The Oakland A's continued to tinker with their roster, adding yet another veteran on a one-year deal. Former A's utilityman Adam Rosales returns to Oakland on a one-year contract. To make room for Rosales on the A's 40-man roster, Oakland designated left-hander Dillon Overton for assignment. Overton was ranked as the A's 26th-best prospect according to our off-season rankings. The A's also announced that they had traded Brett Eibner -- who was designated for assignment last Friday -- to the Los Angeles Dodgers for minor league infielder Jordan Tarsovich.
The A's have made it abundantly clear through their moves this off-season that they intend to prioritize remaining competitive over a youth movement in 2017. The Rosales signing is another sign that the A's won't carry many rookie position players on their Opening Day roster. The super utilityman is a natural middle infielder, but he can also play first and third base, as well as right and left field. Rosales spent parts of four seasons with the A's from 2010-2013, batting .223/.285/.345 in 197 games. After spending part of the 2013 season and all of the 2014 and 2015 campaigns with the Texas Rangers, Rosales had a career year with the San Diego Padres in 2016. He hit 13 homeruns in 105 games for the Padres and posted a .229/.319/.495 line.
It is Rosales' versatility that likely appealed to the A's most. He played every defensive position except for catcher and centerfield for the Padres last season and Rosales will give A's manager Bob Melvin more flexibility when trying to play match-ups with a roster that includes several players with significant right- or left-handed splits. Rosales is also a strong clubhouse presence, something the A's were looking for after 2015 and 2016 seasons that were marked by clubhouse strife.
The news of the Rosales signing impacts the chances of both Joey Wendle and Chad Pinder to make the A's Opening Day roster. Unless Oakland trades Jed Lowrie, there likely won't be room for Wendle or Pinder on the A's roster when they break camp. Rosales will likely serve as the main back-up for Trevor Plouffe at third, Marcus Semien at short and Lowrie at second base.
The A's will now expose Overton to the waiver wire. Although the A's 2013 second-round pick had a rough first go in the major leagues, he is likely to generate significant interest from teams looking for a potential backend left-handed starter. The former Oklahoma star had Tommy John surgery shortly after signing with the A's in 2013 and didn't make his professional debut until the short-season in 2014. He split his 2015 season between High-A and Double-A and pitched in Triple-A and the big leagues in 2016. With Nashville, Overton posted a 3.29 ERA and a 105:31 K:BB in 125.2 innings. With the A's, he struggled, posting an 11.47 ERA in 24.1 innings.
Overton's velocity has never returned to its collegiate mid-90s levels, but he has found success at every level of the minor leagues by spotting his fastball and using his breaking ball and change-up to keep hitters off-balance. His command wasn't as sharp during his big league tenure and his sequencing was a little predictable, but Overton has always received high marks for his work ethic, coachability and competitiveness. It wouldn't be surprising to see him find his footing the next time he reaches the big leagues. He will have option years remaining to develop further before getting another shot in the big leagues. The A's will have 10 days to trade Overton or risk losing him to a claim. If he clears waivers, he can be outrighted to Triple-A.
The A's were able to make a waiver-wire trade with Eibner, who was designated for assignment last Friday when the A's made the Santiago Casilla signing official. Eibner, who was acquired mid-season from the Kansas City Royals, hit .289/.394/.528 with 12 homers in 54 Triple-A games between Nashville and Omaha. In 70 big league games with the A's and Royals, Eibner batted .193/.266/.353. He can play all three outfield positions and has some power in his bat and above-average speed.
In exchange for Eibner, the A's get infielder Jordan Tarsovich, who played last season between High-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa. The right-handed hitter batted .221/.325/.371 in 90 games between the two teams. He homered nine times. Tarsovich played all over the infield and even made two appearances in the outfield last year. He is a 2015 22nd-round pick out of Virginia Military Institute. Tarsovich will turn 26 in June.