It's barely even March, and the bullpen is already crumbling before our very eyes. To wit:
Evan Scribner and Ryan Cook will miss time with lat issues. No timetable yet, "They will be behind" said Servais.— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) March 7, 2016
I don't know what they did to these gentlemen in Oakland, but this is clearly a case of sabotage by Bill Beane and Co.
Bob Dutton has a bit more about a potential timeline, noting that lat injuries often take a six week recovery, but the club believes it should be less for at least Scribner due to catching the injury before it got too serious. Scribner came into spring with a virtual lock on a spot in the revamped 'pen, so one assumes that if he has to start the season on the DL that he'll have the chance to rejoin the squad once healthy. Cook, on the other hand, was fighting for a job, and this injury will all but eliminate his chance of making the Opening Day 25.
These injuries open the door for Justin De Fratus to secure his spot in the bullpen, and for folks like Jonathan Aro, Cody Martin, and Blake Parker to push their way onto the roster. Parker, while a favorite of mine and an undervalued reliever, is a long-shot, as the club would need to open up a 40-man spot.
There's still plenty of options to fill the 'pen and plenty of time for them to battle, but the competition just became a little more important. Even though the two ailing righties may only miss limited time to start the year, each game counts the same, and having sub-optimal options available is not a good way to kick off a promising season.