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Inbox: Who stands out in A's rotation?

Beat reporter Jane Lee fields questions from fans
MLB.com @JaneMLB

How do you see the rotation competition playing out? Are there any frontrunners?
-- Drew M., Richmond, Calif.

It's far too early to single anyone out, especially since these guys collectively struggled in the first week of games, but Daniel Mengden does seem to be favored by the A's brass. Assuming he lands one of the three open rotation spots, that leaves Jharel Cotton, Andrew Triggs, Paul Blackburn and Daniel Gossett in battle. Gossett, slowed by some back tightness this week, is slightly behind his competition, so it will probably come down to three guys for two spots. At this point, my guess would be Cotton and Blackburn, but that could easily change as they continue racking up more innings.

How do you see the rotation competition playing out? Are there any frontrunners?
-- Drew M., Richmond, Calif.

It's far too early to single anyone out, especially since these guys collectively struggled in the first week of games, but Daniel Mengden does seem to be favored by the A's brass. Assuming he lands one of the three open rotation spots, that leaves Jharel Cotton, Andrew Triggs, Paul Blackburn and Daniel Gossett in battle. Gossett, slowed by some back tightness this week, is slightly behind his competition, so it will probably come down to three guys for two spots. At this point, my guess would be Cotton and Blackburn, but that could easily change as they continue racking up more innings.

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I gotta say this team has an interesting makeup. There's a lot of talent here. The starting rotation, though? Are the A's going to try and pick up a veteran arm at all? They're in the strongest division for sure and that young core could use a presence.
-- @WesSager

I don't disagree, but there doesn't seem to be any urgency from the A's to add a veteran starter. They've said they're done spending, which would seemingly rule out a notable addition. At the same time, I'm sure they're doing their due diligence and monitoring the many free-agent arms that are still playing out the waiting game.

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They only have so much depth, which can dissipate quickly, but it sounds like they'll stand pat for now.

What's the latest with Chris Bassitt? Why are the A's so hesitant to have him start again? Is there still concern about his arm?
-- Bruce T., Sacramento, Calif.

No concern, and in fact it sounds like they're comfortable stretching him out to start -- and want to do so, especially with a couple of minor injuries already affecting the rotation. There was never any hesitation; Bassitt has made it clear that he wants to start, and the only reason the A's weren't so sure they would be able to accommodate him in this role is that they realistically didn't see having enough innings for him this spring.

That still probably holds true, but expect them to build Bassitt's innings as much as possible this spring and let him finish the process with Triple-A Nashville when camp breaks. He would then be a strong candidate for a callup when the A's need some starting help.

Video: OAK@DET: Bassitt strikes out V-Mart to end the 1st

Who do you think will be in the bullpen on Opening Day? There doesn't seem to be much talk about those guys.
-- Jesse T., Fort Worth, Texas

The focus has clearly been on the competition brewing in the rotation, but there are definitely difficult decisions to be made in the bullpen, starting with the question of carrying seven or eight men. If it's seven, the group probably looks like this: Blake Treinen, Chris Hatcher, Emilio Pagan, Yusmeiro Petit, Ryan Buchter, Santiago Casilla and Liam Hendriks. If it's eight, add Daniel Coulombe to the mix.

Ryan Dull is dealing with some shoulder soreness and hasn't thrown in nearly a week, so he might have a hard time catching up to the pack.

Video: Ken Korach on need for a lefty in Athletics' bullpen

A.J. Puk looks big-league ready. If he's the best performer this spring, any chance he makes the team? I think this guy is the real deal.
-- Kevin G., San Jose, Calif.

He is, but he's not making the team. Puk will join them soon enough, though. June seems to be a fair estimate.

Video: Bob Melvin on A.J. Puk's rotation chances

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.

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