Interested in learning more about the AL West race? Our very own Vince Cotroneo will be on this chat at 11AM Pacific time on Monday morning! He will be joined by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, Larry Stone of the Seattle Times, and Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register to discuss the AL West. Don't miss it!
Next order of business? PITCHERS AND CATCHERS REPORT TO SPRING TRAINING IN SIX DAYS!!!!
Excited? I thought so. That being said, I hope you all have been introduced to the A’s new beat writer, Jane Lee (Twitter @JaneMLB). Lee takes some questions in Wednesday’s Inbox and also previews Spring Training in this article, as well as on her blog. I think a lot of this might be of some interest before the upcoming season.
I projected the 25 man roster in last Friday's post, and Jane Lee has projected hers; complete with a projected batting order, as well as her guess on the fifth starter for the rotation and the bullpen spots.
I almost agree.
Our rosters are identical; she chose Trevor Cahill and Brad Kilby to fill the 5th starter/long relief position that I left open, and from a fairly obvious process of elimination, the 25th man has to be either Chavez or Fox (she picked Fox). I would have too, but we both know that if Eric Chavez has a healthy Spring Training, he will make the team, and it's likely that Fox is the only one who can be replaced.
My pre-Spring Training guess for the fifth starter position is Gio Gonzalez, but it is just as likely that Trevor Cahill will win the spot, and with Ziegler, Blevins, Bailey, Wuertz, Devine, and Breslow in relief, the A's have one of the best bullpens in the league.
From Jane Lee:
As a side note to consider, though, Geren said this week he could possibly use a starting candidate in the bullpen for long relief, so that could come into play and jeopardize a roster spot for Blevins, Kilby or even Devine, who has yet to prove his health since undergoing Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery. However, the only way I see that happening is if that guy is Gio Gonzalez, for reasons being he has bullpen experience and is a southpaw -- something the A's could use to diversify their relief corps even more.
I made this exact quote to someone the other day; that it would be more likely that Gio would stay in the bullpen because of his experience, rather than Cahill, but looking back at the numbers, when was Gio in the 'pen? I distinctly remember him being called up for long relief; yet the numbers show Gonzalez making exactly 3 relief appearances in 2008 and 3 in 2009 (against 24 starts in the same time period). Not exactly the experience I thought he had. I think it's a bad idea to put either in the 'pen to start the year; pick the best 5th starter for the big club, and get the other one into the regular rotation at AAA. We have Sheets and Duchscherer as one/two; you have to imagine the AAA rotation will be called up sooner rather than later, and Brad Kilby can fill the last bullpen spot.
She also projects the batting order:
And for those of you curious about Chris Carter and Michael Taylor?
When do you think we can expect to see Chris Carter and Michael Taylor make their big league debuts? Both appear ready, but will they start the year at Triple-A?
-- Trevor H., Reno, Nev.
I've received some form of this question multiple times, so A's fans need listen carefully, although you'll probably hear a lot more about them once Spring Training commences. The A's brass has made it clear that, while both Carter and Taylor represent large pieces of the club's future, they would ideally like to start the rising duo at Triple-A to not only preserve their Major League service time, but to give them a little more seasoning. The organization also wants to make certain that Carter and Taylor are here to stay once handed their tickets to The Show.
Carter has only 13 games of Triple-A experience under his belt, so the current plan is to give the more experienced, but still unproven, Daric Barton full-time responsibilities at first base in Oakland. Meanwhile, Taylor has played in only 30 games at the Triple-A level, giving the A's no reason to rush him when an already well-stocked defensive outfield is in tow. Thus, the club is interested in evaluating how both will perform with the big boys this spring. Geren, for one, can't wait to see if Taylor is the real deal. The A's skipper has only seen video of the outfielder, but said a couple weeks ago that he looked like "a man among boys."
So what do you think? What upcoming Spring Training feature are you most excited about? What do you think the final roster will look like? Who wins the starting pitcher duel? Who are you most excited to see on the field? And most importantly, when are you going?
What are you most excited about for Spring Training?
This poll is closed
The starting pitcher competition
The 25 man roster race
Seeing prospects like Carter and Taylor
Seeing Chavez possibly play
Seeing our new additions