What will the rotation look like when Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson are both back? Do they automatically get a rotation spot over the guys who have proven themselves in the time they were out? Or do the A's go to a six- or a seven-man rotation?
-- David B., Livermore, Calif.
A seven-man rotation would create all sorts of roster issues, and even a six-man one affects its dynamic, too, though that's one the A's should at least consider, if they haven't already.
McCarthy, set to come off the disabled list Friday, is taking the spot of A.J. Griffin, who should be reinstated from the DL when eligible. By that time, Anderson should be nearing his return, so with a six-man rotation, McCarthy could get the extra rest his balky right shoulder seems to need. Extra rest would also help out rookie starters Jarrod Parker and Tommy Milone, who have already racked up high innings counts this year.
It would seem to serve everyone well, especially if the A's see themselves continuing play in the postseason, where they'll need as many fresh arms as possible.
Will Dallas Braden pitch in a game for the A's this year? Will he ever pitch for Oakland again? I just don't see him making a start in favor of any of the younger guys, unless someone else was suddenly hurt.
-- Kyle M., Merced, Calif.
Braden's chances of returning this year are dimming by the day, and given his continual setbacks, combined with the fact that there are fewer than two months of the season left to play, it's very unlikely he will see game action -- at least in the big leagues -- this year.
Pitching coach Curt Young said just Wednesday that Braden remains sidelined with a groin injury, and with each passing day he doesn't throw a baseball, the longer his rehab becomes. You figure Braden would have to make at least four or five starts in the Minors, with five days separating each of them, and he's not even close to doing that.
As for the future, I can't really imagine the A's again offering Braden arbitration. They're already paying him more than $3 million this year, and while they've consistently shown loyalty to their local boy over the past few years, they're likely to let him seek an opportunity elsewhere while sticking with the youth they have in-house.
Why isn't Yoenis Cespedes getting the attention he deserves? Shouldn't he be a lock for the American League Rookie of the Year Award? It's time for people to take notice of this star in the making.
-- Norman G., Montclair, Calif.
If this were any year but Mike Trout's, then Cespedes would be in serious AL Rookie of the Year Award contention. In fact, he'd probably win the thing. As good as Cespedes has been for the A's this year -- they're 53-39 when he's in the lineup -- Trout has been equally superb for the Angels and leads all rookies in nearly every major category. And while Trout surely garners more headlines, it's quite clear Cespedes is quickly impressing his opponents, too.
Managers and players rave about Cespedes' skill set, and with each game played, he is only getting better, what with a multitude of adjustments he's made along the way. Now if you're wondering why more fans across the nation aren't so in tune with Cespedes' ability, they will be soon enough. For now, A's fans should enjoy having him to themselves.
Where is Grant Green? Why are we settling with Adam Rosales and Eric Sogard when Green has the better bat? Why not just make him the everyday shortstop?
-- Antonio R., San Jose, Calif.
Green appears to be settling in at second base, which several scouts have deemed his best position. The A's like what he's doing at second, though they're in no hurry to get him to the Majors -- even a September callup from Triple-A Sacramento isn't a guarantee.
So whether this means Jemile Weeks' place in the organization isn't as secure as it was in the offseason -- when general manager Billy Beane considered him untouchable -- is unknown. For now, all we know is Green has again made a position change and is sticking at second base until further notice.
Ryan Cook obviously doesn't belong in the closer's role anymore. Why is manager Bob Melvin sticking with him? Get Grant Balfour back in there.
-- Chris R., Fresno, Calif.
Cook has clearly lost his confidence in the role, which is a major factor in succeeding with that job, so it seems Melvin is trying to help Cook get it back by showing him support and sticking with him in save situations. If the struggles continue to define Cook's outings, you may very well see Balfour, who has been unflappable of late, back in the role that was his at the start of the season. I'd suspect both will get their opportunities in the coming weeks.