There have been numerous discussions as to what the A's lineup will/should look like in 2006 and beyond, but what about the rotation? I thought I'd use the off day as the time to start the discussion.
The way I see it, next year's rotation has three locks, based on performance and economics: Harden, Haren and Blanton. (Barring injury, of course.) With those three spots given, there are (at least) five in-house possibilites for the two remaining spots. Which are the best options, and which will the A's ultimately choose? Here's my take:
- Zito - Clearly the best pitcher in the group, but economics will determine his future in the green and gold. What sort of jack will he be looking for in his next contract? I don't think we can afford to give him a Hudson-sized deal, despite his success and durability. Will he give Oakland the old hometown discount for 8 or 9 mill for 3 or 4 years? Good question. And another good question: Have Harden, Haren, and Blanton developed into good enough frontline guys that Zito isn't needed, and his alotted money could help the offense? Zito will likely be the best pitcher avaliable this winter. Maybe Beane can get a bidding war for him and aquire a top young pitcher or slugger. Clearly the wild card of the group.
- Saarloos - You've got to hand to to Captain Kirk: everytime he's about to be written off, he comes in on eight days rest and throws a gem. But is he long for Oakland? It seems like everyone's long-term plans don't include him, but I feel he's pitched well enough to justify a long look. I doubt he'd bring much in a trade, and if he is beaten out, I've long felt he could be effective in the bullpen.
- Kennedy - I was a skeptic about this deal, but old Joe has proven to be a very solid pitcher since leaving Coors. (Perhaps with him and Chacon, we should try to acquire guys whose value has bottomed out in Colorado.) Now, I think Kennedy will be starting somewhere next year. My gut is that one of he or Zito will be here and the other gone. If Beane decides to trade Zito, Kennedy could be a solid #4. If we keep Barry, Kennedy could fetch a nice little package himself after rebounding in Oakland.
- Meyer - Clearly, 2005 has been a major dissapointment for Meyer, as injuries derailed his campaign. What does the future hold for thekey to the Hudson deal? Since I have never seen Meyer pitch, I can't offer much of my own opinion, except that to say I doubt he'll make the rotation out of Spring Training. Would love to hear more from those who have seen him.
- Cruz - A disaster in the 'pen, and mowing down AAA as a starter: What to do with Juan Cruz? Personally, I think he's fool's gold. I hope he doesnt get a start down the stretch, so that rival GM's will focus on his numbers in Sacto and think he's the one. Perhaps I'm too harsh on old Juan, but I wouldn't feel too good having him in the rotation.
Aside from Zito, who do you most want to see in the '06 rotation?
Meyer (22 votes)
Cruz (17 votes)
I don't care, so long as we FIRE MACHA NOW! (7 votes)
Saarloos (22 votes)
Kennedy (10 votes)
78 total votes