Mike Fiers is back with Oakland A’s but role in question
By David Hill
In news that the rest of the league likely does not want to hear, the Oakland A’s have added to their stable of arms. Mike Fiers is finally healthy after his back issues and hip inflammation, ready to resume his place on the A’s pitching staff.
That would be if he had a set place. For now, Fiers has replaced the ineffective Adam Kolarek on the pitching staff, presumably set to serve in a long relief role if needed. With Jake Diekman and Reymin Guduan also in the bullpen, sending Kolarek to the alternate site does not hurt their left handed pitching depth.
Finding a place for Mike Fiers with the Oakland A’s
The problem that the A’s have is that Fiers needs a role. This is essentially the same question they faced when he was brought back this offseason – A.J. Puk had been penciled into the fifth starter spot and Fiers was brought in as a depth option in case Puk was unable to stay healthy.
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While Puk’s ongoing health woes have indeed cropped up, that is not why there are questions about Fiers’ role. Cole Irvin has pitched well in his past two outings, solidifying his place in the rotation. If a spot was to be opened for Fiers based on performance, it would belong to either Frankie Montas or Jesus Luzardo, but the upside of both pitchers warrants patience.
For now, Fiers will remain in the bullpen, pitching those middle innings should a starter struggle early or potentially getting a start during a doubleheader. It is a role that he had filled previously in his career, although Fiers has not spent extensive time as a reliever since the 2014 campaign.
This does not mean that Fiers will remain in this role all season. The A’s rotation has not exactly been a bastion of health over the years. Likewise, the rotation has dealt with inconsistency over the years, as several of their arms have not truly found themselves. Fiers’ role will eventually work itself out.
Mike Fiers is back with the Oakland A’s and is currently in the bullpen. Whether or not that is his final landing spot remains to be seen.