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Drew Pomeranz optioned to Sacramento; Athletics Post-All-Star Break rotation set

Thearon W. Henderson

A couple of items of A's news and analysis headed to the All-Star Break, including an analysis of the service time implications of the decision to option Drew Pomeranz to Sacramento now instead of completing a full rehabilitation assignment.

Drew Pomeranz activated and optioned to Sacramento

The Oakland Athletics activated left handed starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz from the 15-day disabled list and optioned him to the Triple-A Sacramento Rivercats this morning. Pomeranz was placed on the DL with a boxer's fracture on his glove hand after punching a wooden chair following a poor start against the Texas Rangers on June 16. Yesterday, Pomeranz made a single rehabilitation assignment for the River Cats on July 12, striking out seven, walking none, and giving up a single run on a home run over four innings pitched and 53 pitches. The home run was the only hit he allowed.

Analysis: Decision to option now can extend A's team control over Pomeranz to 2019

With Pomeranz's activation today, his service time accrued for the year pauses at 104 days, bringing him to one year, 154 days. Pomeranz will assuredly get to the 172 days needed to pass the two-year mark during September expanded rosters.

However, next year, Pomeranz has a fourth option year available because it will only be his fifth full professional season. He faces stiff competition for a spot in the starting rotation as the Athletics pitching depth, at full strength, should look something like:

  1. Scott Kazmir,
  2. Sonny Gray,
  3. Jeff Samardzija,
  4. Jarrod Parker,
  5. A.J. Griffin,
  6. Jesse Chavez,
  7. Tommy Milone,
  8. Drew Pomeranz,
  9. Arnold Leon,
  10. Josh Lindblom.

While Parker and Griffin are likely still working on their recovery from Tommy John surgeries by Opening Day 2015, Pomeranz stands a significant chance of being the odd man out for at least some period next year.

Assuming Pomeranz is called up for all 28 days of MLB's September schedule, he will end 2014 on two years, 10 days' service time. With a 183 day schedule (compared to a 172 day service time year), the A's need only keep Pomeranz on optional assignment for 22 days to avoid his service time clicking over three years. This would continue A's team control over Pomeranz through 2019 instead of 2018.

As with any of these service time analyses, I don't think service time is ever the primary factor in this decision. Pomeranz was going to be optioned in any event given the rotation depth. With the fourth option year possibility, the A's lose little roster flexibility and gain a better opportunity to hold onto a cost-controlled quality left-handed starting pitcher for an extra year.

Post-All-Star Break rotation: Samardzija, Hammel, Gray, Kazmir, Chavez

The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser reports:

  • Jeff Samardzija will not be pitching in the All-Star Game barring a late selection as an American League injury replacement, he will start on six days' rest.
  • Jason Hammel has not pitched since July 9 and will go on nine days rest.
  • Sonny Gray pitches today and will then pitch on six days' rest.
  • Scott Kazmir is likely to make a brief appearance during the All-Star Game, he will then pitch on six days' rest, 12 days' rest not counting an All-Star appearance.
  • Jesse Chavez pitched yesterday and will start again on ten days' rest.
The rotation, assuming no skips, sets up the A's to offer Samardzija, Hammel, and Gray against the Angels from September 22-24, and finish the season throwing Kazmir, Chavez, Samardzija, and Hammel against the Texas Rangers. The A's have several opportunities to skip starts to reset the rotation again. Look particularly to the two off-days that sandwich the two-game series against the New York Mets at the Coliseum for any last rotation adjustments.