The Oakland A’s could use more depth to their rotation, especially if Major League Baseball tries to cram as many games as possible into a short window. Danny Salazar is worth a look.
In theory, the Oakland A’s could have one of the best starting rotations in baseball. With Frankie Montas and Sean Manaea fronting the rotation, top prospects A.J. Puk and Jesus Luzardo, and the dependable Mike Fiers, the A’s should be in good hands once the 2020 season gets underway.
That is, provided those pitchers remain healthy. Manaea and Puk had already undergone Tommy Joh surgery. Luzardo has thrown over 100 innings in a season as a professional once, and had a myriad of medical issues. Depth could be important, especially with Major League Baseball looking to get as many games as possible into a short window.
However, depth is a possible issue for the A’s. With Daniel Mengden on the Injured List, the top rotation depth options are Paul Blackburn and Daniel Gossett. Rookies Daulton Jefferies and James Kaprielien have plenty of promise, but are hardly a given.
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What the A’s could use is a veteran pitcher who has been through the battles, but is also in need of an opportunity. A relatively younger pitcher with upside, looking for a short term deal to rebuild his value. Someone like Danny Salazar, who would be the perfect lottery ticket for Oakland.
Salazar missed the entire 2018 season, and all but one outing in 2019, due to ongoing shoulder woes. He had shoulder surgery in July 2018, after rest and rehab failed to lead to progress, the recovery from which curtailed his 2019 showing. Salazar also missed time in 2017 with an elbow injury, and missed the 2016 postseason with forearm issues.
When healthy, there is no question that Salazar can help any major league team. The 2016 All Star has a career 38-34 record, with a 3.82 ERA and a 1.267 WHiP. In his 591.1 innings, he has struck out 688 batters while issuing 213 walks.
It likely would not take a major expenditure to bring Salazar on board. The A’s could likely sign him on a minor league deal, giving him a look on the major league side of spring training when camps open once more. Oakland could start him at AAA for the season, looking to build his endurance back up in case he was needed to fill out the rotation. Or, with expanded rosters, he could serve in a long relief/opener role until his pitch count is high enough to warrant a chance in the rotation.
The Oakland A’s need more depth to the starting rotation. Danny Salazar would be a worthwhile lottery ticket once the roster freeze is over.