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Elephant Rumblings: Rotation options aplenty

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MLB: SEP 18 Athletics at Astros Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, Athletics Nation!

Last Thursday’s trade of Cole Irvin to the Orioles has brought the Athletics’ potential 2023 into a little more focus. Irvin was the odds on favorite to start on Opening Day, but the A’s do have a plethora of options, even if there are a lot of question marks. The Athletic’s Melissa Lockard dove into those options Monday morning.

Lockard sees new acquisition Drew Rucinski along with James Kaprielian and Paul Blackburn fronting the rotation. There are some injury concerns currently with Kaprielian and Blackburn, but David Forst said last week that he expects that both will have thrown off a mound several times by the time spring camp opens on February 15.

Behind that trio is a group including Shintaro Fujinami, A.J. Puk, JP Sears, Ken Waldichuk and Kyle Muller. Fujinami will be transitioning from Japan where he spent time in a six-man rotation and also saw some action as a reliever. The expectation is that the A’s will give him a chance to start. Puk spent last season as a multi-inning relief option and hasn’t worked as a full-time starter since 2017. Muller and Waldichuk look like the future of the rotation, but both have options remaining.

That doesn’t even mention guys like Mason Miller, Freddy Tarnok, J.T. Ginn and Luis Medina who are likely slated to begin the season at Triple-A.

How the rotation ultimately shakes out is going to be one of the biggest storylines to track for the Athletics throughout the spring. There are plenty of options and some upside, but a lot of it is unproven at this point.

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Mark Kotsay presented a posthumous award to his college coach, Augie Garrido Jr. at the 2023 Game Changer Awards Benefit.

Also, the Athletics helped out over 22,000 youth athletes through their Future A’s program over the weekend.