The "final" roster

By Jason Wojciechowski on March 30, 2013 at 5:18 PM

Opening Day (for the A's) is Monday and the roster is finally set. The guys who were always going to make the team, barring injury, have made the team:

Brett Anderson
Jarrod Parker
Tom Milone
A.J. Griffin

Ryan Cook
Sean Doolittle

John Jaso
Derek Norris

Josh Donaldson
Jed Lowrie
Brandon Moss

Yoenis Cespedes
Coco Crisp
Josh Reddick
Seth Smith
Chris Young

The guy who was a near-lock to make the team but still probably be sent to Triple-A Sacramento upon the return from suspension of Bartolo Colon made the team:

Dan Straily

The guy who was added via waivers very late in spring but who fits as a natural platoon first baseman because he bats righty and Brandon Moss bats lefty made the team:

Nate Freiman

The guy who had knee surgery early in the spring and who thus could have missed Opening Day if he'd had any setbacks made the team:

Grant Balfour

Three out-of-options relievers made the tip, as you'd completely expect them to if you've followed the A's for any length of time:

Pat Neshek
Jerry Blevins
Chris Resop

A righty who had a surprisingly good year out of the bullpen pitching in low-leverage situations made the team:

Evan Scribner

And finally, the second base situation shook out this way:

Scott Sizemore
Eric Sogard

Rosters are fluid things, so none of this is in any way, shape, or form permanent. For instance:

Jemile Weeks remains on the 40-man roster, so if he tears up Sacramento and Sizemore struggles, we could see Weeks up in the starting lineup and Sogard in a normal backup role.

If a confluence of events results in a hole at third base, you could see Grant Green up from Sacramento to fill it. Suppose that Josh Donaldson strikes out in 45 percent of his plate appearances and Jed Lowrie is either hurt or otherwise occupied as the everyday starter at short, for instance. Eric Sogard or Andy Parrino could play third, and the A's also have Scott Moore in Triple-A, but if Green is hitting, they might give him the shot (especially since Moore is not on the 40-man.)

An injury to either Derek Norris or John Jaso would presumably have Luke Montz coming to Oakland, though he is also not on the 40-man and thus would require a cut somewhere else. (It's interesting that the A's are running with just two catchers on the 40, by the way.)

The outfield has the built-in depth of Seth Smith at designated hitter and Chris Young sort of roving all over, but if the A's need to move past that group, that's another way we could see Green in the majors. Alternatively, Shane Peterson and Michael Taylor are still hanging around, though I'd be infinitely more interested in the former getting a shot.

The bullpen ... well, who knows. No team runs with the same seven hurlers all year, so it's a mortal lock that we'll see Jordan Norberto at some point, and probably Pedro Figueroa too. Maybe even Arnold Leon. And then there's Jesse Chavez, Danny Otero, and Josh Stinson, about whom, uh. If you want your list of "most likely to be DFA'd by the end of the year," well, there you have it. Anyway, Hideki Okajima and Mike Ekstrom will be waiting as well. They're not on the 40-man, but if they pitch their way into contention, the A's won't let Danny Otero stand in the way.

What's perhaps more interesting is what happens when three particular players make it back:

Least interesting is Bartolo Colon, who will join the rotation after one trip through and send Dan Straily to Triple-A.

Second least interesting is Hiroyuki Nakajima. He struggled all spring and then got hurt. I'd put the odds at upwards of 90 percent that Nakajima is optioned to the minors as soon as his rehabilitation assignment is over. Down the line, you could see him hit his way back to the majors in Eric Sogard's roster spot (though not necessarily his position in the order of things—I still hold out hope that Nakajima will be the everyday shortstop at some point).

Third least interesting is Adam Rosales, though it's a big gap. He's right-handed, so he doesn't fit as a platoon partner with Scott Sizemore the way that Eric Sogard does. (Nor could he platoon effectively with Josh Donaldson for the same reason.) He's out of options, though, so I have to imagine he's making this team whenever he heals up. If an injury happens in the meantime, it's easy. (Unless that injury results in Jemile Weeks being recalled and tearing the league up. That's one of them good problems to have.) If no injury happens, then it presumably depends on performance in the meantime. If Sizemore isn't playing well, they can send him to Triple-A and have Rosales platoon with Sogard. If Sizemore is playing well, then Sogard can get demoted and Rosales can be a standard utility infielder to a Sizemore-Lowrie-Donaldson everyday infield.

How you fit Rosales and Nakajima on the roster if Sizemore plays well is something of a struggle. I've assigned Eric Sogard's spot to each of them in the above exercise, you'll note. If Nakajima is playing well enough to be a major-league asset and Sizemore is back to his 2011 self and Josh Donaldson hasn't whiffed himself into oblivion and Jed Lowrie is still in one piece, then I think the A's will wind up designating Rosales for assignment. He's a useful player and full of fun when he hits homers, but he's not so useful that you keep him over Nakajima if the latter is hitting. Hell, he might even be useful enough to actually return value in a trade or at least be claimed on waivers so that the A's don't have to pay the remainder of his salary. Maybe that's wishcasting.

Okay! Questions?

Jason, what about Andrew Werner?

Leave me alone, I've had enough.

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