Jesus Luzardo’s positive test shows issue for Athletics

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 21: Jesus Luzardo #44 of the Oakland Athletics pitches during the game against the Texas Rangers at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 21, 2019 in Oakland, California. The Athletics defeated the Rangers 12-3. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 21: Jesus Luzardo #44 of the Oakland Athletics pitches during the game against the Texas Rangers at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 21, 2019 in Oakland, California. The Athletics defeated the Rangers 12-3. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images) /
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In the wake of Jesus Luzardo’s positive test for COVID-19, the Oakland A’s have to realize that they cannot withstand a major loss to the rotation.

Jesus Luzardo was expected to be a key part of the Oakland A’s rotation this season. Looked upon as a future ace, he had appeared to be just that in his first taste of the majors and in spring training. With the upcoming short season, Luzardo was going to be even more important.

That changed on Tuesday. The A’s finally got the results of their COVID-19 tests, which results in a positive reading for Luzardo.

He will now need to be in quarantine for the next 14 days, and have consecutive negative tests, before he will be allowed to rejoin the team. Fortunately, he says that he feels good, and is just waiting until those two negative tests come back before he can rejoin the A’s on the diamond.

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At this juncture, it appears as though the A’s have avoided the worst case scenario. Their prized prospect is expected to be okay in the next few days, and should be back on the mound soon. But this failed test, and the resulting quarantine, show how vulnerable the A’s rotation can be.

While the starting five is essentially set once Luzardo is healthy, the A’s depth is questionable. The top option currently would be Daniel Mendgen, with Chris Bassitt and Paul Blackburn likely to be next in line. It is possible that the A’s would consider another prospect in Daulton Jefferies or James Kaprielian to step into the void, but that would require a leap of faith that they are ready.

This highlights the biggest concern for the A’s in the shortened season – a lack of rotation depth. It is possible that this issue can be dealt with on the trade market, especially with the A’s slated to receive a Player To Be Named Later from the Padres. Even then, whatever returns would not be able to make up for the loss of Luzardo for any length of time.

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Fortunately, the Oakland A’s may get Jesus Luzardo back relatively soon. His positive test for COVID-19 highlights the A’s lack of depth in their rotation.

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