After 2 weeks of spring training, a few things are apparent when it comes to the A's pitching staff. Rich Harden shouldn't be counted on to be ready to start the season--or finish it! Josh Outman will need some time in Triple-A to get his game back. And with Brandon McCarthy, Bobby Cramer, and particularly Tyson Ross, all pitching well, the 5th starter competition looks like a solid 3-man race.But the situation in the bullpen could pose an even more interesting question. With Joey Devine and Jerry Blevins struggling on a regular basis, the final spot in the A's 'pen could also be up for grabs. If the pair continues to look as lost as they have so far, the final spot in the bullpen could either go to a long-man who loses out in the 5th starter competition, or some new candidates could even come into play. If that's the case, I'd suggest the A's might want to consider a pair of non-roster invitees who've looked a lot more on-point than Devine and Blevins have this spring--Fernando Cabrera and Yadel Marti. Marti has so far pitched 5 innings, given up 0 runs, 2 hits, walked 1 and struck out 6. And Cabrera has pitched 6 innings, given up 0 runs, 3 hits, walked 0 and struck out 7. In his Triple-A career, Cabrera has a 2.66 ERA over 264 innings. Small spring samples admittedly don't count for much, but I think it's at least enough to warrant a little longer look if it appears there might be a spot up for grabs.
I'd personally rather see the losers of the 5th starter competition throwing every 5th day at Sacramento and be ready to come up when the inevitable injury occurs. And if they continue to throw well, I wouldn't mind seeing one of these guys given a shot to start the season with the big club and see what they could do if Devine and Blevins don't look like they're ready to handle the job--besides, they'd both be at Sacramento to call on once they got their acts together. But what would you do with the final bullpen spot and the 5th starter spot? Here's how the 2011 A's pitching staff is currently shaping up... Cahill Anderson Gonzalez Braden McCarthy / Cramer / Ross ?
Bailey Balfour Ziegler Wuertz Fuentes Breslow Devine / Blevins / Cabrera / Marti / McCarthy / Cramer / Ross ?