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Inbox: How to handle struggling young A's?

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

What to do with all of the struggling young starters? It's getting painful to watch, and at some point, it seems best to just shut them down.
-- Curtis M., San Francisco

But who would pitch in place of them? The A's only have so many arms, and it's also important to let these young starters -- namely Sean Manaea and Jharel Cotton, who are considered important pieces of the future -- work through their struggles, particularly when able to do so within a low-pressure setting on a non-contending club. The A's, of course, want to cultivate a winning environment, but they also know that growing pains accompany young players. Often, those are magnified on the mound, since the pitcher is front and center of all the action. In the end, Manaea and Cotton will likely benefit from the opportunity to pitch through such stretches.

What to do with all of the struggling young starters? It's getting painful to watch, and at some point, it seems best to just shut them down.
-- Curtis M., San Francisco

But who would pitch in place of them? The A's only have so many arms, and it's also important to let these young starters -- namely Sean Manaea and Jharel Cotton, who are considered important pieces of the future -- work through their struggles, particularly when able to do so within a low-pressure setting on a non-contending club. The A's, of course, want to cultivate a winning environment, but they also know that growing pains accompany young players. Often, those are magnified on the mound, since the pitcher is front and center of all the action. In the end, Manaea and Cotton will likely benefit from the opportunity to pitch through such stretches.

Submit a question to the A's Inbox

Why did the A's trade Yonder Alonso? Or, better yet, why do the A's consistently trade off our best players? This is demoralizing to true fans.
-- Tony C., Oakland

Though fans may have been teased into thinking that Alonso would be staying put through this season and beyond, after the A's kept him at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, they never seriously considered hanging on to him past this season. Alonso publicly stated his desire to be with Oakland long-term, but extension talks never surfaced -- and it was always more likely that he would be dealt before he entered free agency at season's end so the A's could at least get something in return.

When will the A's call up Renato Nunez? He is hitting well in Triple-A.
-- Dante P., San Ramon, Calif.

The A's like to take advantage of expanded rosters in September by awarding players who deserve a promotion, and Nunez certainly falls into this category with his 30-plus-homer season, so I'd expect we'll see him up in a few short weeks -- but no sooner, since Oakland already has enough corner infielders and outfielders on hand.

Do you think the A's will keep Rajai Davis and/or Matt Joyce next year for veteran leadership?
-- Richard D., Tucson, Ariz.

Davis will be a free agent this offseason, meaning his second tenure with the A's is nearing the end. Joyce, however, was signed to a two-year deal, and I suspect Oakland -- which values him a great deal -- will stick with him entering Spring Training, especially considering how muddy the club's outfield picture looks right now.

Why did the A's demote Jaycob Brugman? I thought he was supposed to be part of this core group of young players.
-- Zachary P., Livermore, Calif.

Brugman impressed at the plate during his time with the A's, holding his own during his first big league stint. But he didn't always look so comfortable in center field, leaving work for him to do on the defensive side.

Brugman profiles more as a fourth outfielder than as an everyday center fielder, as does Boog Powell, who supplanted him on the roster. But Powell has the edge here, with speed and defense.

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

Oakland Athletics