mentioned, the Astros have six starting pitchers to fill five rotation spots and an already packed bullpen. Interestingly enough, Houston has former Oakland starter Dan Straily. If the Astros have no room for him on their roster and want to send him to Triple-A, he will need to be placed on waivers since he is out of options. Perhaps A’s could bring him back to Oakland.

Then, there is one name on the free agent market that may sound familiar to Bay Area residents — Tim Lincecum. Yes, he struggled in 2015. However, he would be purely used in a backup role with the A’s in 2016 should Oakland sign him. Could he be successful making spot starts throughout the season? Perhaps.

It is clear that the Oakland Athletics are going to be making some more moves this spring. One would hope that these transactions will add starting pitching depth to the roster. With the A’s starting rotation injury history, backup starters always come in handy.

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Should the Oakland Athletics acquire another starting pitcher? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! 

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