Mike Fiers appeared to be a key pickup for the Oakland A’s during the offseason. While Oakland was hoping to have A.J. Puk in the rotation, they will need to be cautious with his workload, especially early in the season. Fiers was that insurance policy, a veteran innings eater that would slot perfectly into the fifth spot in the rotation.
Those plans had already been pushed back as Fiers was battling a back ailment. On Saturday, it was announced that he had suffered a setback and is now in danger of missing Opening Day.
Mike Fiers setback not a concern just yet
Although this is not exactly the news that the A’s wanted, this setback is not yet a concern. The MRI has not been taken, so the results remain unknown. Fiers could be perfectly fine and just battling soreness as he gets ready.
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Fiers had a relatively solid 2020 for the A’s. He led the team with a 6-3 record, posting a 4.58 ERA and a 1.373 WHiP over his 59 innings, striking out 37 batters with 16 walks. Those numbers were skewed by his struggles over the first half of the season, but Fiers did improve as he was able to get back into shape.
In theory, the A’s do have the depth to withstand this loss. Daulton Jefferies was already pitching his way into a spot on the roster with his impressive spring training, and would likely take over as the A’s fifth starter at the beginning of the year. Both James Kaprielian and Grant Holmes are on hand as well, providing intriguing depth in the minors.
Even with that depth, Fiers is still a key piece for the A’s rotation. He has proven to be able to provide six innings almost every time out, a dependable arm in a rotation filled with question marks and possible injury concerns. That ability to take the ball every fifth day can make a major difference.
Mike Fiers is now in danger of missing Opening Day. While the Oakland A’s do have the depth to withstand this loss, Fiers will be missed.