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Oakland A’s spring training 2017: Fifth round of cuts puts roster at 40

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Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland A’s reassigned five players to minor league camp on Sunday afternoon. They began spring training with 70 players in MLB camp, but this new round of cuts brings that number down to 40 — of course, it needs to be 25 by Opening Day. Here are the five players reassigned on Sunday, including two minor league veterans and three top prospects (number in parentheses is the prospect’s ranking on our Community Prospect List):

  • RHP Chris Smith
  • C Matt McBride
  • RHP Daniel Gossett (#9)
  • C Sean Murphy (#25)
  • 2B Max Schrock (#10)

Also see: 1st round of cuts | 2nd | 3rd | 4th

All five of these players are important in their own ways, but none were relevant to the conversation regarding the Opening Day roster. Furthermore, none are on the 40-man roster, which is why they were “reassigned” to the minors rather than optioned; the three prospects have not yet begun using their option years.

The first two players on the list serve as veteran depth. Smith spent most of 2016 starting in Triple-A, but toward the end of the year he was called on to help the A’s beleaguered bullpen and responded with a couple dozen excellent innings. It was his first MLB action since 2010, and he’ll turn 36 in April, but he proved to be a quality emergency backup. Meanwhile, McBride didn’t hit much last year in his brief MLB callups, but his actual catching ability was fine and at some point you can’t ask for too much out of your 4th-string backstop. He’ll be in Nashville in case Josh Phegley gets hurt.

As for the prospects, the best of the bunch is Gossett. His breakout 2016 campaign, fueled at least in part by a revamped pitch selection, catapulted the former 2nd-round pick from High-A up to Triple-A. He only made a few starts for Nashville last year so he still needs to prove himself at that final minor league stop, but he has a distinct possibility of debuting in Oakland’s rotation later this summer.

Next up is Schrock, who was acquired from Washington at last year’s trade deadline for reliever Marc Rzepczynski. His top skill is that he virtually never strikes out, and that ability to hit for contact has a lot of folks at Athletics Nation dreaming big on him as a sleeper prospect — our CPL has him rated higher than all other sources. Finally, Murphy was a 3rd-round pick in last summer’s draft, and he brings an elite throwing arm behind the plate combined with a chance to be a plus hitter.

*** Also see: Nico interviews Schrock at spring training ***

There are now 40 players in MLB camp, though that doesn’t necessarily mean much for game purposes because extras are often borrowed from minor league camp. For example, on Sunday against the Rockies the A’s starter in RF was Tyler Marincov, a Double-A prospect who is “assigned to [the] Oakland Athletics” according to the team’s transaction logs (along a couple dozen other prospects) but doesn’t count toward that total of 40.

We’re nearing the point where the A’s will have to make some actual roster decisions in their next rounds of cuts. They’re just about out of low-level prospects and backup-backup depth guys, and everyone left has at least a vague outside shot of breaking camp with the team. Remember, four of the 40 remaining players are out of the picture due to long-term injury, so really there are only 11 cuts left to be made in order to take this group down to a 25-man unit for April.

Here’s the full spring training squad. Players in italics are non-roster invitees. Players in strikethrough have been reassigned to minor league camp. Players with **asterisks will miss the start of the season to injury. (Note that some of the injured players could wind up on the 60-day DL, which would make room to add replacements to the 40-man roster.)

Pitchers Hitters
Starters

**Sonny Gray (R)
Sean Manaea (L)
Kendall Graveman (R)
Andrew Triggs (R)
Jharel Cotton (R)
**Daniel Mengden (R)
Raul Alcantara (R)
Jesse Hahn (R)
**Chris Bassitt (R)
Paul Blackburn (R)
Ross Detwiler (L)
**Felix Doubront (L)
Daniel Gossett (R)
Heath Fillmyer (R)
A.J. Puk (L)


Relievers

Ryan Madson (R)
Sean Doolittle (L)
Ryan Dull (R)
Liam Hendriks (R)
Santiago Casilla (R)
John Axford (R)
Daniel Coulombe (L)
Frankie Montas (R)
Bobby Wahl (R)
Michael Brady (R)
Simon Castro (R)
Tucker Healy (R)
Aaron Kurcz (R)
Zach Neal (R)
Chris Smith (R)
Josh Smith (R)
Tyler Sturdevant (R)
Cesar Valdez (R)
Trey Cochran-Gill (R)
Catchers

Stephen Vogt (L)
Josh Phegley (R)
Bruce Maxwell (L)
Ryan Lavarnway (R)
Matt McBride (R)
Sean Murphy (R)


Infielders

Ryon Healy (R)
Trevor Plouffe (R)
Yonder Alonso (L)
Mark Canha (R)
Matt Olson (L)
Renato Nunez (R)
Jed Lowrie (S)
Adam Rosales (R)
Joey Wendle (L)
Chad Pinder (R)
Marcus Semien (R)
Franklin Barreto (R)
Yairo Munoz (R)
Matt Chapman (R)
Jermaine Curtis (R)
Max Muncy (L)
Rangel Ravelo (R)
Josh Rodriguez (R)
Richie Martin (R)
Max Schrock (L)


Outfielders

Khris Davis (R)
Rajai Davis (R)
Matt Joyce (L)
**Jake Smolinski (R)
Jaycob Brugman (L)
Alejandro De Aza (L)
Jaff Decker (L)
Andrew Lambo (L)
Chris Parmelee (L)
Kenny Wilson (R)