This season has more Spring Training intrigue than any in recent memory for our beloved A's. Thanks to a boatload of roster turnover, with an eye on the future, there are a few more open spots on this team in years past. Throw in Scott Sizemore's injury, Yoenis Cespedes' signing (and subsequent badass-ness), Manny's arrival, and having a competent Major League skipper on board for a full season, this year has become much more exciting. There was a point this winter where we had no major league outfielders on our roster, and now we have a plethora of them. There was a point where 2012 seemed utterly hopeless and we questioned Billy Beane's moves. But here we are, spring is in full swing and the team is playing damn well. So what do we do with the remaining couple of weeks before we head to Japan? I say there's still time to make an addition or two, and theres plenty of decisions for Bob Melvin to make. Here's what I, in my humble opinion, think is the best roster we can put out there in 2012.
So, first off, this pitching staff is LOADED for the year 2014. We will be scaring the (insert bodily fluid) out of the Rangers and Angels by then. But for now, some of these guys still need some time. And there's a perfect way to let the young pitchers mature without putting Graham Godfrey in the rotation. Our first starter is Brandon McCarthy, who I think brings a lot to the table and is a good man for the job. Our second starter is Bartolo Colon, who isn't exactly what I had hoped for as our number 2. Our third starter, in my opinion, should be Tom Milone because he is the most MLB ready of our new crop of young pitchers. That leaves 2 spots in the rotation until Dallas "Freaking Awesome" Braden comes back in early May. IMO the 4th spot should go to Tyson Ross, who is a very good 4 when healthy. But before we call up Parker and Peacock and Gray, I have a better idea. Roy Oswalt. Maybe you don't agree with me, but hear me out. He is WAY better than Bartolo Colon, and fits in perfectly as a 2 starter. He will probably be in on a 1-2 year deal at around 8 million per year. This could be a calculated risk that pays a huge reward twofold. If we're in contention come July, which is a big if, we keep a proven veteran and 1-caliber starter for the stretch run. If we're not where we want to be, we trade him away and load up on more prospects. After he's traded, or whenever we have an injury to either McCarthy, Colon, Milone, Ross or Braden, we bring up the most major league ready of our big arms. So, without further Adieu, here is my rotation for now, and for then.
OPENING DAY 2012 - 1. McCarthy 2. Oswalt 3. Colon 4. Milone 5. Ross
BEST CASE (IN CONTENTION) 1. McCarthy 2. Oswalt 3. Colon 4. Braden 5.Milone
OUT OF RACE 1.McCarthy 2.Braden 3.Anderson/Milone 4.Milone/Parker 5.Parker/Peacock
Now, as for the bullpen. I think we should stick with what we have. We have a good mix of veterans and young fireballers. Here's how I would set things up in the 'pen.
CLOSER: Devine SET UP: Balfour RIGHTIES: De Los Santos, Carignan LEFTIES: Fuentes, Norberto, Blevins
And now for something completely different.
Time to adress the offensive side of things. Now, in a perfect world we'd sign Miguel Tejada and plug him in at third and he'd have a solid year and retire in the green and gold. But this isn't a perfect world. I'd love to sign him to a Manny-style minor-league deal with no guarantees. It's a no-lose situation. Anyways, there are a ton of directions the team could go here. I'd go with the all upside strategy here, contrary to my ideas about the pitching staff. Let's see what everyone has to bring to the table instead of letting a spot go to a journeyman-type.
Catchers: Suzuki, Norris
First Base: Allen
Second Base: Weeks (duh)
Third Base: Donaldson, Sogard
Outfield: LF-Crisp CF-Cespedes RF-Reddick
DH: Smith/Gomes......Manny after 50 games
The omission here is Collin Cowgill, and I hope that he gets a chance this year because I love the minor league stats and he's said to have a Byrnes-like flare to his play. I think the outfield options are aplenty. 5 outfielders on the roster and Rosales gives a lot of flex and a lot of talent. As for first base, I think Brandon Allen should get a good 2 months to prove himself, and if he can't cut it, then give anybody on earth not named Daric Barton a shot.
Well I sure am excited for this year, and since I purchased my first ever season ticket package in mid-January it's been nothing but intriguing signings and "hope for the future" since! Let me know what you'd do differently, whether you agree or not with bringing in Oswalt, and what possible moves you'd like to see before or during this season. LETS GO OAKLAND.