A’s & River Cats Roster Outlook

Scott Kazmir - the A's $22 million dollar man

Scott Kazmir – the $22 million dollar man

It appears that most of the A’s off-season work is done. The team has found capable replacements for departing free agents Bartolo Colon, Grant Balfour and Chris Young and filled a few other holes as well. It’s possible that someone like Alberto Callaspo, who’s set to earn close to $5 million and doesn’t have a full-time position, could still end up being traded before spring training is through. It’s possible that a few younger players with major league experience who are out of options like outfielder Michael Taylor or reliever Evan Scribner could be dealt as well. But for the most part, barring any unforeseen injury issues, it looks like the A’s are now holding most of the cards they’ll be playing to start the 2014 season. And it’s becoming increasingly clear who most of the players are that Sacramento River Cats fans can expect to be seeing at Raley Field in 2014 as well.

 

2014 OAKLAND A’S

One area that seems to be most clearly set for the team is the outfield, with Josh Reddick in right, Coco Crisp in center, Yoenis Cespedes in left and newcomer Craig Gentry serving as the fourth outfielder. The left side of the infield will also remain in place for the A’s, with the team’s most valuable player in 2014, Josh Donaldson, manning the hot corner and the team’s best-hitting shortstop in recent memory, Jed Lowrie, returning to shortstop.

The other four positions in the lineup – second base, first base, catcher and designated hitter – are the areas where the A’s will deploy their patented platoons. Free agent infielder Nick Punto is likely to take over for Adam Rosales and Callaspo as Eric Sogard’s platoon partner at second base. And based on manager Bob Melvin’s comments, it seems like that might push Callaspo into the role of Brandon Moss’s platoon partner at first base, which would then push Nate Freiman to Sacramento along with fellow first baseman Daric Barton.

Craig "Kitten Face" Gentry

Craig “Kitten Face” Gentry

Melvin’s recent comments also make it sound like John Jaso is likely to get most of the DH at-bats, replacing the departed Seth Smith in that position, while against left-handers, Craig Gentry would join the lineup in left field with Yoenis Cespedes moving into the DH spot. With Jaso getting most of the DH at-bats, that requires the A’s to carry a third catcher, and that’s most likely to be Stephen Vogt, who got plenty of valuable experience last year down the stretch and in the postseason for the A’s. And his left-handed bat is the perfect complement to righty-swinging backstop Derek Norris, who hit just .149 against right-handed pitching last year.

Basically, Vogt would be replacing Jaso in the catching platoon, just as he did late last year, with Jaso moving out from behind the plate to replace Seth Smith in the DH platoon, while Punto replaces Callaspo in the second base platoon, Callaspo replaces Freiman in the first place platoon and Craig Gentry takes Chris Young’s place in the lineup against left-handers.

As far as the pitching staff goes, the plan seems pretty clear. Free agent lefty Scott Kazmir will take over for Bartolo Colon as the veteran presence in the team’s starting rotation, while young righty Sonny Gray appears set to take lefty Tommy Milone’s spot in the rotation, just as he did late last season, with Jarrod Parker, A.J. Griffin and Dan Straily rounding out the starting five.

Meanwhile, in the bullpen, Jim Johnson will take over for Grant Balfour as the team’s closer, while top-notch setup man Luke Gregerson will take the roster spot that Pat Neshek occupied most of last season and lefty Fernando Abad is likely to take Jerry Blevins’ spot on the left side of the bullpen, with fellow lefty Sean Doolittle and righties Ryan Cook, Jesse Chavez and Dan Otero rounding out the rest of the A’s bullpen – though it’s possible that, since he’s out of options, the team could also decide to have Evan Scribner take Otero’s spot to start the season. The A’s will also likely start the season with two relievers who are both recovering from Tommy John surgery on the disabled list – recently-signed free agent lefty Eric O’Flaherty and righty Fernando Rodriguez, who was acquired from the Astros in the Jed Lowrie deal.

 

2014 SACRAMENTO RIVER CATS

If we make the preceding assumptions about the major league roster, then the River Cats roster starts to fall pretty clearly into place. Of course, there are a few players who are out of options, and it’s quite possible that at least one of them won’t end up clearing waivers.

Daric Barton: Back in River City?

Daric Barton: Back in River City?

The A’s have two veteran minor league catchers to handle the River Cats pitching staff, returning backstop Luke Montz along with Chris Gimenez, who was recently claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay. Meanwhile, the team looks to be overloaded with first basemen, with Daric Barton, Nate Freiman and Anthony Aliotti all looking for playing time – unless the A’s end up trading Callaspo and opening up a roster spot for Freiman as Brandon Moss’s platoon partner. If not, there could still be plenty of playing time to be found for all three between the first base and the designated hitter spot.

Returning River Cat Andy Parrino appears to be set at shortstop. Hiro Nakajima is likely to get the majority of starts at third base while also picking up at-bats at other positions around the infield, while free agent signees Jose Martinez and Alden Carrithers should get most of the playing time at second base. Shane Peterson is set to return to Sacramento’s outfield, along with Jake Goebbert and, if they clear waivers, veteran minor leaguers Michael Taylor and Corey Brown (who was recently designated for assignment).

