Oakland A’s: Determining the ideal starting rotation
By David Hill
At this point, the vast majority of the Oakland A’s starting rotation is set. We know who four of the five starters will be, even if they have not necessarily been slotted into their respective roles in the rotation.
It is how the A’s will slot their starters that leads to the intrigue of their rotation. While they have a pair of arms that they envision as future aces, neither are there at this point. Their other options are either middle of the rotation arms at best, or have been riddled with injuries during their careers.
Determining the ideal Oakland A’s starting rotation
That does not mean that the A’s are in a difficult spot. They have a great deal of depth, particularly at AAA, with nine possible options for the rotation. However, there are only five spots that need to be filled. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the Oakland A’s ideal starting rotation.
Fifth starter – Mike Fiers
In theory, the fifth starter role belongs to A.J. Puk. However, by bringing Mike Fiers back on a one year deal, the Oakland A’s hedged their bets.
However, the A’s are likely to be cautious with Puk. He has pitched a grand total of 36.2 innings since the end of the 2017 campaign, having undergone Tommy John surgery and numerous issues with his shoulder last season. He is likely to face an innings limit this year, and it would not be a surprise if he begins the season in the minors to further restrict his usage.
This opens the door for Fiers. He did lead the A’s with six wins last season, and has generally been a dependable innings eater in the back of the rotation. That is all that Oakland really needs him to be until the point that they feel Puk is ready to claim his place.
Mike Fiers is likely to be the Oakland A’s fifth starter for 2021. He may not be the most exciting option, but he is a dependable arm to round out the rotation.