A's 2013 roster breakdown: Starting pitchers

A's 2013 roster breakdown: Starting pitchers
November 28, 2012, 2:37 am
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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