A's 2013 roster breakdown: Starting pitchers

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A's 2013 roster breakdown: Starting pitchers

Editor's note: This is the first installment of the Oakland A's position-by-position offseason breakdown, teeing up the team's options for the 2013 season.Let's get it started. The A's rotation was consistently one of the best in baseball in 2012. It's hard to believe they finished third in the American League with a 3.80 ERA after losing so many key components to the starting staff both prior to and during the season. They were able to succeed because of strong performances by rookie pitchers. The A's set a major league record with 53 rookie wins.The A's rotation is set up beautifully for 2013. Jarrod Parker and Tommy Milone tied for an Oakland-record 13 wins by a starter. A.J. Griffin also enjoyed rookie success becoming the first Oakland starter to begin his career 6-0. These pitchers fared very well in 2012 and should only get better with experience."The young pitchers were great, but because they are so young there's room for improvement," A's general manager Billy Beane said at the conclusion of the season. "We are going to cryogenically freeze all of our pitchers and tell them not to raise their arms above their hips."Milone and Parker also performed exceedingly well under big-game pressure. The late September and October experience will go a long way in their development."Look at what Jarrod Parker did the last few starts of the season and what he had to do to get us here, he and Tommy Milone both," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "They were rookies to start the year and at the end of the year they were looking like accomplished veterans who really had to take on a load with the injuries we had to the veteran pieces in the rotation."A full season out of Brett Anderson would give the A's one of the deepest rotations in baseball. He returned following 14 months of rehabilitation after Tommy John surgery to go 4-2 with a 2.57 ERA in 2012. He suffered a right oblique strain late in the season, but returned to pitch in the American League Division Series. He is the most talented pitcher on the roster and should finally be fully healthy next season.
While the A's have enough depth on their roster to form a starting rotation, they would be wise to invest in another veteran arm to provide leadership and valuable innings. They made a step in that direction by bringing back Bartolo Colon. The A's would be wise to re-sign Brandon McCarthy as well. When on the mound McCarthy was extremely effective, and behind the scenes he helped the young pitchers prepare themselves. The right-handed pitcher had a career-best 3.24 ERA in 2012, and 1.95 walks per nine innings, which ranked him eighth among AL pitchers with 100 or more innings.RELATED: A's sign Colon to one-year deal
McCarthy missed time with right shoulder fatigue and missed the final month of the season after a horrifying incident in which he was struck in the head by a line drive and needed emergency brain surgery. He has been cleared to resume throwing and he should be ready to take the mound in time for opening day 2013. McCarthy, a free agent, might be affordable for the A's to sign based on some of the questions about his health. He has been drawing interest from several teams. Finding a way to bring back McCarthy would be a huge boost for the A's chances of defending their AL West crown.RELATED: McCarthy to begin throwing in December
Here in 2013:Brett Anderson: 6 GS, 4-2, 35 IP, 257 KBB, 2.57 ERA, 1.03 WHIP
Jarrod Parker: 29 GS, 13-8, 181.1 IP, 14064 KBB, 3.47 ERA, 1.26 WHIP
Tommy Milone: 31 GS, 13-10, 190.0 IP, 13726 KBB, 3.74 ERA, 1.28 WHIP
A.J. Griffin: 15 GS, 7-1, 82.1 IP, 6419 KBB, 3.06 ERA, 1.13 WHIP
Dan Straily: 7 GS, 2-1, 39.1 IP, 3216 KBB, 3.89 ERA, 1.32 WHIP
Bartolo Colon: 24 GS, 10-9, 152.1 IP, 9123 KBB, 3.43 ERA, 1.21 WHIP
Travis Blackley: 15 GS, 6-4, 102.2 IP, 6930 KBB, 3.86 ERA, 1.18 WHIP
On the Farm:Brad Peacock (AAA)
Sonny Gray (AAA)
A.J. Cole (A)
James Simmons (AAA)
Shawn Haviland (AA)
Ian Krol (AA)
Free Agents:Brandon McCarthy
Dallas Braden
Biggest Question:Can the A's young arms actually improve on their record setting 2012 campaign?Analyst's Take -- Greg Cadaret:"I think the big key for them is if they can get Brandon McCarthy back.""I don't expect any falloff at all between Tommy Milone and Jarrod Parker. I expect them to continue to improve. I don't think you are going to see huge strides forward, but they already pitched like they have experience that's what's so phenomenal about them. I do expect Griffin and Straily to get better."Best Available (and possibly affordable):Joe Blanton, 32
Ryan Dempster, 36
Dan Haren, 32
Rich Harden, 31
Kyle Lohse, 34
Joe Saunders, 32
Chris Young, 34
Roy Oswalt, 35
Randy Wolf, 36

Vogt has that 'rejuvenation feeling' going from A's to first-place Brewers

Vogt has that 'rejuvenation feeling' going from A's to first-place Brewers

After five seasons in Oakland, Stephen Vogt begins a new chapter of his career in Milwaukee.

