By John Hickey
Tuesday, March 26th, 2013 at 10:16 am in 2013 spring training.
Call me crazy.
But if the A’s roster situation comes down like this, remember you read it here first.
The assumption all along has been that Dan Straily would start Game 5 of the season for Oakland in Houston, after which he would be sent down to make room for Bartolo Colon, post-PEDs.
If Straily, who has limped through the spring with a 7.56 ERA, essentially is going to start the season in the minors anyway, why waste that move? Why not just have him start in the minors?
Who to start Game 5, then?
Travis Blackley was the A’s fifth starter last year with great impact. Admittedly, he hasn’t pitch all that well this spring to the point where he’s maybe 50-50 to make the team.
But this is an organization that prides its depth, and just because Blackley’s had a grim spring (a .1434 ERA) is no reason to believe he won’t pitch better down the line. So keeping him in the organization makes sense.
So let Blackley start Game 5 and hope for the best for the one start. If you then have to send him down, you have a much better chance of keeping him by having him clear waivers after the other 29 teams have just finalized their rosters and may be less willing to break that up by making a roster claim.
The bonus here is that by keeping Blackley, who is out of options, over Straily, who does have options, the A’s could temporarily open up one more spot for a position player. And with the glut of great springs from the group of second basemen, you could keep two from the group of Eric Sogard, Adam Rosales and Scott Sizemore instead of just one.
That might produce an extension of the spring training second base competition before the A’s have to settle on how to set up the infield for the next 157 games, and the larger sample size likely would give the club more confidence in the decision that has to be made there.
I broached the question to two members of the A’s brain trust. One said it hadn’t been talked about, but maybe it should be. The other said the idea had been kicked around and wasn’t going to happen.
Except for Straily, it’s a win-win situation.