The Oakland A's announced on Tuesday that they have added four players to the team's 40-man roster: 2009 first-round pick Grant Green, outfielder Shane Peterson and pitchers Michael Ynoa and Arnold Leon. All four players will be protected from the upcoming Rule 5 draft. To make room for those four on the 40-man roster, the A's outrighted reliever Andrew Carignan to Triple-A Sacramento and designated reliever Jim Miller and shortstop Brandon Hicks for assignment.
On October 30, we took a close look at the players who would potentially be eligible for the Rule 5 draft if they weren't protected by the A's. Green, Leon, Ynoa and Peterson were all players who appeared to have strong shots at being protected.
Green, the A's top pick in 2009, could be in the mix for an Opening Day roster spot depending on how the rest of the A's offseason transpires. A shortstop when he was drafted, Green has moved all over the diamond defensively, but the A's believe they have found a home for Green at second base. He can also play third and all three outfield positions.
A strong natural hitter, Green has a career .302 average in three minor league seasons. He hit .296/.338/.458 with 15 homers in 125 games in his first season at the Triple-A level in 2012. Green recently competed in the Arizona Fall League and hit .273/.364/.424 in 66 at-bats.
In 2012, Leon pitched his first full season since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2010. The right-hander from Mexico pitched at three levels in 2012 (High-A, Double-A and Triple-A) and posted a 2.70 ERA with 74 strike-outs in 66.2 innings pitched. He gave up only five homeruns. Leon is currently pitching in the Mexican Winter League and he has a 0.79 ERA and a 16:5 K:BB ratio in 11.1 innings for his hometown Culiacan Tomateros.
Leon has an advanced four-pitch mix and has always had above-average command since the A's signed him out of Mexico as a 19-year-old before the 2008 season. He has gone back-and-forth between a starter and a reliever role during his minor league career, although he was exclusively a reliever in 2012.
Peterson was added to the roster after putting together his best season as a pro. Despite being limited to 86 games thanks to an early season ankle injury, Peterson posted an impressive .326/.480/.510 line for Double-A Midland and Triple-A Sacramento. Peterson began the year with Double-A Midland and was a Texas League All-Star after posting an 862 OPS during the first half of the season. He received a promotion to Triple-A at midway point in the season and played even better for the River Cats, putting up a 1102 OPS in 38 games.
Peterson has mostly been an outfielder since he was acquired by the A's during the 2009 season as part of the Matt Holliday trade. However, he can also play first base. He joins a crowded A's roster at those two positions. Including Peterson, the A's are currently carrying nine outfielders and four players with significant experience playing first base on the 40-man roster. The A's could deal one or two players from those positions before the start of the season.
Ynoa is the least experienced member of the A's 40-man roster. The highly regarded right-hander signed with the A's out of the Dominican Republic in July 2008 to a record-breaking bonus. Ynoa has struggled with injuries since signing with the A's, however. He missed significant time in 2009 with elbow problems and injured the elbow again in 2010. He would eventually undergo Tommy John surgery. After missing all of 2011, Ynoa was healthy in 2012 and pitched a career-high 30.2 innings for the A's two short-season squads.
Although Ynoa's 2012 numbers weren't impressive (6.46 ERA, 1:1 K:BB ratio), he did show life on his fastball and promising, if inconsistent, breaking pitches. Ynoa pitched well during the A's Instructional League camp. Given his inexperience, Ynoa may have been a longshot to be claimed during the Rule 5, but the A's didn't want to risk losing him after investing more than $4 million in him in 2008.
Carignan was removed from the 40-man roster and outrighted to Sacramento. He is expected to begin the year on the disabled list as he continues his rehab from Tommy John surgery that he incurred this year. He will be a strong candidate for the A's big league bullpen once he is healthy.
Miller was a member of the A's bullpen for much of last season. He did a solid job for the A's, posting a 2.59 ERA in 48.2 innings. Miller struck-out 44 and walked 27. Hicks split his season between Triple-A and the big leagues. He hit 18 homers in 90 games for Triple-A Sacramento and three homers in 22 games for the A's.
The A's, like every organization, will have several prospects available during the Rule 5 draft who could be appealing to other teams. Utilityman Conner Crumbliss and right-handers James Simmons and Bruce Billings could be candidates for selection during the Rule 5 draft, which takes place the final day of the MLB Winter Meetings in early December.