Who will be in the rotation, and can they stay healthy?
The rotation starts with Sonny Gray and youngster Jesse Hahn, coming back off of forearm, elbow surgery. He pitched well in 2015 before being sidelined, and is expected to be good to go for spring training, but can he stay healthy? The rotation rounds out with Rich Hill, Chris Bassitt, and Henderson Alvarez, also coming back off of surgery – in his case the shoulder. Assuming full recovery for Alvarez and Hahn this is a pretty solid group, potentially – but with at least two of them as injury risks, the A’s may have to look to youngster Kendall Graveman and Jarrod Parker, who hasn’t pitched since 2013 due to multiple elbow surgeries.
The important focus has to be on keeping the rotation healthy, and possibly augmenting the starting pitcher depth, should the team contend early. The problems of 2015 linger, but there is potential for a big bounce-back.