Duh -- Why Fox, Not Powell, Will Make the Opening Day Roster

Game Recap: Earlier today, the A's fell 2-0 to the White Sox as Mark Buehrle, Bobby Jenks, and two relievers scattered 8 hits. Ben Sheets tossed 5.1 IP of 1 run ball, but walked 5 while also striking out 5.

Sometimes I can be so dense. Landon Powell figured out before I did that he, and not Jake Fox, will not make the Opening Day roster. Yes, options play a big part -- Powell has 'em, Fox don't (Almond Joy, anyone? Mounds?) -- but that's not the only factor.

Hopefully, the A's have realized that with Kurt Suzuki, quality trumps quantity both in the short-term and the long-term. That is, by resting Suzuki more than they have in the past, the A's might get more out of Kurt over the long haul -- but they also might get more now if they give Suzuki more regular days off along the way.

That's why it would appear, on the surface, wise to have a legitimate backup catcher, like Powell, on the roster and not just an "emergency catcher" type, like Fox, as the #2 guy.

But here's what I overlooked.

Even if you are fully committed to not wearing Suzuki down, he doesn't need much time off in early April. Coming off an entire off-season, followed by spring training games where he didn't play everyday, culminating with an off-day on Sunday, April 4th, Suzuki can legitimately play a lot -- at most you would rest him once -- at the start of the season when the A's play 14 games in 14 days. Then the A's have a day off on Monday, April 19th, followed by another one on Monday, April 26th, then two more on Thursday, May 6th and Monday, May 10th.

What this means is that if you wanted to give Suzuki a day off per week right from the start of the season, you would need to start Jake Fox at catcher exactly once before May 17th to give Suzuki just one stretch (April 27th-May 5th) where he played 9 days in a row, with 7 straight to begin the season and then no other stretches where he played more than 6 straight. "6 on, one off" may be too much when you're in the "dog days" of August, but in April? Perfectly reasonable.

The A's could even start Powell at AAA and call him up the first time they want their backup catcher to start -- just doing this would buy the A's until mid-to-late April to resolve Fox's status with the team. There is simply no reason for the A's to cut Fox on April 4th, and probably no reason to cut him before May 17th. By then, Chavez' glue might wear off or some other injury might preserve Fox's place with the team.

Meanwhile, Eric Patterson has, in my opinion, formally played his way off the roster and out of the organization if necessary. Despite hitting .298/.369/.421 this spring, what Patterson has shown himself to be is a guy who can't lay down a bunt, gets doubled off of 2B, gets trapped between 1B and 2B, is a poor defensive LF and a worse 2Bman. The A's need someone who can backup SS, but they also need someone who can handle 2B defensively behind Ellis. That's not Patterson, but it is Rosales.

Chavez, Fox, Gross, and Rosales on April 5th. Book it.

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