By Jason Wojciechowski on April 27, 2016 at 11:14 AM

Eric Surkamp got sent down and replaced by Andrew Triggs, who got sent down and replaced by third catcher Matt McBride (don't get me started), and word is now that Sean Manaea will come up to start Friday in Surkamp's spot. Eric Sogard is a good option to make 40-man-roster room by moving to the 60-day disabled list.

As for the 25-man, I'd guess Tyler Ladendorf gets optioned, mainly because it doesn't make sense to me to call up an outfielder/third catcher (so that you can play Josh Phegley at catcher and Stephen Vogt at DH) for just two days. That seems like the kind of move you'd commit to for a while, not something you'd give Bob Melvin as an option only to take away as soon as you need your fifth starter again. Ladendorf, as I noted previously, doesn't have any obvious starts to make as the A's face a slew of right-handed starters, and the only guy I'd use him to pinch-hit for is Yonder Alonso, and I'd rather use Mark Canha for that. Sure, Ladendorf is the backup shortstop, but as Earl Weaver said, you keep your backup shortstop at Triple-A. Jed Lowrie can play there in a pinch or to give Marcus Semien a day off, and in a true emergency, you can stick Chris Coghlan there for an inning or six. (If both of your shortstops get hurt in the same game, you've got bigger problems than Coghlan's ability to flag down a ball in the hole while playing shortstop for the first time in his professional life.)

The roster machinations will be what they are, though, so I'd like to close with this: MANAEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

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By Jason Wojciechowski on April 22, 2016 at 5:52 PM

Tyler Ladendorf has been recalled from Triple-A to replace Danny Valencia, who has hit the DL. Word is that Valencia shouldn't be out much more than the minimum, so there was no reason to make a move that required adding and subtracting from the 40-man roster, so Ladendorf was the obvious move as a multi-position player (shortstop and center field this season; every position but first base and catcher last year in Nashville) who isn't really a prospect―calling up Renato Nunez to fill in would have been interesting, but his grand total of Triple-A plate appearances is 48 and he's at least theoretically got a future as a starter, so you don't want to disrupt his development; sooorrrrta the same story for Joey Wendle, with the additional problem being that so far he's only a second baseman. There's also Max Muncy, but his .206/.268/.392 line in the majors last year (which is actually a pretty nice ISO now that I think about it; also it's only 112 PAs) probably left the A's figuring it's time to give someone else a shot, particularly because the only reason Ladendorf only had 18 major-league PAs in 2015 is because he got hurt.

With the right-handed Aaron Sanchez on the mound tonight, the obvious thing was to start Chris Coghlan at third base, with Jed Lowrie maintaining his usual second-base slot. Assuming Valencia is ready to come back around May 8, tomorrow, when the Blue Jays start J.A. Happ, is the only obvious time the righty-swinging Ladendorf would start. The A's opposing probables from Sunday on out, taken from ESPN.com through May 6, go like this:

Drew Hutchison
Jordan Zimmermann
Mike Pelfrey
Justin Verlander
Anibal Sanchez
Mike Fiers
Scott Feldman
Doug Fister
Nate Karns
Hisashi Iwakuma
Felix Hernandez
Kevin Gausman
Ubaldo Jimenez
Chris Tillman

It's going to be a weird time not only for Ladendorf but potentially for Mark Canha (four starts, three against lefties) and Billy Butler (six starts, four against lefties) as well. Bob Melvin has to manage the energy levels of his players and can't just start lefty/righty lineups like it's a Diamond Mind simulation, but, with all due respect to Ladendorf, I hope he doesn't throw him a start or two out of some sense of keeping him engaged. Canha, Butler you can justify treating that way because you expect them to be on your roster all year and expect to need them. Ladendorf is in a different position and will just be optioned back to Triple-A in two weeks, so, while again noting that Lowrie or Coghlan may need a day off somewhere in the next two weeks and that's fine, there's a way in which I'm hoping Ladendorf gets something in the range of 10 plate appearances on this trip to Oakland.

EDIT 4/23/16: Ladendorf is not in the lineup today against J.A. Happ. Let's revise that plate appearance estimate down to five over the next 15 days.

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By Jason Wojciechowski on April 6, 2016 at 12:13 PM

Just to record my thoughts on game two of the season:

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By Jason Wojciechowski on April 4, 2016 at 10:12 PM

Opening Day (pt. two) thoughts:

  • The A's have a bullpen!
  • Chris Sale is too good for the starter to have such a garbage game.
  • Rich Hill was an interesting risk at $6 million and you can't write someone off based on spring training plus one narrative-affirming start, particularly when that start comes as a last-minute fill-in for the guy who was supposed to start, but gosh it's hard not to get apocalyptic about Hill's spot in the rotation right now. I think we're all kind of expecting Sean Manaea to make his debut this summer, and the most obvious spots, from the perspective of three weeks ago, for him to do so would have been for Kendall Graveman or Chris Bassitt. Now, with Hill a giant shruggy emoticon every five days, Felix Doubront hurt, and Jesse Hahn's sinker missing in action (if not quite yet presumed dead), not to mention that Henderson Alvarez is a huge question mark coming back from a shoulder injury, the question is less "where's Manaea going to fit?" than "when are Dillon Overton and Casey Meisner going to be ready?"
  • But hey, at least that bullpen!
  • Billy Butler hit the ball hard a couple of times. There were stories that I didn't read this spring about something or other he was doing or going to do that would lead to his revival. I don't read those stories because they're written about every player who had a bad year and it's all just #narrative hoping for a good outcome. Sometimes it happens, usually it doesn't. Did tonight's game confirm the #narrative? Or is it a repeat of last year, when Butler was scorching the ball in the early going? (If I remember correctly, he was among the league leaders in exit velocity through the first month or so.) You don't want to know my guess.
  • Khris Davis has some strong-ass arms, I tell you what. When there's an instant replay of his swing and you see all his muscles, it's very impressive. Strong-ass arms.
  • Mark Canha should have come off the bag, conceding first base to prevent an additional run from scoring in the third inning.
  • The David Robertson pitch that struck Chris Coghlan out in the ninth was either flat-out perfect or not a strike. Nothing to be done on Coghlan's end. Robertson's a top-flight closer for a reason.

