Arizona Battles: Final Roster Spots
By Andrew Brown
Spring training has arrived and every A’s fan is anxious to get the season started. However, the lead up to the season is just as important. The A’s are in an enviable position this season having multiple players for each roster spot. Therefore spring training will be crucial to players trying to stay in the majors or finally break in. This post will guide your eyes to the most important battles that will happen in Arizona and who will potentially break through. Remember, there are only 25 spots on the roster and some of those spots will be give-ins, so this post will more focus on the infield, bullpen, and backups.
As I mentioned there are a few spots that are locked in. The players I consider locks are:
OF– Josh Reddick, Yoenis Céspedes, Coco Crisp, Chris Young, Seth Smith
IF– Brandon Moss, Jed Lowrie, Hiroyuki Nakajima, Josh Donaldson
SP– Jarrod Parker, Brett Anderson, Tommy Milone, A.J. Griffin, Dan Straily
RP– Sean Doolittle, Ryan Cook, Travis Blackley, Jerry Blevins, Pat Neshek, Grant Balfour (currently injured)
With these players pretty much being locked in already that leaves three open spots to battle for in Arizona. The three spots will ultimately be broken down into the final bullpen spot and two back up infield spots. Here are those breakdowns of the three spots and what players are vying for them.
Bullpen- The A’s have incredible depth in the bullpen this season and this makes the battle for the final spot all the more intriguing. The sheer amount of players and talent can seem overwhelming, especially to Manager Bob Melvin. However, this is what Melvin is here to do. Here are the players battling for those last two spots:
Evan Scribner, Chris Resop, Jordan Norberto, Pedro Figueroa, Andrew Werner, Michael Ynoa, Arnold Leon, Jesse Chavez, Fernando Rodriguez, Bartolo Colon.
All of them will have a legitimate shot at winning the final spot. My pick is Chris Resop. The righty was effective in Pittsburgh and will even out the righty lefty arms already in the bullpen.
February 18, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Chris Resop (56) poses for a picture during photo day at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Infield Spot 1– With the acquisition of Jed Lowrie the A’s have a player who can play multiple positions at any given time. Their main concern however is second base. With the slumping of Jemile Weeks last season and the departures of Stephen Drew and Cliff Pennington, the A’s are without a main choice at second. This makes for an interesting battle. Here are the players who will vie for second:
Scott Sizemore, Jemile Weeks, Grant Green
Sizemore is returning from injury, but he seems to be the front runner after a strong 2011. Weeks will need to prove he can rebound and make the necessary adjustments to stay at the major league level long term. Green is the most interesting out of the group. A’s fans finally want to see what he can do and this spring training just might be the time to grab a hold of his spot with the big team. My pick is Sizemore. Depending on how he rebounds his strong offensive presence will bring value to the position that the A’s didn’t see last year.
February 18, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics third baseman Scott Sizemore (29) poses for a picture during photo day at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Infield Spot 2– This is the backup infield spot. The A’s have a couple new faces who could be potentials as well as a couple familiar faces. Here are those players:
Grant Green, Andy Parrino, Eric Sogard, Adam Rosales
Parrino was acquired from the Padres in the Tyson Ross deal. He brings a great eye at the plate that the A’s could use. Sogard and Rosales are average offensively and defensively and I do not see them sticking around with the A’s for much longer. Green’s rise through the minor league ranks saw him play multiple positions in the infield. He has always been strong offensively. My pick is Grant Green. I think it will finally be his time to shine with the A’s.
February 18, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics center fielder Grant Green (35) poses for a picture during photo day at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports