A.J. Griffin

What happened to the Oakland A’s rotation?

It’s been a long season in Oakland. Time flies when you’re having fun, but it definitely drags when you’re not. Fans, for the most part, realize not every season can be a successful one. The pixie dust that had been sprinkled over the Coliseum the previous three years was blown out the Golden Gate when the “all in” tactic in 2014 crapped out. Add the shocking trade of Donaldson, and the wind had gone out of the A’s sails entirely.

It seemed in the spring, however, that perhaps Billy Beane had fashioned together a team which would compete yet again. The additions of Jesse Hahn, Ike Davis, Brett Lawrie, Tyler Clippard and Ben Zobrist made Oakland fans feel a bit of optimism, especially after a fantastic Cactus League campaign. But after a long-awaited win on Opening Night, the A’s could never really get on track. The one-run losses began to pile up because of a horrific bullpen, and the defense played as poorly as you’ll ever see a big league team perform. The one saving grace of the team was that the rotation was always one of the best in the majors. That gave fans hope that perhaps the season could somehow be rectified.

But in the last several weeks, through attrition and trades, the A’s rotation has become a revolving door of many pathetic pitchers. Sonny Gray (13-7, 2.28), the A’s ace and All-Star, is the only remaining member of the original rotation. Let’s take a look at the others and their Oakland records and ERA’s:

Scott Kazmir (5-5, 2.38) – Traded to Houston.

Jesse Hahn (6-6, 3.35) – Out since early July with flexor tendon injury.

Kendall Graveman (6-9, 4.05) – Began season in rotation, was sent down after disastrous April, came back up and pitched well, but now has regressed in his last six starts.

Drew Pomeranz (4-5, 3.67) – Began season in rotation but made only nine starts. Now a lefty out of the bullpen.

Jesse Chavez (7-15, 4.18) – Disappointed to begin season in bullpen but now has made 26 starts. Pitched well with little run support early but now is finishing season on fumes.

Chris Bassitt (1-6, 2.82) – Began season in AAA when he couldn’t get lefties out in spring training. Has made strides to be in rotation next year. Better than his record shows.

Brad Mills (0-0, 5.40) – Made one spot start, no decision. Not in the team’s plans.

Aaron Brooks (1-3, 7.62) – Just one nice win at the Coliseum. Doesn’t look like he has a future in the bigs.

Felix Dubront (2-1, 5.14) – Another discarded player who looked good to Oakland. Might have a future as a fifth starter, but I rather doubt it.

Cody Martin (0-1, 15.00) – Brought up for one solitary, horrendous start. Sent right back down after the loss.

Sean Nolin (1-1, 3.09) – Had a chance to make team in the spring but couldn’t stay healthy. Has opportunity to make rotation next season.

Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin – Both never pitched for Oakland this season. Parker’s career is on thin ice after a third elbow surgery. Griffin has a chance to return to rotation next year.

As it stands right now, with no additions from minors or acquisitions, the rotation for next season would be Gray, Hahn, Bassitt, Graveman and Chavez. Nolin and Griffin might force their way in, too. Plus, I think minor league phenom Sean Manaea might get an outside shot, and Beane could add another veteran for the minimum, like he did with Brandon McCarthy in 2011. Once a source of pride just a matter of weeks ago, the A’s 2015 starting rotation now has an ERA of 3.52. It’s not going to be an easy fix.

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