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The Oakland Athletics starting rotation took a big hit with the injury to Jharel Cotton

The Oakland Athletics are a sexy sleeper pick for this year sneaking up on teams. They have a talented core of young players like Matt Chapman and Matt Olson, plus prospects on the way. The one thing that is holding them back is starting rotation depth, and that depth took a hit as Jharel Cotton‘s 2018 is now in doubt after being diagnosed with a sprained UCL in his elbow and a strained flexor tendon.

Their starting rotation now looks like this:

Kendall Graveman
Sean Manaea
Daniel Mengden
Paul Blackburn
Andrew Triggs/Daniel Gossett

That’s a whole ton of question marks.

Granted, there was a ton of question marks coming in with Cotton. After a nice cup of coffee in 2016, Cotton struggled to a 9-10 record with a 5.58 ERA last season.

Cotton looked like he may have been turning a corner this spring, posting a 3.75 ERA in 12 spring innings, with 16 strikeouts.

Alex Cobb is still sitting in free agency. If he was willing to take a Lance Lynn type deal, should the Oakland Athletics bite? He would be an upgrade over Cotton and provide a veteran anchor in what is a very young rotation, though would the A’s want to give up a draft pick and international money.

Oakland has more pitching coming with guys like A.J. Puk, Jesus Luzardo, Grant Holmes and James Kaprielian. Puk has yet to give up a run in spring training going into yesterday’s action.

The Oakland Athletics have assembled a pretty deep bullpen, though it’s not filled with names like the New York Yankees bullpen. Guys like Blake Treinen, Santiago Casilla and newcomers like Ryan Buchter and Yusmeiro Petit make up a solid, if not unspectacular group, which will be relied upon even further with the injury to Cotton.

Cotton’s injury will test the Oakland Athletics rotation depth. If guys like Triggs, Gossett, and possibly Puk down the line this year step up, Oakland can be that sleeper team. Can one or two of them take the bull by the horns for this spot?

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