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By Jason Wojciechowski on April 1, 2016 at 4:37 PM

As I run a service-oriented blog, I thought I'd do you a quick service and run down the ex-A's (minor- and major-league) who will be on (or appear to be on) 25-man rosters (and disabled lists) around the league. I will probably miss somebody -- you know where to find me if I do.

  • Padres (5.1): Derek Norris is the starting catcher; Brett Wallace and Jemile Weeks appear to have bench roles; Tyson Ross and Drew Pomeranz are in the rotation, the former as the Opening Day starter; and Jabari Blash, who the A's picked in this year's Rule 5 draft from the Mariners before trading him to San Diego in the Yonder Alonso deal, has made the team as a reserve outfielder
  • Cubs (5): Ben Zobrist will be the every-day second baseman; Addison Russell will be his partner in the middle infield; Jon Lester and Jason Hammel remain in the starting rotation; and Trevor Cahill will pitch in middle relief
  • Dodgers (5): Scott Kazmir will be in the starting rotation; Joe Blanton somehow still has a career in the bullpen; and Andre Ethier, Brett Anderson, and Brandon McCarthy will all start the year on the disabled list
  • Angels (4.5): Yunel Escobar, if four days in the winter counts, will be at third base; Geovany Soto is the backup catcher; Cliff Pennington is the utility infielder; Craig Gentry will split left field with Daniel Nava; and Huston Street is still the closer
  • Mariners (4.05): Nelson Cruz is the DH; Seth Smith will play at least part time in right field; Ryan Cook and Evan Scribner will start the year on the DL; and don't forget that the A's won Hisashi Iwakuma's rights before the Mariners did
  • Blue Jays (4): Josh Donaldson remains the third baseman and MVP candidate -- sigh; Edwin Encarnacion will DH; Jesse Chavez is a middle reliever; and Arnold Leon will apparently pitch out the bullpen as well
  • Astros (3): Luke Gregerson has been bumped back to his longtime setup spot by the acquisition of Ken Giles; Pat Neshek also has a bullpen role; and Max Stassi will start the year on the DL
  • Brewers (3): Chris Carter will start at first base; Colin Walsh, who was taken from Oakland in the Rule 5 draft, should have a bench role; and Sean Nolin, who they picked up on waivers, will start the year on the disabled list
  • Indians (3): Rajai Davis is in left field; Collin Cowgill will be a bench/platoon outfielder; and Dan Otero is a middle reliever
  • Mets (3): Yoenis Cespedes will be the every-day center fielder; Bartolo Colon has a place in the rotation at least until Zack Wheeler returns; and Jerry Blevins will take his usual role in middle relief
  • Twins (3): Kurt Suzuki is the starting catcher; Tommy Milone has a rotation spot; and Fernando Abad should pitch in middle relief
  • Cardinals (2): Matt Holliday remains in left field; and Brandon Moss appears not to be an every-day starter but should see time at first and in the outfield;
  • Diamondbacks (2): Brad Ziegler is the closer and Tyler Clippard is a setup man, so you can safely stay away from Arizona games until the eighth inning when they're ahead
  • Giants (2): Jeff Samardzija will throw every fifth day; and Santiago Casilla is the closer
  • Nationals (2): Stephen Drew has a bench role behind Anthony Rendon, Daniel Murphy, and Danny Espinosa; and Gio Gonzalez is the no. 2 starter
  • Rangers (2): Colby Lewis is the perpetual third starter; more intriguingly, A.J. Griffin will apparently begin the year as the fifth man, though Yu Darvish should bump him from that spot by June
  • Rays (2): Danny Farquhar is a setup man; and Dana Eveland, for some damn reason, is a middle reliever
  • Braves (1): Eric O'Flaherty was a Pirates NRI traded to Atlanta in a cash deal in March; he should be a middle reliever
  • Marlins (1): Craig Breslow was an NRI and should be a middle reliever
  • Pirates (1): John Jaso will apparently lead off and play first base
  • Reds (1): Dan Straily could start the year in the rotation
  • Red Sox (1): Chris Young will be a platoon outfielder
  • Rockies (1): Carlos Gonzalez is still in right field
  • White Sox (1): Brett Lawrie will start at second base
  • Orioles (0): BOOO
  • Royals (0): BOOOO
  • Phillies (0): I thought Andrew Bailey was going to make this team, but he did not, so BOOOOOO
  • Tigers (0): BOOOOO
  • Yankees (0): BOOOOOO

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