Running down the rosters: Oakland Athletics
At least to the outside eye, it seems like the A’s have lacked a plan since they shipped off Matt Holliday after 93 games in 2009. It finally appeared that they were going for a full rebuild this winter, but after trading Trevor Cahill, Andrew Bailey and Gio Gonzalez, they re-signed Coco Crisp for $14 million, added Bartolo Colon, Seth Smith and Jonny Gomes and flirted with over-the-hill designated hitters like Manny Ramirez and Magglio Ordonez. The drive for 75 wins appears on.
Brandon McCarthy - R
Bartolo Colon - R
Tom Milone - L
Tyson Ross - R
Graham Godfrey - R
Grant Balfour - R
Brian Fuentes - L
Fautino De Los Santos - R
Joey Devine - R
Jerry Blevins - L
Ryan Cook - R
Jordan Norberto - L
Disabled list: Brett Anderson (L), Dallas Braden (L)
SP next in line: Jarrod Parker (R), Brad Peacock (R), Sonny Gray (R)
RP next in line: Neil Wagner (R), Andrew Carignan (R), Travis Schlichting (L), Edgar Gonzalez (R), Evan Scribner (R)
Not only did the A’s shed Cahill and Gonzalez, but they traded two more guys who would have fit into their projected rotation for a platoon outfielder in Smith. It wasn’t necessarily a bad move -- I like Josh Outman, but I doubt Guillermo Moscoso would have remained an asset as a starter -- but it’s left the A’s without any experienced depth here.
I penciled in Ross and Godfrey at the bottom of the rotation, but Parker and Peacock should have opportunities to win jobs. The A’s might be better off with Ross in the bullpen anyway.
The A’s figure to add a reliever or two prior to Opening Day. There isn’t much left in free agency now, but there should be some intriguing out-of-options arms available before the end of March.
2B Jemile Weeks - S
CF Coco Crisp - S
LF Seth Smith - L
C Kurt Suzuki - R
RF Josh Reddick - L
3B Scott Sizemore - R
DH Brandon Allen - L
1B Daric Barton - L
SS Cliff Pennington - S
C Landon Powell - R
INF Adam Rosales - R
OF Jonny Gomes - R
OF Collin Cowgill - R
Next in line: C Josh Donaldson (R), C Anthony Recker (R), 1B Kila Ka’aihue (L), 1B Chris Carter (R), INF Eric Sogard (L), OF Jermaine Mitchell (L), OF Michael Taylor (R), OF Jason Pridie (L)
I think it’s probably best for the A’s to stick with what they have now and try to figure out if Barton and Allen belong in their long-term plans. Still, it’s not hard to see why they’d want to have a Manny Ramirez in there. Putting a strong right-handed hitter in the cleanup spot would make the whole lineup look better. Suzuki could then hit sixth, with Sizemore in the eighth spot.
The only position battle in the starting lineup should be at DH, though a bad spring from Barton could open up first base. Barring an addition, Allen will compete with Gomes, Ka’aihue and Carter at DH. Gomes will certainly play against lefties, and that should be good enough for him. Gowgill should also start against lefties in place of Smith or Reddick.
The backup catcher gig is up for grabs, with Donaldson and Recker challenging Powell, who was bumped off the 40-man roster earlier this winter.
I’d like to see Sogard get a chance to overtake Rosales for the utility infield spot, but I’m not sure that will happen on day one.