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Elephant Rumblings: Storylines for upcoming Spring Training

MLB news roundup

MLB: Oakland Athletics-Press Conference D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday, Athletics Nation!

A’s beat writer Martin Gallegos put out a piece yesterday looking at three big storylines to keep an eye on during Spring Training.

One that he delved into is one plenty of us have looked at a lot recently: the starting rotation and who would be in it. With a plethora of young but unestablished arms and low-risk roll of the dice guys, it’s going to be one of the most looked at battles all spring and it wouldn’t be a major shock to see someone we aren’t expecting to make it to end up in the top 5 out of camp.

The other two things he mentioned are storylines that haven’t gotten nearly as much attention. The battle at first base should be at least something to watch, but it feels more like a 2-man race between newly-signed Jesus Aguilar and Rule 5 pick Ryan Noda, who could conceivably platoon at the position. The third person he mentions in the piece is Dermis Garcia. And yes, while he played a lot down the stretch for Oakland in 2022, it wasn’t anything even close to noteworthy as he struck out 55 times in just 125 plate appearances (for those counting, that’s a 44% K-rate, which, yikes). It would be a major surprise to see him on the roster on Opening Day.

The more interesting part that he touched on is the future of outfielder Cristian Pache. Formerly a centerpiece of the Matt Olson trade, Pache was so bad in 2022 that the A’s then made another centerfield prospect the centerpiece of another traded star player in Sean Murphy. That isn’t encouraging, what the front office has said since then isn’t encouraging, and Pache is out of options and needs to stay on the roster. He’s still elite with the glove and once considered a top prospect so there is essentially no way the A’s would be able to get him off the roster without him being claimed by another rebuilding team willing to give him a chance. This is definitely a make-or-break spring for the young outfielder, but it feels like Oakland has already given up on him. Can Pache really make the team rethink that? Definitely something to watch.

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And finally, a member of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors passed away last night, someone who would have had a voice in the A’s future. Rest in Peace.