12 Things We Learned About the 2012 A's From FanFest

There are an awful lot of interesting quotes coming out of this weekend’s FanFest. But what have we actually learned about the 2012 A's from FanFest?

1) Manager Bob Melvin thinks it’s likely that Brandon McCarthy will be the A’s opening day starter, with Bartolo Colon following right behind him, according to Susan Slusser.

2) Dallas Braden would like to be back by opening day, but Joe Stiglich reports that pitching coach Curt Young is expecting to have him back in action in mid-April.

3) Jane Lee thinks that Braden will slide right in behind McCarthy and Colon when he returns in April, forming the core of the A’s 2012 starting rotation.

4) Since the A’s won’t actually need a fifth starter until April 17, by which time Braden is expected to be back, Curt Young views the last two spots in the rotation as being up for grabs. And Lee lists Graham Godfrey, Tyson Ross, Tom Milone, Brad Peacock and Jarrod Parker as the legitimate contenders vying for the final two spots in the rotation.

5) Brett Anderson now isn’t expected back before August, according to Slusser.

6) The closer - and the entire bullpen - situation is as murky as ever.

7) While denying speculation that recent acquisitions mean that prospects Michael Taylor and Chris Carter will end up back in the minors again this year, assistant general manager David Forst indicated that there was still a fifth outfielder and designated hitter spot open on the roster, according to the Associated Press.

8) Based on Forst’s quote, we can assume that most of the other offensive roster spots seem to be locked up in the minds of A’s brass (with the likely exception of the backup catcher and backup infielder positions).

9) Forst’s quote also seems to indicate that Taylor and Collin Cowgill are in competition for the fifth outfielder spot. But based on current comments from Bob Melvin (specifically mentioning Cowgill as a fifth outfielder candidate without referencing Taylor) and past quotes from Billy Beane (saying he’d like to see Taylor show more consistency at Triple-A before he was ready to earn a major league spot), Cowgill probably has the edge.

10) The fact that Forst didn’t say there was an opening at first base when asked about Carter seems to indicate that the A’s probably view Daric Barton, if healthy, as the likely default choice at first base, which leaves Carter, Brandon Allen and Kila Ka’aihue as the primary competitors for the designated hitter spot.

11) The A’s seem to be warming up to the idea of giving Manny Ramirez a test drive in the designated hitter spot once he’s completed his 50-day suspension, according to both AP and Susan Slusser.

12) And finally, even if the A’s do get approval for the move to San Jose, they now don’t expect to be able to begin play in a new stadium before 2015 or, more likely, 2016, according to both Slusser and Lee.

Based on the information gleaned this weekend, I think we can expect the A’s 2012 offensive roster and starting rotation to shape up something like this…

C: Suzuki

C: Powell/Recker/Donaldson

1B: Barton

2B: Weeks

SS: Pennington

3B: Sizemore

IF: Rosales/Sogard

OF: Reddick

OF: Crisp

OF: Smith

OF: Gomes

OF: Cowgill/Taylor

DH: Carter/Allen/Ka’aihue/Ramirez

SP1: McCarthy

SP2: Colon

SP3: Braden

SP4: Godfrey/Ross/Milone/Peacock/Parker

SP5: Godfrey/Ross/Milone/Peacock/Parker

So how would you like to see things shape up from here?

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