24yo Josh Outman will have TJ surgery today. Despite the blow, they have a seemingly endless pipeline to AAA of ML-ready starts. Vin Mazzarro has been the latest phemom called up to perform well. He did not make the club out of spring training despite being the best pitcher in camp, and has recently been compared to Kevin Brown with an electric sinker.
The erratic Gio Gonzalez replaces Outman in the rotation. Other options this year (and next): James Simmons, Sean Gallagher, Dana Eveland and Edward Gonzalez. Simmons is not currently on the 40 while Gallagher and Eveland are but are pitching in AAA. EGonzo is pitching out of the pen. In addition, their ace, the Duke, could be back just before or just after the ASB. It appears likely that he ends up in the pen to preserve his health but he could end up in the rotation at the beginning of August.
The A's will have an elite young rotation next year: Cahill, Anderson, Mazzarro, Simmons, Braden with Gallagher, and Gio as wildcards.
Who does TX have by comparison? Millwood will surely be back to front the rotation. Holland well be there for sure. Feldman will compete for a spot at the back end of the rotation; I expect he will still not receive any respect from the club next spring either. Harry and BMac will be there too, they are healthy. BMac is a prime candidate to be moved to the pen however even if he is healthy. Feliz will compete for a spot if the club trusts the health of his shoulder, if not, he will be a setup guy.
Hunter and Moscoso should be the most likely prospects to compete for the 4/5 spots though they could easily end up in the pen, where they would be instant updrades. The biggest wildcard migh be Tanner Scheppers. If he gets his as signed and to a full season club so that he can pitch for the next 10 weeks, then go to winter ball, he could compete for a rotation spot out of spring training. If he waits till august to sign, tX will likely have to wait until 2011 for him to front the rotation. Long shots would include: TMurph, Tony Doyle, Poveda, Kiker and Kirkman. TMurph and Kiker will likely end up in the pen.
So the rotation candidates stack up this way IMO:
Millwood, Holland, Harrison, Feldman, Moscoso, Hunter, Scheppers, Feliz, BMac
Poveda, Kirkman, Kiker
As it stands, TX will likely go into next season with a lot of unanswered questions about its young pitchers unless Hunter, Feliz and Moscoso get quite a few innings in the second half and Scheppers signs soon. Oakland, on the other hand, will have a firm grasp on where their young aces are in their development and each of their highly prized talents will bring a great deal of experience into their second years. In order to make sure that these questions don't linger into the 2010 season, I would expect that during the off season TX trades a few of the arms mentioned above in a package that would include some young position prospects to acquire a young frontline starter under control for some years. The ideal scenario would have been for Feliz to emerge at that guy this year but that seems entirely up in the air at the moment. In addition, even if Feliz does prove to be an ace, he likely won't look like one until 2011, after getting his first year under his belt.