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Jarrod Parker: Captain Obvious Finally Visits A's Braintrust

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So word came down last night that if "multiple team sources" are to be believed, the A's have decided to groom Jarrod Parker to be a reliever, rather than a starting pitcher. It really took this long?

One common fan refrain is that fans and bloggers should not purport to know better than the front office, which has access to so much more information, some of it proprietary and some of it from experts with whom only they can confer. How brazen for a fan to claim to know better than the experts themselves. Except that sometimes the outsiders are simply right.

As Parker recovered from his second TJS, many of us expressed that it would be wise for Oakland to bring him back at least initially as a reliever. This was based on a considerable amount of information that was available to all:

- The only successful return to starting pitching after 2 TJS was Chris Capuano, who sets the bar pretty low. "Capuano and a bunch of failed attempts" suggested that Parker objectively faced long odds of coming back to be a SP at the level he was before the second TJS.

- Parker's arsenal is well suited to thriving out of the pen. His bread and butter is the combination of a good fastball and a great changeup, a combination that Trevor Hoffman rode to the Hall of Fame, Ryan Madson is riding to be one of the game's better set-up men, but which is not enough to succeed as a SP.

- Breaking balls are especially hard on the elbow and Parker's breaking pitches were never his calling card anyway. Lots of reasons to scrap the slider and few reasons to force him to throw it by asking him to start.

- Relief pitching can always be a bridge from injury to the rotation. I thought at the very least Parker should return as a reliever for one season and then maybe move into the rotation if all went well.

Yet Oakland brought him back strictly as a SP and lo and behold Parker suffered the fracture on the 87th pitch of his last minor league start. How it would have played out had Parker been pitching only in relief is unknown and unknowable. How it played out was very unfortunate.

So now Parker faced returning from 2 TJS and a fracture. Surely the A's would put him in the bullpen as he tried to come back yet again in 2016. Nope. All we saw all winter and into spring training was "We see him as a starting pitcher" and a plan to prep him for the rotation.

Thank you, Captain Obvious, for finally paying a visit to the powers that be. March 6th, 2016: the day the A's finally figured out that Parker's best -- and likely only -- avenue for a successful comeback lies in airing out his fastball and changeup in 1-2 inning stints.

How did they not see this a year ago? How did they not see this a month ago? Sometimes fans really do know better.