Oakland A’s: Three battles to watch in spring training

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 08: Chad Pinder #18 of the Oakland Athletics looks on during batting practice against the Houston Astros in Game Four of the American League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 08, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 08: Chad Pinder #18 of the Oakland Athletics looks on during batting practice against the Houston Astros in Game Four of the American League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 08, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /
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Oakland A's pitcher Mike Fiers
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

With the amount of turnover that the Oakland A’s have had, it is not a surprise that they will have several questions as spring training approaches. In theory, they have an idea as to what their roster will look like, and may have players penciled into certain roles. But that does not mean those positions are safe.

It also means that there is a fair amount of intrigue surrounding the A’s as spring training approaches. Certain areas of the roster will be vastly different, and as they look to hold off the rest of the AL West, these positional battles could make a major difference in the A’s hopes for the coming year.

Oakland A’s spring training battles

Let’s take a look at the battles on the Oakland A’s roster.

The A’s fifth starter

In theory, this will not be much of a battle. The Oakland A’s have already stated that A.J. Puk will be their fifth starter provided that he is healthy.

But this was before the A’s brought Mike Fiers back into the fold. Fiers may not be the most exciting arm, but he has been a dependable starter throughout his recent career. Although he had an inconsistent 2020 campaign, posting a 4.58 ERA and a 1.373 WHiP, he was second on the team with 59 innings and led the A’s with six wins.

That ability to eat innings will be key in 2021. Due to the shortened season last year, many teams are considering a six man rotation. Even those that do not could have issues in the early part of the season as their starters get used to their regular workloads once again.

Add in Puk’s injury history, and it is not a given that he will be the Oakland A’s fifth starter when the season begins. Mike Fiers may end up winning this battle.

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