A's Roster Set for Opening Day
The Oakland A's set their Opening Day roster on Saturday. There are five rookies on the A's 25-man roster and two (Tyler Ladendorf and Mark Canha) are on a big league roster for the first time in their careers.
The A's will open the season with a starting rotation of Sonny Gray, Jesse Hahn, Scott Kazmir, Kendall Graveman and Drew Pomeranz. Veteran Barry Zito didn't make the A's Opening Day roster, but he will remain in the organization. The A's re-assigned Zito to minor league camp after Saturday's spring finale at the Coliseum and Zito announced that he would accept the assignment. He will be part of a talented Nashville Sounds' rotation that will include Chris Bassitt, Brad Mills and Arnold Leon.
Oakland's bullpen will feature longman Jesse Chavez, left-handers Fernando Abad and Eric O'Flaherty, and right-handers Evan Scribner, R.J. Alvarez, Dan Otero and Tyler Clippard. Clippard will be the A's first option for saves while closer Sean Doolittle is on the DL. Doolittle is one of eight players who begin the season on the A's DL; Josh Reddick, Coco Crisp, Nate Freiman, A.J. Griffin, Sean Nolin, Jarrod Parker and Taylor Thompson are the others.
On the position player side of the roster, the A's have plenty of defensive versatility. Ben Zobrist, Ladendorf and Canha are all capable of playing in the infield and the outfield, while infielders Marcus Semien and Eric Sogard can play all over the infield. With Reddick and Crisp on the DL to start the year, the A's will be short on power in the outfield, but they will have plenty of speed with Billy Burns, Sam Fuld and Craig Gentry.
The A's will feature almost an entirely new infield on Opening Day. With the exception of second baseman Sogard, who is likely to start against the Texas Rangers' Yovani Gallardo, the rest of the A's expected Opening Day infield was not on Oakland's 2014 Opening Day roster (third baseman Brett Lawrie, shortstop Semien, first baseman Ike Davis and catcher Stephen Vogt). DH Billy Butler will be making his A's debut on Monday after signing a free agent deal with the team this off-season. Josh Phegley will be the A's back-up catcher.
In addition to Zito, switch-pitcher Pat Venditte, catcher Bryan Anderson and right-hander Brock Huntzinger were re-assigned to minor league camp. All three should be part of the Triple-A Nashville Opening Day roster.
View the entire A's roster, click here.
A's Make Several More Minor League Cuts
The A's entered spring training with a glut of experienced minor league pitching depth and that has led to several pitchers being cut from the organization this spring. Earlier in camp, the A's released Andrew Werner, Dakota Freese, Drew Granier, Deck McGuire and Branch Kloess. According to A's Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman, the A's also released Paul Smyth, Murphy Smith, Joe Michaud, Tyler Vail, A.J. Burke and Hunter Adkins, as well as outfielder Zeke DeVoss.
Smyth and Smith were longtime members of the A's organization who had strong 2014 seasons but were stuck at Double-A on the A's depth chart because of Oakland's glut of Triple-A veteran relievers. They will now try to find spots with organizations that have openings at the Triple-A level. Vail was a fifth-round pick in 2010. He showed promise at times, but struggled with command and his health. He never moved past Low-A in the organization.
Right-handers Michaud and Burke both pitched well last season for Vermont. They were 2013 draft picks who were drafted after their senior seasons in college. Adkins joined the organization as a free agent in 2013. He made 25 appearances between High-A and Low-A last season and had a 5.38 ERA.
DeVoss joined the A's from the Chicago Cubs last season. The Miami alum has plus speed and a good eye at the plate, but he hit only .160 last year. His career OBP is still .379 in four minor league seasons.