The Athletics optioned Chris Bassitt and Alex Hassan to Triple-A Nashville and sent them to minor league camp today, leaving the A's with 26 candidates on the 40-man roster with a chance to make the opening day 25-man roster. Josh Reddick will not be activated from the disabled list until April 11 while Coco Crisp is likely to be ready for opening day. Sean Doolittle, Sean Nolin, Jarrod Parker, and Nate Freiman are all injured players facing some extended time to get ready for the season.
From the non-roster invitees, Andy Parrino, Max Muncy, and Luke Carlin were re-assigned to minor league camp. There are just five remaining non-roster invitees: reliever Brock Huntzinger, reliever Pat Venditte, starting pitcher Barry Zito, catcher Bryan Anderson, and outfielder Jason Pridie.
Chris Bassitt's run for the rotation falls well short
Up against all the depth Oakland acquired this offseason, Bassitt was a longshot to make the rotation to begin with despite his experience making five starts for the White Sox last August. Bassitt has been having trouble throwing inside to left-handers, telling MLB.com's Jane Lee on March 23, "All lefties are looking out over the plate, and that's exactly where I'm throwing it. ... I've been working on that my whole life, honestly. ... I was able to beat everyone, but at this level, you can't beat anyone like that."
In five spring appearances, including three starts, Bassitt has given up 13 runs in 13⅓ innings for an 8.78 ERA, mostly against major league hitters. He's also given up two home runs and walked four, though he has struck out nine batters.
Alex Hassan's hamstring hamstrung opportunities
Outfielder Alex Hassan, claimed off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles on February 27, was held out of games since March 12 with a hamstring injury. He returned to start on March 28 to go 2-for-2, including an infield single. However, he ultimately only got 19 plate appearances this spring, mostly in the late innings. He went 8-for-18 with a double and two strikeouts.
Max Muncy impresses
Infielder Max Muncy was given a mix of starts and late-inning substitutions over 22 games and 41 plate appearances. The fifth round selection of the 2012 draft got numerous opportunities to show that he could play a capable third base this spring after coming up primarily as a first baseman. He was 12-for-32 with seven walks and five strikeouts, and hit two home runs.
As always, I would never read too much into spring statistics, but look for Muncy to be in the conversation if injuries require looking outside the 40-man roster for a callup.
Andy Parrino still Andy Parrino
From what I have seen of Parrino, he's still the same light-hitting excellent-defending infielder we know him to be. He's batted 9-for-57 with four doubles, four walks, and 11 strikeouts.
Journeyman Luke Carlin an excellent depth piece
34-year-old catcher Luke Carlin appeared in 14 spring games, mostly in the last innings, and effectively served as Barry Zito's personal catcher this spring. Carlin did hit 6-for-22 in 28 plate appearances, drawing five walks and striking out seven times. He only has 156 major league plate appearances in his career, where he is .179/.263/.286.
Still, catchers face all sorts of bumps and bruises all the time, and the switch-hitting Carlin should look out for a call to Oakland if Stephen Vogt or Josh Phegley need extended time off. With Bryan Anderson remaining in camp, he's putatively fourth on the depth chart.
Who's the last man?
It's doubtful any of the remaining non-roster invitees are going to continue on to the opening day roster, which means the last spot comes down to Tyler Ladendorf and Billy Burns. While both have impressed in spring, Ladendorf's versatility playing on the infield and outfield as well as a deeper track record of demolishing left-handed pitching going back to last season gives him the edge.
Ladendorf's stay will probably be brief, however, with Josh Reddick returning on April 11 to let Ben Zobrist return to become primarily the everyday second baseman.
Otherwise, the opening day roster seems pretty well set with this configuration:
- Top four starters (4): Sonny Gray (R), Jesse Hahn (R), Scott Kazmir (L), Kendall Graveman (R)
- #5 starter/long reliever (2): Drew Pomeranz (L), Jesse Chavez (R)
- Right-handed relievers (4): Tyler Clippard (interim closer), Dan Otero, R.J. Alvarez, Evan Scribner
- Left-handed relievers (2): Eric O'Flaherty, Fernando Abad
- Catchers (2): Stephen Vogt, Josh Phegley
- Infielders (8): Billy Butler, Mark Canha, Ike Davis, Tyler Ladendorf, Brett Lawrie, Marcus Semien, Eric Sogard, Ben Zobrist
- Outfielders (3): Coco Crisp, Sam Fuld, Craig Gentry