A New Look at the 25-Man; What Does Fox's Status Mean For Chavez?

If you have a few minutes, check out this article on Cassevah/Donaldson that Susan Slusser highlighted in yesterday's front page post. It's well worth the read.

In case you missed yesterday's firestorm of updates on Jake "Is He Or Isn't He Out of Options" Fox, the upshot is that despite what the general baseball media (myself included) had assumed, Fox is actually out of options. He must make the 25 man out of Spring Training, or the A's risk losing him. (On a side note, thank you Susan Slusser for the attention you paid to AN and all of our questions yesterday; you're the best!) This, of course, puts a glitch in my Chavez vs. Fox debate for the 25th man spot.

From Slusser:

Coming into spring camp, the A's had been saying that Eric Patterson is the only player on the bubble of a roster spot who is out of options, and word was that corner infielder/catcher/DH Jake Fox had a option left.

Clearly, Fox does not have the option left, but even more curious to me is that Patterson is even mentioned as a consideration. As far as I can see, there is just not room for him to make the team. The A's don't have the incentive or the emotional ties to Patterson that would win him a spot.

The same cannot be said for Eric Chavez.

Nico put it very succinctly in yesterday's game thread:

Especially if Chavez looks at Billy with those big brown eyes and says, "But I just got a first baseman’s glove and everything!"

Funny, but there's more than a grain of truth there. Chavez has been in the A's family for more than 10 years, and if he physically can take the field and swing the bat, I have a hard time believing that the A's won't find a way for him to make the team this season, even for little more than sentimental reasons.

Here was my initial roster:

A's Tentative 25-Man Roster

Pitching

1) Justin Duchscherer
2) Ben Sheets
3) Dallas Braden
4) Brett Anderson
5) Fifth Starter

6) Long Reliever

7) Brad Ziegler
8) Andrew Bailey
9) Craig Breslow
10) Jerry Blevins
11) Michael Wuertz
12) Joey Devine

Position Players

13) Kurt Suzuki: C
14) Kevin Kouzmanoff : 3B
15) Cliff Pennington: SS
16) Mark Ellis: 2B
17) Rajai Davis: OF
18) Ryan Sweeney: OF

19) Daric Barton: 1B
20) Jack Cust: OF/DH
21) Coco Crisp: OF
22) Gabe Gross: OF
23) Utility/Backup IF (Rosales, since E. Patterson can't play SS?)
24) Landon Powell: Backup C
25) Eric Chavez/Jake Fox

Aside from the fact that both Gonzalez and Cahill will likely both make the starting rotation if Duchscherer can't go, I don't think there's much room for change.

The latest on Duchscherer:

Justin Duchscherer is expected to stop by today after his nerve ablation procedure yesterday; he's still a little on the sore side, apparently, but he's only a few days behind the other starters at this point and it's believed he'll be OK to throw within the week.

Personally, I won't believe it until I see it.

Now, where do the A's fit in Jake Fox and Eric Chavez? One suggestion was to start Daric Barton in AAA (who does have an option remaining) and put Fox/Cust/Chavez on the 25 man. As Paul Thomas points out in yesterday's thread, that wouldn't necessarily be the best way to win games, but it WOULD be a way to keep all of the players on the team, at least. And at the A's usual rate of injuries, I'm sure the situation would sort itself out sooner rather than later.

The A's also need a backup catcher (no, Fox doesn't count), and a backup shortstop (no, Chavez can't play there), so I think that the backup roles are fairly locked in place. Neither Crisp nor Gross can be left off the roster; no one wants Jack Cust, Jake Fox, or Eric Chavez as the fourth outfielder.

That basically leaves Barton as the only real replacement if the team wants to keep Fox and Chavez.

For sentimental reasons, I want to see Chavy play. He's been a favorite for a long time, and I hate that his career was cut short. It would break my heart, just a little bit, to see him left off the roster. However, no matter what happens with Chavez, I think the A's have to keep Fox. But who knows? Spring Training is a long time, and I imagine all kinds of new scenarios will present themselves in March. But what else have we to talk about?

Are you cold-hearted enough to say no to Chavez and his first baseman's glove? Would you take your chances in sending Fox down? Will Chavez make it through March without incident? Over under on games played? What would Eric Patterson have to do to win a roster spot? What is Barton's year going to be like? When do we have games to recap!?

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