Braden says A's starters could be bright spot in 2021 season

Jesus Luzardo

We’re going to do the best we can to make A’s fans feel better after a week of … well, we’re just going to try. 

As it sits right now, the A’s starting rotation in 2021 looks really promising.

A’s manager Bob Melvin said during winter meetings Jesús Luzardo will be at the top of the rotation this year.

And by the looks of it, if the A's have a squad where Sean Manaea is rounding it out, that could only mean positive things.

“The dude can get it done,” Dallas Braden said about Manaea this week on Balk Talk.

So can Chris Bassitt, as he proved last season. He went from a guy vying for a rotation spot to being the most dependable starter on the team down the stretch. A 2.29 ERA in 11 starts made him a pillar in the rotation. 

“Chris Bassitt -- that dude right there -- you take that kind of leadership, in that rotation -- and when I say leadership, I mean Bassitt a year ago was a guy who would probably be asking more questions than delivering more answers," Braden said. "He’s probably still closer to that guy than he is the one divulging all of these great tidbits, but he’s a year older.”

Bassitt’s success last year could play a big factor in the overall success of the rotation, Braden added.

“It has nothing to do with him being older or being that leader,” Braden said. “You got guys like [Frankie] Montas who for all intent and purposes could be anyone’s one or two across the league when he’s right. Isn’t it crazy how it feels like Sean Manaea has taken a backseat in this rotation?


“I have the utmost confidence in this rotation to be able to get this team off on the right foot." 

In addition to Manaea, Luzardo, Bassitt and Montas, the A’s pitching staff could feature A.J. Puk who, despite some setbacks in his journey to the bigs, is on the right timeline to return around spring training. The 25-year-old underwent shoulder surgery in September.

He looks to join the rotation in 2021, but Melvin did say he’s aware Puk is capable of any role.

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The left-hander pitched in 11 1/3 innings of relief during the 2019 season and posted a 3.18 ERA with 13 strikeouts. 

As far as the farm system goes, the A’s have strong arms in Daulton Jefferies, James Kaprielian and Grant Holmes, who all were mentioned by general manager David Forst. He said the trio could have a significant impact on the 2021 season.

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