The River Cats should have plenty of worthy contenders for their starting rotation. If the A’s other five starters are all healthy to start the season, then Tommy Milone is likely to anchor Sacramento’s starting five, along with recently-acquired righty Josh Lindblom and lefty Drew Pomeranz. Returning River Cats Andrew Werner and Arnold Leon will also be competing for a spot as well as free agent signees Phil Humber and Matt Buschmann, with those don’t make the rotation starting the season in the River Cats bullpen. If he clears waivers, they’re likely to be joined there by Evan Scribner, along with returning River Cats Paul Smyth and Fernando Nieve and free agent signees Deryk Hooker and Jose Flores as well as Triple-A Rule 5 draftee Tim Atherton.

So that’s how things seem to be shaping up for both the A’s and the River Cats, assuming everyone clears waivers and Billy Beane doesn’t have any last-minute surprises up his sleeve!

Click here to see the projected 2014 A’s and River Cats rosters…

 

PROJECTED 2014 OAKLAND A’S ROSTER

John Jaso

John Jaso

–CATCHERS–

John Jaso C/DH

Stephen Vogt C

Derek Norris C

–INFIELDERS–

Josh Donaldson 3B

Jed Lowrie SS

Eric Sogard 2B

Nick Punto 2B/SS/3B

Brandon Moss 1B

Alberto Callaspo 1B/2B/3B

–OUTFIELDERS–

Josh Reddick OF

Coco Crisp OF

Yoenis Cespedes OF/DH

Craig Gentry OF

Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray

–STARTERS–

Scott Kazmir LHP

Jarrod Parker RHP

A.J. Griffin RHP

Dan Straily RHP

Sonny Gray RHP

–RELIEVERS–

Jim Johnson RHP

Luke Gregerson RHP

Ryan Cook RHP

Dan Otero RHP

Jesse Chavez RHP

Sean Doolittle LHP

Fernando Abad LHP

–DISABLED LIST–

Eric O’Flaherty LHP

Fernando Rodriguez RHP

 

PROJECTED 2014 SACRAMENTO RIVER CATS ROSTER

Luke Montz

Luke Montz

–HITTERS–

Chris Gimenez C

Luke Montz C

Daric Barton 1B

Nate Freiman 1B

Anthony Aliotti 1B

Andy Parrino SS

Hiro Nakajima 3B-SS-2B

Jose Martinez 2B-SS-3B

Alden Carrithers 2B-3B-OF

Corey Brown OF (cleared waivers and elected free agency)

Michael Taylor OF

Shane Peterson OF

Jake Goebbert OF

Drew Pomeranz

Drew Pomeranz

–PITCHERS–

Tommy Milone LHP

Drew Pomeranz LHP

Josh Lindblom RHP

Andrew Werner LHP

Arnold Leon RHP

Phil Humber RHP

Matt Buschmann RHP

Evan Scribner RHP

Paul Smyth RHP

Fernando Nieve RHP

Tim Atherton RHP

Deryk Hooker RHP

Jose Flores RHP

*     *     *

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9 Comments

I think you pretty well nailed this (barring the ST surprises, or as you noted late Billy B deals). Having fingers crossed at all who will need to clear waiver, too.

But to be honest, I still don’t see Hero at 3rd, which is not a natural spot given his history in Japan. (It was disappointing to see him fail to improve greatly as last year went by.) Third maybe more of a Carrithers-Aliotti-Barton three way platoon as the year starts.

Thanks. Hiro did play more games at 3B than any other position last year though, and he’ll probably see plenty more time there this year as the A’s try to break him in at some positions other than SS to increase his value as a possible utility man.

If Russell has a very good spring is their a chance he will be in Sacramento’s opening day lineup?

Very unlikely. He hasn’t spent any time at AA yet and the A’s have him ticketed for Midland. If he gets off to a good start there though, he should find his way to Sacramento before long.

I know you paid good money to go see the Yankees and to watch Chamberlain pitch like that is really futrrsating, but yelling and booing and saying nasty things as a guy comes off the field isn’t going to help him do better next time, if anything it will only tear someone with a great future down.

A’s Best Defense & Offense
C Voight/Norris
1B Moss/Frieman
2b Sogard/Punto
SS Punto/Lowrie
3B Punto/Donaldson
LF Reddick/Cespedes
CF Reddick/Crisp
RF Moss/Gentry
DH Jaso/Callaspo
Notes:
- BB/Melvin may prefer Barton/Frieman back at 1B & Moss @ 1B & DH if Jaso has a weak spring
- Callaspo as the savy batter providing righty half of DH is more productive than Cespedes time as DH.
- Agressiveness or lack of it at the plate could make or break Jaso’s Spring.

Notes:
– BB/Melvin may prefer Barton/Frieman back at 1B & Moss @ RF & DH if Jaso has a weak spring

I don’t think that Taylor nor Barton will clear waivers!

Well, Corey Brown already didn’t make it through waivers, but Barton did clear waivers twice last year.

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