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Oakland A's free agents and prospects outlook: 2015 and beyond

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The Athletics purportedly will be focusing on home-grown players. Things are looking up.

Matt Olson bats for the A's in 2015 spring training. He is Oakland's #2 prospect at MLB.com, behind Franklin Barreto.
Matt Olson bats for the A's in 2015 spring training. He is Oakland's #2 prospect at MLB.com, behind Franklin Barreto.
Rob Tringali/Getty Images

Last July, after the Oakland Athletics wrapped up trades of Tyler Clippard, Ben Zobrist, and Scott Kazmir for prospects, A's paramount leader Billy Beane told the Bay Area News Group, "What is definite is that we need to shift the focus onto the farm system. ... That's critical for us. It's important for players to be brought through the system. If we do compete, we can use them for trade. But you can't do that if you don't have a lot of depth."

So what is the prospect depth we have coming up, how soon might we expect it to arrive, and who will those prospects replace? Let's go year by year at which players on Oakland's 40-man roster are projected to reach free agency and when Oakland's top 30 prospects, according to mlb.com, will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft where other clubs can select players not on the 40-man roster.

2015-16

Oakland A's free agents after 2015
Service
time
(YY.DDD)
Age in
2016
season
Option years
RH RP Edward Mujica 8.115 32 Out of options

Edward Mujica reaches free agency, but the A's need to drop one more player from their 40-man roster before the deadline to activate players from the 60-day disabled list five days after the World Series ends.

Eligible for the Dec. 2015 Rule 5 Draft
MLB.com
prospect
rank
2015
Level
Age in
2016
Season
Notes
LHB 2B Joey Wendle 16 AAA 26
RH RP Aaron Kurcz 29 AAA 25 Eligible since 2013
LHB C Bruce Maxwell 28 AA 25
LH RP Jose Torres 23 A+ 22 Eligible since 2014
LHB 1B Sandber Pimentel 27 A 21

Joey Wendle is almost certain to be protected from the Rule 5 draft but the A's might be content to bet that reliever Aaron Kurcz will not be drafted. Bruce Maxwell did not hit nearly well enough in Double-A to merit consideration for the 40-man roster while Torres and Pimentel played at too low a level to need protection from the Major League phase.

What may be quite interesting next year is how much talent finally reaches the Triple-A level of the system after the last few years of having Oakland's top products only get to Double-A (e.g. Addison Russell) or below (Daniel Robertson) before being traded. The major league players will finally have some competition from younger prospects below. Here's an educated guess at where the Top 30 MLB.com prospects will be in the system next year, barring a trade:

MLB Triple-A Nashville Double-A Midland High-A Stockton Low-A Beloit Short Season
C #8 Jacob Nottingham
1B #17 Rangel Ravelo #27 Sandber Pimentel
2B #26 Joey Wendle #15 Mikey White #18 Jesus Lopez
3B #6 Renato Nunez #5 Matt Chapman #13 Yairo Munoz
SS #7 Chad Pinder #1 Franklin Barreto #4 Richie Martin
LF #21 Jaycob Brugman
CF #19 Skye Bolt
RF #2 Matt Olson
Bench INF #22 Ryon Healy
2nd C #28 Bruce Maxwell
SP #12 Sean Nolin #3 Sean Manaea #11 Casey Meisner #9 Dakota Chalmers
SP #10 Dillon Overton #14 Raul Alcantara
SP #20 Dylan Covey
SP #25 Daniel Mengden
RP #24 R.J. Alvarez #23 Jose Torres
RP #26 Bobby Wahl
RP #29 Aaron Kurcz
RP #30 Brendan McCurry

In Triple-A, I can see a rotation in the DH, first base, and third base position between Rangel Ravelo, Renato Nunez, and Ryon Healy, or Healy might start the year in Double-A. Yairo Munoz is in an awkward spot between Franklin Barreto and first rounder Richie Martin, depending on if the A's push Martin straight to High-A Stockton rather than Low-A Beloit. If Martin does move up to stick at shortstop, look at Munoz to be moved around the infield. The same holds true for Mikey White.

2016-17

Oakland A's free agents after 2016
Service
time
(YY.DDD)
Age in
2016
season
Option years Misc.
SHB OF Coco Crisp 12.158 36 May refuse MiLB assignment 10/5 no trade rights
LHB 1B Ike Davis 5.155 29 May refuse MiLB assignment 2015-16 non-tender candidate
LHB OF Sam Fuld 5.140 34 Out of options 2015-16 non-tender candidate
RH SP/RP Jesse Chavez 5.108 32 Out of options
LHB OF Josh Reddick 5.050 29 May refuse MiLB assignment

Primarily, the A's shed themselves of Coco Crisp's annual eight-figure deal. Jesse Chavez is a trade candidate for the 2015-16 offseason while A's Paramount Leader Billy Beane is on record as saying the A's want to keep Josh Reddick and possibly extend him.

Eligible for the Dec. 2016 Rule 5 Draft
MLB.com
prospect
rank
2015
Level
Age in
2017
Season
RHB SS Franklin Barreto 1 A+ 21
LHB 1B/OF Matt Olson 2 AA 22
LH SP Sean Manaea 3 AA 25
RHB 2B/SS Chad Pinder 7 AA 25
LH SP Dillon Overton 10 AA 25
RHB SS/3B Yairo Munoz 13 A+ 22
RH SP Dylan Covey 20 A+ 25
LHB OF Jaycob Brugman 21 AA 25
RHB 3B/1B Ryon Healy 22 AA 25
RH RP Bobby Wahl 26 AA 25

A youth movement begins to join the 40-man roster after the 2016 season. If they haven't made it to the major leagues already, Top 10 prospects Matt Olson, Sean Manaea, Renato Nunez, Chad Pinder, and Dillon Overton should have already finished a season in Triple-A and Franklin Barreto wraps up his year in Double-A.

