OAKLAND -- Countless competitions will soon be showcased across Spring Training playgrounds everywhere, as clubs make careful observations while preparing to put together an Opening Day squad.The A's are no outlier, but they may lack the usual roster drama that typically precedes a new season. Barring injury, Oakland's starting nine
OAKLAND -- Countless competitions will soon be showcased across Spring Training playgrounds everywhere, as clubs make careful observations while preparing to put together an Opening Day squad.
The A's are no outlier, but they may lack the usual roster drama that typically precedes a new season. Barring injury, Oakland's starting nine are seemingly decided, with much thanks to Friday's signing of everyday left fielder Khris Davis.
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That's not to say the A's six-week stay in Mesa, Ariz., will lack intrigue, though. Oakland's decision-makers still have to narrow their backup outfield options and, more importantly, line up a string of starters behind Sonny Gray and Rich Hill in a richly deep rotation that boasts a bevy of strong candidates.
Hill, signed to a one-year, $6 million deal in November, is expected to emerge as the No. 2 starter behind Gray, providing the lone veteran presence on the starting staff. That leaves three other spots up for grabs among several familiar names, all of whom helped the club some time during the 2015 season: Jesse Hahn, Kendall Graveman, Chris Bassitt, Aaron Brooks and Felix Doubront.
Jarrod Parker, considered fully healthy, is also assumed to be part of that mix, even after undergoing his second Tommy John surgery and another procedure to repair his fractured right elbow. The A's plan to treat the right-hander as a starter until a medical team tells them otherwise, which very much leaves open the possibility of his return to the A's rotation.
Still, Hahn, Graveman and Bassitt are likely viewed as the front-runners to grab hold of these three spots, given the body of work they compiled last season when healthy. Each made at least 13 starts and averaged a combined 3.65 ERA.
Strong spring showings from each will only help their cases, but the A's plan to foster as much competition among all of their starters before breaking camp.
Pitchers and catchers report
Position players report
First Cactus League game
Away vs. Angels, March 3 at 12:10 p.m. PT
Home vs. White Sox, April 4 at 7:05 p.m. PT
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com.