The bullpen for the Oakland Athletics was supposed to be their strongest asset. After a third of the season has passed us by, it has become clear that the bullpen is probably the biggest issue for the team.
The bullpen may have a great ERA, but looks can be deceiving. The timing of the runs that are allowed have cost the team a lot of wins. If the bullpen was as good as they were supposed to be, the Athletics would have the best record in baseball right now.
The team needs some changes in the bullpen. Ryan Cook will be coming back soon, probably within a week. But the Athletics have another arm coming soon. Real soon. Eric O’Flaherty. He is about to undergo a 20 day rehabilitation assignment. That puts him on track to return in late June.
Eric O’Flaherty coming into the bullpen should give this bullpen just what it needs, and would hopefully give them a boost.
With O’Flaherty and Cook coming up, it also gives the Athletics a chance to enforce their bullpen by removing the weak links and replacing them with better pitching.
Whoever is not performing up to expectations such as Jim Johnson, can be demoted to triple-A to work on their stuff, while the better pitchers such as Cook and O’Flaherty can come up and perform better in their place.
If anyone still wants to give a chance to guys like Jim Johnson, then the latest possible time any of the bad pitchers in the bullpen should be allowed to stay is up until the All-Star break. If anyone in the bullpen still hasn’t found a way to figure things out, the half way mark is more than long enough of a chance. If a pitcher has remained on the team for half a season and still isn’t producing or getting good results, then his job should be given to someone who can, such as O’Flaherty.
Overall, what Ryan Cook and Eric O’Flaherty represent is hope and change for this bullpen, one that has been struggling and is ready for some turnover.