The Athletics’ agreed to terms with left-handed relievers T.J. McFarland and Jake Diekman over the last few days. Could this mean Oakland plans on inserting Jesus Luzardo into the rotation?
The Oakland Athletics’ bolstered their bullpen the last two days. Yesterday, they came to terms with T.J. McFarland to avoid arbitration on a $1.8 million deal. Then today, they came to terms with Jake Diekman on a two-year $7.5 million deal. With both of these moves could this be the start of working Jesus Luzardo into the rotation?
Diekman and McFarland are both left-handed pitchers. Luzardo also is left-handed, so with that being said that leaves four guys in the bullpen that are lefties. That would be McFarland, Diekman, Luzardo and top prospect A.J. Puk.
With the addition of McFarland, he replaces Blake Treinen, who the A’s did not tender a contract too. That essentially replaces a right-hand arm with a left-hand arm and makes the bullpen imbalanced. So with good reason Luzardo is the odd man out.
With that being said, that is not a bad thing at all. Luzardo is a natural starter that has the stuff to be a dominant starting pitcher in this league. If I had to choose between him and Puk right now to insert into the rotation, I would choose Luzardo 100/100 times.
The amount of movement as seen here that he has on his pitches is insane. His stuff overwhelms hitters and throws them off balance. He even showed that he could do it on the big stage pitching three innings vs the Tampa Bay Rays in the Wild Card game only giving up one hit and two walks, while striking out four.
Puk could also see his way into the rotation with one small injury that happens. Knowing the Oakland history of starting pitchers that seems more of a “when” rather then an “if”. As of now you see Sean Manaea, Mike Fiers, Frankie Montas, Chris Bassitt and Luzardo as the starters.
That creates a good balance of two lefties and three righties. Puk will be ready to step up in any scenario that someone goes down. The A’s have a good mixture of youth and veterans in there.
Luzardo showed last year that he is ready to contribute now. He shows dazzling stuff at such a young age, he will be an ace in this league. That could come as soon as 2020.