Tantalizing left-hander A.J. Puk is on track to to return from shoulder surgery and take his place in the A’s 2021 starting rotation, per MLB.com’s Martín Gallegos (via Twitter). GM David Forst places Puk alongside Frankie Montas, Jesus Luzardo, Sean Manaea, and Chris Bassitt in their projected rotation.
At the tail end of games, however, the A’s have a hole to fill. When Blake Treinen left in free agency, the A’s backfilled the closer role with Liam Hendriks. Now that Hendriks appears to be following Treinen out the door, the A’s again have a decision to make. Hendriks had already eased into the role with 25 saves in 2019 when he took over, however.
Only two players besides Hendriks recorded a save in 2020, however: Joakim Soria had two and Burch Smith had one. Soria is also a free agent, and Smith is a soon-to-be 31-year-old looking to appear in back-to-back seasons for the same team for the first time in his career. But the A’s aren’t totally bereft of candidates for high-leverage opportunities.
Forst put Jake Diekman at the top of the list, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Diekman bounced around from Philadelphia to Texas to Arizona and Kansas City before landing in Oakland a few days before the 2019 trade deadline. He’s been a viable and oft-used bullpen arm throughout his nine-year career, but he’s never been regularly called upon to finish games. Diekman has seven career saves.
Diekman reached new heights in 2020 with a 0.42 ERA/2.72 FIP across 21 appearances totaling 21 1/3 innings. The 33-year-old has also notched 141 holds throughout his career, including 13 in 2020.
Don’t sleep on the A’s ability to turn nothing into something. Smith, Diekman, Trevino, Wendleken, Weems, you never know who could be the next one to take off as the A’s Closer
is James Kaprielian going to make the A’s next year?
I have to imagine at some point he’ll get a look in the rotation
Their also adding guys to the pen that hit 100 plus, so there is always that. The A’s always find a way to find diamonds in the rough in the bullpen! Now get that SS and 2B!
Rsox- true dat! I wish my team, the AL West rival (if you can call us that!) Mariners had that same ability to continually have success in their BP despite losing key pieces year after year.
Yea then get into the playoffs and turn something into nothing
Diekman’s career has been revived by PitchingNinja. It’s amazing how baseball works out sometimes.
His walks and bouts of wildness still issue especially if they make him closer
Simply put we need an Aussie…Gamers to the very end and never ever beaten…
Grant Balfour eventually followed by Liam Hendriks
Apologies – following an earlier thread – didn’t realise that you’d had an elbow problem…. Sincerely hope that has calmed a bit
Anyway – just for giggles – I’m gonna set up a mound in my warehouse and throw 60 or so fastballs with the ML ball bought and given to me in Chicago.
I’ll call back with how my 48 year old shoulder feels afterwards. As a former cricketer I felt I could kiss the wings off a butterfly but I’m guessing I need to cover the window panes first.
I’m looking forward to this silliness….Might upload to you tube, something along the lines of “English idiot fails with fastball/knuckler/slider” – but it would be a welcome opportunity to maim a colleague or two…..
Hey, you’re onto something. 5 of the A’s last 6 postseason teams have had an Australian on them…
Ducky Buckin Fent
My 52 year old shoulder is screaming, “oh my God, tell him not to! Tell him how much it’ll hurt!”.
So there’s that.
But, I’ll watch the hell outta that video.
So there’s also that.
Wonder when Mr. Beane is going to formally abandon this sinking ship? Heard he was close to leaving for Boston venture as his s&@$ clearly doesn’t work in postseason (per his own words).
Puk should be the obvious choice. He’s pitched under plenty of pressure and struggles w control to much as a long term starter. Turn him into hader 2.0
Bullpen won’t help much when you don’t have even replacement level middle infielders. This team is gonna suck.
Well their 2b options will consist of Kemp, pinder neuse machin. Which isn’t a talentless group. The issue is shortstop. Maybe a pinder, machin platoon at shortstop offensively could be about average but the problem would be defense. Iglesias wouldve been a nice short term fit in terms of cost and buying time for their shortstop prospect Nick Allen to be ready in 2022. Maybe sign freddy galvis type if he co.es cheap. Ideally because their money issues maybe they can dump piscotty or Khris Davis but that’s not happening. They have too much outfield depth with players slated for AAA and getting older that could probably help other teams at the very least in backup outfielder roles. I see some DFAs or minor trades at some point
Pinder being an everyday SS gives me nightmares. It’s not going to be pretty. He belongs in the OF
Man, I hope Puk is healthy in 2021 (and beyond). I guess there is a silver lining to his injury woes, if he has truly gotten past them — the “miles” on his arm are considerably lower than they would be otherwise.