Believe it or not, we're nearly halfway through the MLB off-season. The Athletics have made a number of moves so far, though none of them have been particularly exciting.
The additions of Abraham Toro and Miguel Andujar were over a month ago, and the A's have made just a couple major league signings since then. The most recent addition of reliever Trevor Gott puts the A's at 41 players on the 40-man, meaning they'll have to make an additional move to get Gott on the roster.
At present, the A's only have two catchers listed on the 40-man. Shea Langeliers is set to be the primary catcher for the A's in 2024, and Tyler Soderstrom is listed there as well. Soderstrom played a bit at first base and designated hitter during his call up in 2023. He's not a great defensive backstop and it's possible his future lies at the cold corner, assuming he hits well enough to stick at the major league level this year.
If there's a move left to be made on the offensive side, this seems like the most obvious place for improvement. The A's could use a veteran backup to come in and provide some leadership and guidance for the younger players, or at least a capable defender to have behind Langeliers.
On the infield, the A's have Aledmys Diaz, Zack Gelof, Ryan Noda, Abraham Toro, Darell Hernaiz, and Jordan Diaz currently set for the majors, as well as Nick Allen and Jonah Bride further down in the system.
Noda and Gelof will man the right side of the infield. The plan for the left side seems to be Hernaiz at short, Toro and Aledmys Diaz at third, and Jordan Diaz can bounce between second and third. Nick Allen spent time at shortstop in 2023. He's a capable defender there but he hit poorly, posting a .221/.263/.287 slash line in 106 games. He's a dead spot in the lineup without a major overhaul.
The outfield is set to be Esteury Ruiz, JJ Bleday, Seth Brown, and Miguel Andujar, with Brent Rooker spending most of his time at DH. The A's will have 2023 call up Lawrence Butler and post-hype prospect Lazaro Armenteros waiting in the minors.
Brown was speculated as a possible trade candidate earlier in the offseason but A's GM David Forst came out two weeks ago and said that Brown will be on the opening day roster. It's unclear how long Andujar will stick around. He had some success in Pittsburgh in 2023 but has not been a consistently good hitter during his career. Butler should be the first man up if the A's run into injury trouble or performance issues with Andujar.
The A's have a dearth of top-line talent on the pitching side
As of today, the A's rotation looks like JP Sears, Paul Blackburn, Joe Boyle, Luis Medina, and possibly Osvaldo Bido. Ken Waldichuk's status for opening day is in question after his recent elbow surgery. The A's also have Rule 5 addition Mitch Spence who could compete for a rotation spot in the spring.
Players next in line include Hogan Harris, Freddy Tarnok, Joey Estes, and Adrian Martinez, all of whom saw time in the majors in 2023. Without any further additions, it's likely that all four will spend time in Oakland again in 2024. Prospects Royber Salinas and Brady Basso are sitting in Double-A, but it's unlikely either reach the majors next year.
Top prospect Mason Miller should headline the bullpen. David Forst told reporters earlier this month that the young righty would make a permanent move to the bullpen in 2024 in an attempt to mitigate any potential health issues.
Trevor Gott should slide into a late inning role. Holdovers Lucas Erceg, Dany Jimenez, Sean Newcomb, Kyle Mueller, and Zach Jackson all expect to be in the bullpen on opening day. The A's have Francisco Perez, Angel Felipe, Michael Kelly, and Devin Sweet at Triple-A waiting for a call up.
There are a number of guys that could be DFA'd in order to make room for Gott. We'll update once that happens.