Since pitchers and catchers report today, I thought I would make a list of concerns.
1-Tillman isn't up to par. Now out of options. What happens?
2-Hammel, Chen and Gonzalez have an assortment of command or health issues.
3-Matusz and Arrieta are forced into the rotation because other arms aren't healthy.
4-Britton loses his ability to get ground balls.
Technically there are I believe eight guys competing for five rotation spots (Hammel, Chen, Tillman, Gonzalez, Britton, Arrieta, Matusz and Johnson). As we all know a great number of things can and will go wrong throughout the season. What seems most important early on is consistency early. Or, avoiding a rash of issues all at once. Last season they had a ton of different guys make starts. Hopefully the need is not quite so great this season.
I'm hoping that if Arrieta and Matusz don't make the rotation and get to start the season in Norfolk and regain some status as starting pitchers. I frankly do not want to see them in the pen again. I would have Zach Britton
be our #5 guy. He isn't flashy but a ground ball machine is valuable. It need not be flashy, just competitive. Though I should say I wouldn't count Steve Johnson
out. He's a hard worker and done pretty well at everything that has been asked of him.
I suspect the sluggish or unappealing trade offers the team fielded last winter get a tad better as the trade deadline approaches. With Dylan Bundy
and Kevin Gausmann to consider in the near and not so near future the team likely will consider a move. The original cavalry of Tillman, Arrieta and Matusz are appearing more likely to become targets. If Bundy really is close to being ready for the rotation near the end of the season then it's possible two get moved. If not, we can wait.