The 25-man Roster Takes Shape

By Jason Wojciechowski on March 29, 2014 at 8:10 PM

Nico at Athletics Nation helpfully writes out the 25-man roster based on beat writer tweets and so forth about the last round of cuts and moves needed to give final shape to the roster in advance of Monday's opener against ... wait, what. Cleveland? WHERE'S SEATTLE. THE A'S ALWAYS OPEN AGAINST SEATTLE. WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS BULLSHIT.

Okay! In any event, nothing has changed since I last looked at the probable roster. The A's did indeed designate Michael Taylor for assignment, and hopefully they're able to trade him before they have to waive him and thereby get nothing back when he's claimed, and they went with Drew Pomeranz over Joe Savery for the last open spot in the bullpen.

Ryan Cook and Craig Gentry will both hopefully be available at the minimum, which is five days into the season. At that point, Sam Fuld will be DFA'd because he is out of options. (The commenters at the AN piece linked above seem confused on this point. Fuld will not be sticking around unless he passes through waivers. Which isn't a foregone conclusion! He's a fourth/fifth outfielder type, someone who can play defense but not necessarily hit like you want a starter to hit. A quality 23rd man on the roster, but five days into the season, is anyone going to be willing to make room on their 25-man to add him?)

One interesting question is what happens with Ryan Cook. The A's have three lefties in the bullpen right now (Doolittle, Abad, Pomeranz), so maybe they can afford to let one roll out when Cook comes back. On the other hand, especially after the spring he had, the A's might be higher on Pomeranz than they are on Evan Scribner. The righty-to-righty replacement of Scribner with Cook might make more sense.

On the other other hand, if another starting pitcher gets hurt, it would be nice to have Pomeranz stretched out and ready to step in. So it will be interesting to see whether Pomeranz making the opening day roster is essentially just a five-day reward for having a good spring, after which he will join the Sacramento rotation, or whether Arnold Leon will serve as the team's sixth starter in the event of disaster prior to the return of A.J. Griffin.

Having Leon as your sixth (really eighth, but sixth for now) starter isn't a terrible problem to have -- he posted a 4:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio between Double- and Triple-A last season. Here's what Jason Parks said about him in November in calling him a "factor on the farm" (i.e. a non-top-10 prospect who might contribute at the major-league level in 2014):

... Leon has a chance to contribute to the major-league bullpen in 2014, most likely in middle/long relief. He lacks impact stuff, but can fill up the zone with a low-mid-90s fastball that should play up a bit in bursts.

Sure, that essentially sounds like Dan Otero but, again, he's the eighth/sixth starter. The Angels' equivalent is, like, Jarrett Grube? He's 32 and hasn't pitched in the majors yet :( So like I said, it's not so bad.


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