By: Noah Wright
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One of The A’s biggest problems on an otherwise good team is their starting pitching. They’ve kind of used patchwork throughout the year that includes Brett Anderson, Edwin Jackson, and Trevor Cahill. While each have had solid seasons, they don’t have very many starters they can heavily rely on to provide regular decent innings. The only sure thing for The A’s rotation next season is Sean Manaea. Their opening day starter, Kendall Graveaman struggled very much to start the season, and then was optioned to the minors in June. #3 starter Daniel Mengden was really inconsistent, having a bad March/April, really good May, and a bad June, which eventually lead to a Triple-A option. After recording a 5.23 ERA in 41 innings, Andrew Triggs was placed on The DL, and move to The 60-day DL in July. Frankie Montas has also been inconsistent too. The A’s will more than likely be buyers throughout the off-season, and more than likely could compete with The Astros for The AL West. So let's take a look at some players The A’s could show interest in throughout this off-season
1.) Drew Pomeranz
Pomeranz has had a horrible season this year. He’s been injured for all of June and most of July, and has a 6.31 ERA, 5.96 FIP, and very high 5.6 walk/9 rate in 51 and a third innings this season. However before this season, he had a 3.24 ERA, 3.78 FIP, 3.4 walk/9 rate, and 9.1 K/9 rate in nearly 500 innings between 2014 and 2017. Plus 155 of those innings were from when he was in an A uniform. However one problem with Pomeranz is that he’s not known for going deep into games. Between 2016 and 2017 when he mainly worked as a starter, he averaged just under 5 and two thirds innings per start. Overall though Pomeranz can provide some solid innings, and should be on The A’s radar when they look into adding some starting depth.
2.) Gio Gonzalez
Gio, like Pomeranz, is another former A. Gonzalez has had a solid 2018 season. After throwing 7 innings of one run ball against The Braves today, Gonzalez has a 3.89 ERA, 3.33 FIP, 8 K/9, but a high 4.34 walk/9 rate in 125 innings. His numbers might look better though if it wasn’t for his last start on August 5th where he was responsible for 5 earned runs in just 3 and two thirds innings of work. However one problem that will likely arise if they do decide to pursue Gonzalez is other bidders. The A’s aren’t exactly big budget spenders, and if other teams that are richer than The A’s, they may have to look at other alternatives.
3.) Nathan Eovaldi
One of those alternatives could be Nathan Eovaldi. Eovaldi was one deadline piece The Red Sox acquired from The Rays earlier this season. His combined 72 innings with both East division team have produced a 3.38 ERA, 3.83 FIP, and very low 1.1 walk/9 rate. While he does have a 1.7 HR/9 rate this season, he did own a .8 homerun/9 rate between 2011 and 2016 before missing 2017 with Tommy John surgery.
4.) Anibal Sanchez
Sanchez originally latched on with Atlanta on a minor league deal over last off season, and it’s been one of the best minor league signings this season. Sanchez has delivered a 2.38 ERA, 3.72 FIP, and 1.047 WHIP in 86 innings, all of which are the lowest they’ve been since his prime days with The Tigers. His perferials are also pretty decent, as he has a 8.8 K/9 rate, 2.7 BB/9 rate, and so far a career low 6.7 hits/9 rate. Plus he’s been worth 1.5 WAR. Sanchez can probably be acquired over the off season on a cheap deal, which makes him a perfect target for The A’s.
5.) Lance Lynn
Lynn’s start to the season with The Twins was rough. His ERA reached above 5 (5.10), along with his FIP getting to 4.72. The normally low walk rate starter’s BB/9 rate also went to 5.5. At the deadline, the veteran starter was dealt to The Yankees to be a swingman type of pitcher, and his first 11.2 innings have been successful. In NY, Lynn has yet to give up an earned run, home run, and has walked just one guy, along with his FIP is currently sitting at 1.01. However it is just an 11 inning sample, so he could become inconsistently bad in a few more starts in a Yankee uniform.
The one weak link in The A’s roster this season is their rotation. The only sure thing in the rotation for next season is Sean Manaea. Almost every piece in that rotation has been fairly inconsistent. One thing that they definitely will be interested in is adding some rotation help. Along with the players I mentioned above, I do want to bring up that they could bring back Trevor Cahill who has been a decent patchwork piece for the team this season. One other solution The A’s could go with is having a shallow rotation, and keep a deep bullpen, the plan that they’ve seemed to go with this season. Overall The A’s should look for rotation help. A better rotation could help them rival maybe even The Astros for The West Division Title.