The beginning of September marks an exciting time for big league clubs. For some teams, the race to claim a division crown or a wild card spot intensifies as we head into the final month of the season. For others, like the Athletics, it marks the beginning of the future, as rosters expand 15 slots. This opportunity provides manager Bob Melvin the opportunity to scout the prospects coming up the wire. For a few established veterans, however, it could start the process of replacement. There are certain players who should be keeping track of how their competitors are doing in order to keep a spot in Oakland next year.
.266 AVG, 23 HR, 71 RBI
Healy is expected to receive the most competition from Triple-A All-Star game MVP Renato Nunez. The fact that they both should be regulated to DH at the major league level doesn’t bode well for fans looking for a memorable battle, but these two power hitters could easily put up a competitive show after Nunez is called up. Healy also faces competition from Khris Davis, who’s weak arm should have him playing DH sooner rather than later.
0-4, 6.27 ERA, 26 K
Smith has been a starter that the A’s can count on pitching every five days. That’s about it. Smith is 36 years old and has yet to reach arbitration. It may be best for the A’s to cut ties with him to make room for an emerging prospect to gain valuable experience in the majors. He faces competition from Paul Blackburn once he comes off the DL and Frankie Montas. Jesse Hahn and Daniel Megden are other sleepers who can take over his spot.
.268 AVG, 12 HR, 49 RBI
Lowrie was quickly seen as one of the A’s tradeable assets once the front office established themselves as sellers. He survived the trade deadline and the waiver deadline, as rumors now swirl that his club option will be picked up. If he does not perform well in September, however, a plethora of young talent, headlined by Franklin Baretto and Joey Wendle have the opportunity to take his place at O.Co next year.