But now Billy Beane, Bob Melvin and Curt Young have some tough decisions to make.
It looks like the A’s may have even more pitching soon, and the A’s will have to figure out some way to work all of the arms into the staff.
Here’s a breakdown of the current A’s starting rotation (all stats from baseballreference.com Sunday night):
Tommy Milone: 25 years old, 9-6, 3.34 ERA, 121.1 IP
Bartolo Colon: 39 years old, 6-8, 3.88 ERA, 111.1 IP
Jarrod Parker: 23 years old, 7-4, 3.00 ERA, 99.0 IP
Travis Blackley: 29 yeards old, 2-2, 2.86 ERA, 56.2 IP
A.J. Griffin: 24 years old, 2-0, 2.70 ERA, 30.0 IP
And here’s the current bullpen:
Ryan Cook: 25 years old, 4-2, 1.70 ERA, 42.1 IP, 10 SV
Jerry Blevins: 28 years old, 2-0, 2.58 ERA, 38.1 IP
Grant Balfour: 34 years old, 2-2, 3.00 ERA, 45.0 IP, 7 SV
Jordan Norberto: 25 years old, 2-1, 3.34 ERA, 35 IP
Jim Miller: 30 years old, 2-1, 2.05 ERA, 26.1 IP
Sean Doolittle: 25 years old, 1-0, 1.86 ERA, 19.1 IP
Evan Scribner: 26 years old, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 9.0 IP
And here’s who is coming back:
Brandon McCarthy: 28 years old, 6-3, 2.54 ERA, 78.0 IP
Brett Anderson (stats from 2011, prior to injury): 24 years old, 3-6, 4.00 ERA, 83.1 IP
Dallas Braden (stats from 2010, only pitched 18 innings in 2011): 28 years old, 11-14, 3.50 ERA, 192.2 IP
Anderson is going in the minors right now, and McCarthy looks like he’ll be back soon after not pitching since June 19. Braden is still a ways away, but the A’s have to be keeping him in the back of their minds.
Oakland has a few options:
1) Go with a six man rotation, and send down a bullpen guy
In this scenario, the A’s would lose a bullpen arm, but starters would (presumably) be able to go longer with an extra day of rest. On the other hand, Oakland would have to wait a day for its better starters to go.
2) Trade an arm for a bat
It’s not like the A’s to make a deal at the deadline that helps themselves in the short run, but that is a possibility right now with the A’s in the hunt for the playoffs. If the A’s were to trade a young arm along with some prospects for a hitter, it’s unlikely they’d be able to get Justin Upton, Shane Victorino or another star, but they may be able to find some help at shortstop with Pennington going to the DL.
3) Use some starters out of the bullpen
Ryan Cook is a former starter, and he’s worked out well in the bullpen. Brett Anderson is being limited to 45 pitches in his minor league starts right now, so maybe the A’s could continue being cautious with Anderson and use him out of the bullpen because the A’s aren’t desperate for him to come back and start with such a strong current staff.
Whatever the A’s decide to do, it’s certainly a luxurious problem they are faced with. They have options, so flexibility is their friend in this case.