2017-18

Oakland A's free agents after 2017
Service
time
(YY.DDD)
Age in
2016
season
Option years Misc.
RHB 1B Billy Butler 8.102 30 May refuse MiLB assignment
RHB OF Craig Gentry 4.152 32 Out of options 2015-16 non-tender candidate
RHB 3B/LF Danny Valencia 4.118 31 Out of options
LH RP Fernando Abad 4.073 30 Out of options
LHB INF Eric Sogard 4.064 30 One option year remaining
RHB INF Brett Lawrie 4.055 26 Three option years remaining
LH RP Felix Doubront 4.041 28 Out of options 2015-16 non-tender candidate
RH RP Fernando Rodriguez 4.032 32 Out of options
LH SP/RP Jarrod Parker 4.000 27 Two option years remaining

After 2017, the A's shed themselves of Billy Butler's annual eight-figure deal while several players currently slated for the 2016 infield also reach free agency.

Eligible for the Dec. 2017 Rule 5 Draft
MLB.com
prospect
rank
2015
Level
Age in
2018
Season
RHB 3B Matt Chapman 5 A+ 25
RHB C/1B Jacob Nottingham 8 A+ 23
RH SP Casey Meisner 11 A+ 23
SHB 2B/SS Jesus Lopez 18 A- 21
RH SP Daniel Mengden 25 A+ 25
RH RP Brendan McCurry 30 AA 26

Hopefully by the time Danny Valencia, Eric Sogard, and Brett Lawrie are out the door to free agency, some of the infielders in the Top 30 prospects that became eligible for the Rule 5 draft over the previous three offseasons step into a regular major league role.

2018-19 and beyond

For your edification, here's the rest of the 40-man roster.

Oakland A's free agents after 2018 and beyond
Earliest
FA
year
Service
time
(YY.DDD)
Age in
2016
season
Option years Misc.
2019 LH RP Sean Doolittle 3.122 29 One option year remaining '19, '20 club options
2019 RH SP A.J. Griffin 3.034 28 Two option years remaining
2019 LH RP Drew Pomeranz 3.013 27 Out of options
2020 RH RP Evan Scribner 2.142 30 Out of options Super Two, 2015-16 non-tender candidate
2020 RH RP Dan Otero 2.124 31 One option year remaining Not a Super Two
2020 LHB C/1B/OF Stephen Vogt 2.084 31 Out of options Not a Super Two
2020 RH SP Sonny Gray 2.061 26 Two option years remaining Not a Super Two
2021 RHB SS Marcus Semien 1.118 25 Two option years remaining
2021 RHB C Josh Phegley 1.114 28 One option year remaining
2021 RH SP Jesse Hahn 1.086 26 Two option years remaining
2021 RHB OF Jake Smolinski 1.052 27 Two option years remaining
2021 SHB OF Billy Burns 1.020 26 One option year remaining
2021 RH SP Kendall Graveman 1.014 25 Two option years remaining
2021 RHB 1B/OF Mark Canha 1.000 27 Three option years remaining
2022 RHB INF/OF Tyler Ladendorf 0.132 28 Two option years remaining
2022 RH SP Chris Bassitt 0.127 27 Two option years remaining
2022 LHB INF Max Muncy 0.106 25 Two option years remaining
2022 LH SP Sean Nolin 0.100 26 Out of options #12 MLB.com prospect
2022 RH RP R.J. Alvarez 0.091 25 Two option years remaining #24 MLB.com prospect
2022 RH RP Arnold Leon 0.073 27 Out of options
2022 RH SP Aaron Brooks 0.070 26 One option year remaining
2022 LH RP Daniel Coulombe 0.048 26 Two option years remaining
2022 RHB C Carson Blair 0.034 26 Three option years remaining
2022 RH RP Ryan Dull 0.034 26 Three option years remaining
2022 RHB 1B/3B Rangel Ravelo 0.000 24 Two option years remaining #17 MLB.com prospect, 2015 Triple-A Nashville
2022 RHB 3B/1B Renato Nunez 0.000 22 Two option years remaining #6 MLB.com prospect, 2015 Double-A Midland
2022 RH SP Raul Alcantara 0.000 23 One regular option year + 2017 4th option #14 MLB.com prospect, 2015 High-A Stockton

And the members of the Top 30 prospects that were drafted in 2015:

Eligible for later Rule 5 drafts
First Rule 5
Draft
Eligible (Dec.)
MLB.com
prospect
rank
2015
Level
Age in
2019
Season
RHB SS Richie Martin 2018 4 A- 24
RHB SS/3B Mikey White 2018 15 A 25
SHB OF Skye Bolt 2018 19 A- 25
RH SP Dakota Chalmers 2019 9 Rk 22

★★★

If the A's can start graduating these prospects, especially their position players, into productive roles for the major league club, they will be in great shape and might even have a surplus prospect or two to trade away to fill in the gaps as they arise.

Cot's Contracts was the source for service time information.