Dan Straily entered the 2013 season as the sixth-best starting pitcher in the Oakland A's organization, so he was first in line to be called up to the show when Brett Anderson went down with an injury.
Straily has not been able to keep a hold on that job though and he has been sent down to Triple-A Sacramento after lasting less than five innings in his last two starts. On the season, Straily has a 5.00 ERA and his 53 strikeouts rank second among American League rookies.
There will now be a lot of speculation as to what Bob Melvin and the rest of his coaching staff will do with the empty roster spot. With Straily gone, the A's have only four starting pitchers, so common sense would lead us to believe that a fifth starter would be called up to have a normal five-man rotation.
Looking at the A's upcoming schedule, they have three days off from June 24th to July 1st. With those days off to rest the pitchers, the A's would be just fine having only four starters for the next week.
Pitching is what the A's do best. Hitting, on the other hand, could use some help so the A's could call up a position player for the next week.
In the farm system, the A's have Grant Green who has bounced around the field on defense in the minors but seems to have settled down as a second baseman. He can also play shortstop, as well as several other positions.
In 69 games at Triple-A Sacramento this year, Green is hitting with a .309 average as well as a nice .370 on-base percentage. Those offensive numbers could certainly compete with Adam Rosales and Eric Sogard for playing time, although Green's numbers would likely drop with the raised level of competition.
So if Green or any other position player were called up, they would likely be sent down to make room for a fifth starting pitcher next week to return the rotation to normal. Green could certainly impress the coaches and general manager Billy Beane enough to keep a roster spot while another bench player like Rosales or Sogard get sent down.
The bottom line is that a fifth starter would be called up to the A's rotation. Straily could possibly get his job back or the A's could look at another prospect.
Which prospect is more likely to be called up?
Sonny Gray, Oakland's first-round draft pick in 2011 with the 18th overall selection, is having a solid season at Triple-A with a 7-5 record and a 2.85 ERA to go with it. He also boasts 90 K's to go with just 29 walks.
The A's showed off their quality pitching depth last year as part of their playoff run. Last year it was Straily who came up from the minors and kept Oakland's great pitching rotation going strong. This year, it could be Gray who is called up midseason to keep the A's pitching on track.
The A's don't need to announce a corresponding roster move until Tuesday night, when the Cincinnati Reds come to town for a brief two-game series. Until first-pitch in that series, let the speculation begin.