Bay Area Sports Fan!

A blog for a Bay Area Sports Fan

A’s: Pitching and Coaching

Posted by davefowkes on 03/25/2009

For the better part of this decade the question in Oakland has been who will hit? This year the strange question will be can anyone pitch?

The A’s made an announcement this week extending the contract of manager Bob Geren for a year. Really that is not a big deal to me. Geren  seems like a decent enough manager, neither great nor bad. That is probably why Billy Beane likes him so much! But while the manager seems set for the next couple of years, the pitching could range from outstanding to horrible.

The big three have been replaced by five questions in the rotation. As of today it appears Dallas Braden is in the starting rotation and may even

Dallas Braden

Dallas Braden

get promoted to opening day pitcher! Justin Duchsherer is clearly a good pitcher but can he stay healthy? Will the A’s move him back to the bullpen to try and save his arm? The A’s really need a healthy dose of Duchsherer this year to contend. After that you have Dana Eveland, a bit of a surprise last year who had his ups and downs during the season as many rookies will. When you watch Eveland pitch you think he probably maxes out as a solid #3 pitcher. But that is if he hits his potential, because he is struggling this spring. Sean Gallagher came to the A’s in the Rich Harden trade but he still relies heavily on the “P” word as well: Potential. So far his results are mixed.

Brett AndersonThen there is the second coming of the Big Three! Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill and Vin Mazzaro. I expect all three to be starting next season but what about this season? Can the A’s go into a season in which they bought some heavy hitters only to start a pair of 21-year olds? Mazzaro is already demoted to AAA to work on his game, but he won’t be far down the list of call ups if needed. Anderson and Cahill both sound like superstars in the making but are they ready?

Then there is Josh Outman and Edgar Gonzalez, who feel like a couple of journeymen who certainly won’t instill fear in the heart of the opposition.

The A’s offense should be better with Matt Holliday, Jason Giambi, a second year from Ryan Sweeney and anything they can get from the injured brigade of the old school. But even with the new additions the A’s will be in a lot of trouble if they are forced to score 5-6 runs per game just to compete. Oakland is about pitching and right now that is a big question mark.

Given the options, I probably go with Anderson and Cahill early and see how they fare. Even if it does not work out early, they will have a taste of the big leagues and a place to build on at AAA. Match the youngsters with Braden (we have been waiting on him for a couple of years, is he finally ready?), Eveland and Gallagher and see what happens. Gonzalez and Outman can work long relief and provide spot starts for the injured. Duchsherer is of course the wild card that could bump someone back to Sacramento.

The A’s are in a weird place now where they are old at the plate but young on the mound. They need that combination to come strong to keep pace with the Angels. Without the pitching, look for a long season in the East Bay! But if some of these young guns are for real? Watch out AL West!


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