The 32-year-old was designated for assignment by the last-place A's on Thursday and claimed by the first-place Brewers on Sunday.

On Monday, the two-time All-Star catcher discussed his new opportunity with a contender on MLB Network Radio.

"Obviously I was ecstatic to hear I was headed to Milwaukee. We all watch baseball and they are such a fun team to watch right now. And your buddy Eric Sogard is there, so I've got some familiarity. It's an opportunity to win and I think anybody, when you get to the stage I'm in in my career, where I'm 32, I want to win. I'm at the point where that's kind of the goal in the big leagues where all you care about is winning and that's where I'm at. So, to get the news that I'm headed to a first-place team, I couldn't be more excited," Vogt said.

After making the AL All-Star team the last two seasons, Vogt struggled to the tune of a .217 batting average with four home runs and 20 RBI in 54 games.

But with a new team in a new league comes a fresh slate.

"You get that rejuvenation feeling, you get that feeling that this is the change you needed especially going to a winning team where when you're winning, everyone plays better, when you're winning, everyones happier. No matter where you are in life, you want to have that feeling that somebody wants you. So to have Milwaukee come in and say 'We wanted you,' Yeah, it recharged the batteries. I'm ready to go," Vogt said.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's first road sweep of 2017

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's first road sweep of 2017

BOX SCORE

The A’s sprung to life offensively in the late innings Sunday and polished off their first road sweep of 2017.

They scored all five of their runs over the final three innings to beat the Chicago White Sox 5-3, continuing an odd stretch of streakiness. The A’s swept the New York Yankees in four at the Coliseum, then turned around and dropped four in a row to the Houston Astros before arriving in Chicago and taking all three from the Sox. It’s their first sweep on the road since they won four in Kansas City from Sept. 12-15 of last season.

The weekend’s events provided a morale boost for a team that began the series an American League-worst 9-25 away from home. The sweep also featured numerous contributions from a pack of recently promoted young players fresh from the minors.

The A’s had no answer for left-hander Derek Holland through six-plus innings, mustering just four hits off the veteran. But trailing 2-0, they got on the board with Jed Lowrie’s pinch-hit RBI double in the seventh. The next inning, Khris Davis singled home the tying run and Yonder Alonso followed with a go-ahead single down the left-field line to put the A’s up 3-2.

They tacked on two insurance runs in the ninth on back-to-back homers from Adam Rosales and Matt Joyce.

Sonny rebounds: Sonny Gray (3-3) avoided the early trouble that plagued his last start, working seven innings and being rewarded with a victory thanks to the A’s eighth-inning rally. He struck out seven and walked just one. That was a key as Gray had issued seven free passes combined in his previous two starts. Adam Engel hit a 2-1 fastball for a homer in the third, then Jose Abreu scored on a passed ball in the fourth to give Chicago a 2-0 lead. But Gray held the Sox to just four hits over his seven innings.

Sign of things to come? Franklin Barreto got a look as the No. 2 hitter in the order Sunday, a spot that some scouts feel he’ll be well suited for as his career unfolds. He singled to the opposite field in his first at-bat, then struck out looking in his next two trips to the plate. In the eighth, his broken-bat single to left jumpstarted Oakland’s two-run go-ahead rally. Barreto is 4-for-10 in his first two games with the big club.

Joyce provides a lift off the bench: Joyce entered as a pinch runner in the seventh and connected for his 10th homer, right after Rosales had gone deep himself. Joyce became the fourth Athletic to crack double figures in homers, and the A’s improved to 31-26 when they hit at least one home run (they’re 3-16 when they don’t).

Doo does it again: Lefty reliever Sean Doolittle continued to deal since coming off the disabled list. He threw a scoreless eighth with two strikeouts and has allowed just one hit over five innings in six appearances since his return.

An unwanted milestone: The Sox scored their second run on a passed ball by Josh Phegley, which accounted for Oakland’s 50th unearned run, most in the majors. They had just 43 unearned runs all of last season.