The Athletics have received some unwelcome injury news in the past 12 hours or so, as general manager David Forst revealed prior to Tuesday’s game against the Mariners in Tokyo that top pitching prospect Jesus Luzardo will be shut down for four to six weeks due to a strain in the rotator cuff of his left shoulder (link via the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser).
That’s not all, however, as Oakland announced following today’s game that first baseman Matt Olson exited the game due to discomfort in his right hand. He’ll be further evaluated when the team returns to the United States. As Slusser reports (via Twitter), however, there’s some cause for genuine concern regarding Olson, who felt pain when fouling off a pitch and is now having difficulty gripping a bat.
Luzardo, 21, had emerged as a candidate to break camp in the Athletics’ rotation on the heels of a strong spring in which he allowed one earned run with a 15-to-4 K/BB ratio in 9 2/3 innings. Regarded as one of baseball’s elite pitching prospects by Baseball America, MLB.com, Fangraphs, ESPN and Baseball Prospectus, Luzardo reached Triple-A as a 20-year-old in 2018. He skyrocketed across three levels in the Oakland system, pitching to a collective 2.88 ERA with 10.6 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9 in 109 1/3 innings of work.
Slusser further reports that the A’s were in touch with righty Edwin Jackson about a reunion earlier this spring and suggests that the Luzardo injury could rekindle those talks. At present, the Oakland rotation consists of Mike Fiers, Marco Estrada, Brett Anderson and some combination of Chris Bassitt, Frankie Montas and Aaron Brooks. There’s depth in the form of recently optioned Daniel Mengden, Paul Blackburn and Tanner Anderson, but the A’s could be without top starter Sean Manaea all season following a September shoulder procedure. Other rotation options, including Jharel Cotton, Daniel Gossett and top prospect A.J. Puk are still mending from 2018 Tommy John surgery.
Beyond Jackson, there are still a few recognizable names who’ve yet to sign for the 2019 campaign. While few would expect Oakland to make a splash of Dallas Keuchel magnitude, none of Bartolo Colon, James Shields or Yovani Gallardo have signed yet. There will also be several veterans who took minor league deals this winter opting out of those deals in the coming days if they’re not assured a 25-man roster spot, and the A’s could opportunistically look to bolster their depth by exploring that market.
As for Olson, any sort of fracture or other significant injury would be a huge early-season blow to the A’s. The 24-year-old (25 next week) hit .247/.335/.453 with 29 home runs and 33 doubles while playing all 162 games for the A’s in 2018. He also won a Gold Glove Award in his first full MLB campaign, tallying 14 Defensive Runs Saved and recording an 11.6 Ultimate Zone Rating.
Mark Canha could step into regular at-bats should Olson require a short-term trip to the injured list, though if Olson is expected to be out for a longer period of time, the open market does still have a few notable first-base options. Lucas Duda opted out of his minor league deal with the Twins yesterday and would represent a logical platoon partner for Canha, while veteran Logan Morrison remains unsigned after undergoing season-ending hip surgery last year.
Man, that stinks. TINSTAAPP
TINSTAAPP is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. All pitchers in the majors today were prospects at some point.
20% of all Top 100 prospects stick in the majors as an average or better major league player. 20% of all Top 100 prospects that are pitchers stick in the majors as an average or better major league player. There is no difference whether they are a pitcher or a position player.
Bummer. I was looking forward to seeing what this kid can do. Speedy recovery. Hope it isnt as bad as some think.
And here comes the downfall…..
Depending on the severity of Olson’s injury, San Diego still has a roster crunch on its hands and has some pieces that complement Oakland well.
Any combination of Josh Naylor/Austin Allen plus Luis Perdomo or Robbie Erlin make a lot of sense.
Clears two 40 man spots for SD, Oak gets an arm in Erlin or Perdomo who immediately slot in Luzardo’s spot, Allen would make the most sense in terms of a bat that’s ML ready that can play C/1B who is blocked by Hedges/Mejia/Hosmer/Naylor.
This makes no sense. And you don’t even suggest what Oakland would give up.
Makes no sense? If Olson is on the shelf for any longer than two months you should look at filling that hole externally. Austin Allen can play 1B and the transition to backup C to spell the putrid combo of Hundley/Phegley.
Perdomo is a ground ball pitcher that would be a #5 replacement and would thrive in that big ballpark with his stuff, Erlin is a veteran arm who would provide coverage in the rotation as well.
As far as what Oakland could send back, it depends on where AJ Preller feels like the organization is after the Machado signing. Do they still accumulate higher level prospects in trades that are closer to ML ready? Or shoot for active major leaguers in trades.
Canha or pinder probably could play firstbase. Whoch frees up outfield at bata possibly for baretto or fowler. They do have back rotation depth with mengden, bassitt, tanner anderson, blackburn.
Just because that is a fit for Oakland, doesn’t mean there is anything that the A’s have that would be of interest to the Padres.
The Padres need MLB ready starting pitching. That is it. So how would sending 2 pitchers that can start to the A’s help the Padres?
Your posts make absolutely no sense for the Padres.
Keep Edwin Jackson pitching in large stadiums and he’ll be around forever.
Of course this happens! The A’s have the worst luck keeping guys healthy.
The Angels and Mets world disagree.
A’s go from winning 97 games to losing 97 games this year.
Signing Shields maybe wouldn’t be a bad idea. He’s always been durable so would give them innings, and pitching in Oakland could help him out with keeping the ball in the ballpark. There are worse options for a back of the rotation starter.
olson might be hamate bone. hope not obviously.
I’d rather Stomper pitch than Big Shame James.
I think Jesus makes a comeback. A resurrection of his career.
Shoulder issues are harder to recover from than elbow problems.
I always think about how well Curt Schilling did after his shoulder surgery
Can we catch a f****g break?!