The Oakland A’s called up pitcher Daniel Mengden on Monday, the team announced. To make room on the roster, Chris Bassitt was optioned down to Triple-A Nashville.
The A’s rotation has seen some changes in the last few days. They called up Bassitt to make a spot start on Sunday, with the intention of simply giving everyone else an extra day of rest. However, as a matter of coincidence, Sean Manaea was placed on the disabled list later that same day, meaning an extra arm would indeed be needed later this week.
Bassitt was good enough in his outing. He pitched into the 5th inning against the Twins and allowed just one run, setting the scene for the bullpen to shorten the game and seal the victory. However, it appears he will not be the immediate answer to fill the spot vacated by Manaea.
Bassitt, Sunday: 4⅔ ip, 1 run, 3 Ks, 3 BB, 1 HR, 4 hits
Instead, the A’s are calling on Mengden. The right-hander last pitched in the bigs in late June, when he suffered a sprained foot and went on the DL. Before that he’d been the team’s best starter in May, but then slumped in June leading up to the injury. Here are two lines — his full season (16 starts), and his 2018 peak (9 starts, mid-April through end of May):
Mengden, 2018: 4.47 ERA, 90⅔ ip, 55 Ks, 19 BB, 15 HR, 4.79 FIP
Mengden, peak: 2.01 ERA, 58⅓ ip, 36 Ks, 6 BB, 5 HR, 3.34 FIP
In the meantime, he’s been staying warm in Triple-A. Here’s what he’s done in seven starts there, excluding two rehab outings before being activated from the DL:
Mengden, last 7 AAA: 2.63 ERA, 37⅔ ip, 26 Ks, 6 BB, 1 HR, 32 hits, 3.28 FIP
However, we shouldn’t yet assume that Mengden is here to take Manaea’s place in the rotation. According to Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle, he is “likely to provide length in the bullpen if needed during (the) series at Houston.”
Oakland currently has Brett Anderson, Edwin Jackson, and Trevor Cahill slated to pitch against the Astros this week, with Manaea’s next turn coming up on Thursday at home against the Yankees. We’ll have to wait and see if Mengden takes that Thursday start, or whether it’s contingent on how things go in Houston, or if he’s strictly here to help out of the pen (Frankie Montas is also still an option for Thursday). Theoretically, Mike Fiers could also be on turn for Thursday, if they wished to push the decision off until Friday. Rosters don’t expand until Saturday.
Update: The plan is for Mengden to pitch out of the bullpen in the Houston series (insider Jane Lee), but if they don’t end up needing him in that role then he “is an option to start Thursday” (Slusser).