Athletics

A's Bob Melvin thrilled to have difficult Opening Day starter decision

Athletics

MESA, Ariz. -- The A's have a problem: Figuring out who will get the ball on Opening Day.

Yes, it's early to think about, but it's a stellar problem to have. One manager Bob Melvin is not used to.

The obvious smile on his face during the cool morning at Hohokam Stadium showed he likes knowing he has plenty of strong options.

"Literally you can throw it in a hat and pick it out, and I don't anyone would have a problem with it," Melvin told reporters Monday. 

He understands it's not an easy decision, especially this time around.

"There are a lot of things that go into picking your Opening Day starter, so we'll probably wait a little while to give you that news."

As a veteran, Mike Fiers will have a promising case for the job against the Twins on March 26. He didn't get the start over Sean Manaea for the AL Wild Card Game last postseason, but that doesn't signify much. 

Young lefties and A's top prospects A.J. Puk and Jesús Luzardo also will be part of the equation. 

Luzardo, put up sensational numbers in 2019, albeit in a small sample size. He boasted a 1.50 ERA with a 0.667 WHIP and 16 strikeouts in 12 innings, facing just 46 batters.

Puk came out of the bullpen last season as well and will vie for a spot in the starting rotation.

[RELATED: Fiers gets cheers in first appearance since Astros article]

 

The A's will also get a full season of Frankie Montas, who is coming off of an 80-game PED suspension in 2019. He went 9-2 with a 2.63 ERA in 2019. 

Chris Bassitt also will be thrown in the mix. He showed his diversity last season, moving to the bullpen after Blake Treinen was out with a back injury.

He could be a sixth-man option or continue a reliever slot, but either way, Melvin will put Bassitt in a position to succeed.

Regardless of who gets the ball on March 26, the A's will not be short on options.

Melvin said his bullpens have been great.