Tanner Roark

Why A's likely won't bring back pitcher Tanner Roark for 2020 MLB season

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USATSI

Why A's likely won't bring back pitcher Tanner Roark for 2020 MLB season

Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine 10 A's players who may or may not return to Oakland next season. For each player, we will provide reasons why the A's should bring him back and reasons why they should not, followed by a final determination.

Tanner Roark, RHP

Contract: Free agent (earned $10 million this season)

Reasons to bring him back

Roark got off to a terrific start with the A's, but staggered to a disappointing finish. The 33-year-old went 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA in his first six outings wearing green and gold. However, he was just 1-2 with an 8.35 ERA in his last four starts.

Overall, Roark posted a 4-3 record and a 4.58 ERA in 10 starts with Oakland. The right-hander finished the 2019 season with a 10-10 mark and a 4.35 ERA in 31 starts between the A's and Reds, certainly serviceable numbers.

Roark was also a natural fit in the A's clubhouse, almost immediately bonding with his new teammates. By the end of the season, he was one of the more popular players on the team.

Reasons to let him go

At 33 years old, Roark's prime is clearly behind him. He hasn't posted a sub-four ERA since 2016 and his WHIP has steadily increased over the past few seasons.

With the A's starting rotation likely to feature Jesús Luzardo, Frankie Montas, Sean Manaea, Mike Fiers, and A.J. Puk, not to mention Chris Bassitt also in the mix, Roark probably wouldn't have much of an opportunity to make an impact. Throw in a hefty price tag and it wouldn't make a ton of sense to bring him back.

Final verdict

It would be surprising to see Roark back in green and gold next season unless he desperately wants to return and would take a low salary. That seems unlikely, especially with numerous teams still looking for quality starters.

[RELATED: A's stay or go candidate for 2020 season: Homer Bailey]

Roark probably won't get the $10 million he earned last year, but he could very well see something close to that number. With a stable of young starting pitchers, the A's has no real reason to re-sign an expensive veteran just for depth purposes. Look for Roark to sign elsewhere this offseason.

Tanner Roark pitching his way out of A's potential MLB playoff rotation

Tanner Roark pitching his way out of A's potential MLB playoff rotation

OAKLAND -- Tanner Roark got off to a great start with the A's after coming over from Cincinnati in a July 31 trade. The right-hander went 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA in his first six starts with Oakland.

Unfortunately for Roark, his last three starts have been a completely different story. The 32-year-old has allowed 14 earned runs in 14 1/3 innings for an ERA of 8.79.

Sunday's outing against the Rangers was Roark's worst of the season. He surrendered a career-high four home runs and gave up five earned runs in just three innings, as Texas breezed to an 8-3 win.

"(This loss) is on me," Roark said after the game. "It was a rough outing altogether. (They were) putting good swings on bad pitches. I left the ball over the plate a lot of times and when you do that in this league, they get hit hard and they get hit far."

A's manager Bob Melvin offered insight into what happened to Roark.

"They were just on him early," Melvin said. "A lot of times, when you have a chance (against) a good starter, it's early in the game. They got him before he could get into his rhythm and hit some balls out of the ballpark. ... It doesn't minimize our feeling about Tanner. He's been great for us."

While that may have been true last month, it's not quite the case anymore. In nine starts with the A's, Roark has a 4.50 ERA. At this point, he seems unlikely to be in the starting rotation if Oakland reaches the American League Division Series, especially considering how well the team's other starters have pitched.

Sean Manaea and Mike Fiers have been excellent, while Homer Bailey has looked phenomenal in his last seven starts. That likely leaves Roark, Brett Anderson, and Chris Bassitt battling for the No. 4 job.

[RELATED: How Melvin will utilize bullpen down stretch]

Even if the A's elect to keep Bassitt in the bullpen, Anderson has been far more consistent than Roark, allowing three earned runs or fewer in six straight starts.

The A's still have six games remaining in the regular season, which means Roark might get one more chance to make a better statement. But as of now, he has to be the odd man out.

A's vs. Rangers lineups: Tanner Roark looks for first win over Texas

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A's vs. Rangers lineups: Tanner Roark looks for first win over Texas

Although today is the final regular-season home game for the A’s, it likely won’t be the last time fans will get a chance to see Oakland play at the Coliseum.

With six games to go, the A’s are two games ahead of Tampa Bay for the top spot in the Wild Card standings and would be in line to host the game if the season ended today.

Tanner Roark gets the start for Oakland. The right-hander never has beaten the Rangers despite maintaining an impressive 2.25 ERA in three starts vs. Texas.

Opposite Roark will be Lance Lynn, who has been dominant in 2019. Lynn is third among AL pitchers with 6.7 wins above replacement.

Coverage begins at 12:30 PT with A’s Pregame Live, available on NBC Sports California and streaming in the MyTeams App.

[RELATED: How Bob Melvin plans to utilize A's inconsistent bullpen going forward]

Here are the lineups for A’s-Rangers:

Texas Rangers (74-81)
DH Shin-Soo Choo
3B Danny Santana
LF Willie Calhoun
RF Nomar Mazara
2B Rougned Odor 
SS Elvis Andrus
1B Ronald Guzman
CF Delino DeShields
C Jose Trevino

RHP Lance Lynn (14-11, 3.77 ERA)
 
Oakland A's (94-61)
SS Marcus Semien
3B Matt Chapman
1B Matt Olson
CF Mark Canha 
LF Seth Brown 
DH Khris Davis
2B Jurickson Profar
C Sean Murphy
RF Robbie Grossman

RHP Tanner Roark (10-8, 4.12 ERA)