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Oakland A’s roster and payroll update after flurry of December moves

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Snapshot after the first wave of action entering 2019.

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s took their time getting started with their offseason, but they suddenly kicked into gear in the week before Christmas. After nearly two months of patience, with the Athletics Nation community growing more restless by the day, the team made three big moves to fill crucial roster holes with excellent targets.

Here are the recent transactions:

  • Signed RP Joakim Soria for 2yr/$15M. He effectively replaces setup man Jeurys Familia, who left as a free agent and signed with the Mets for twice as much money. Soria is better, though.
  • Acquired IF Jurickson Profar from Rangers. He replaces second baseman Jed Lowrie, who left as a free agent and is still looking for his next home. Lowrie was a 5-WAR All-Star last year, but Profar is good too and still improving. He’s a decade younger, costs around one-third of Lowrie’s expected salary, and was acquired so cheaply he was almost free.
  • Re-signed SP Mike Fiers for 2yr/$14M. He’s a competent starter who can eat some innings and is coming off one of his best seasons. The A’s initially turned him down for an arbitration price tag approaching $10 million, but they brought him back at a lower annual rate that more properly fits the value of his production.

In addition to all that, the A’s also signed catcher Chris Herrmann for 1yr/$1M at the Winter Meetings a couple weeks ago. That gives them a new starter, setup man, second baseman, and catcher, which was most of their likely shopping list for the offseason. What’s more, the reliever and 2B were downright bargains, as they have every chance to be better than their predecessors will be in 2019 but on much smaller contracts.

There is still more room on the pitching staff, both for starers and maybe a second lefty reliever. However, Billy Beane says the “focus (is) now solely on starting pitching” rather than relievers or position players, reports Martin Gallegos of the East Bay Times.

All of these moves mean it’s time for a roster update. First off, here’s the 40-man roster, which currently features 39 players. The ones in italics have not yet debuted in MLB.

Oakland A's 40-man roster
Pitchers Hitters
Starters

Mike Fiers (R)
Daniel Mengden (R)
Chris Bassitt (R)
Frankie Montas (R)
Tanner Anderson (R)
Paul Blackburn (R)
Jharel Cotton (R)
Sean Manaea (L)
Daniel Gossett (R)
Grant Holmes (R)
James Kaprielian (R)


Relievers

Blake Treinen (R)
Joakim Soria (R)
Lou Trivino (R)
Fernando Rodney (R)
Ryan Buchter (L)
Yusmeiro Petit (R)
Liam Hendriks (R)
Andrew Triggs (R)
J.B. Wendelken (R)
Ryan Dull (R)
Aaron Brooks (R)
Catchers

Chris Herrmann (L)
Josh Phegley (R)

Infielders

Matt Chapman (R)
Matt Olson (L)
Marcus Semien (R)
Jurickson Profar (S)
Franklin Barreto (R)
Jorge Mateo (R)

Outfielders

Khris Davis (R)
Stephen Piscotty (R)
Ramon Laureano (R)
Mark Canha (R)
Chad Pinder (R)
Nick Martini (L)
Dustin Fowler (L)
Luis Barrera (L)
Skye Bolt (S)

And here’s the 40-man in depth chart form. AAA is just short-hand for minors, even if it’s a prospect who will actually be lower than Triple-A. Likewise, DL simply denotes that the player is injured and shouldn’t be counted on as part of the Opening Day plan; there isn’t literally a disabled list during the offseason. TAX is for the taxi relievers, the optionable arms who will spend time in the minors but are really more a loophole extension of the 25-man unit.

Note that players who are out of options are listed on the 25-man roster because it’s the only possible outcome if they stay on the 40-man. I’ve also included top prospect Jesus Luzardo since it’s clear that he’s a factor this spring, even though he’s not on the roster yet. Therefore, there are 40 names on this version.

Oakland A's 40-man depth
Pitchers Hitters
Starters

1:
2: Mike Fiers (R)
3: Daniel Mengden (R)
4: Chris Bassitt (R)
5: Frankie Montas (R)
AAA: Tanner Anderson (R)
AAA: Paul Blackburn (R)
AAA: Grant Holmes (R)
AAA: James Kaprielian (R)
((AAA/NRI: Jesus Luzardo (L)))
DL: Jharel Cotton (R)
DL: Daniel Gossett (R)
DL: Sean Manaea (L)


Relievers

CL: Blake Treinen (R)
SU: Joakim Soria (R)
SU: Lou Trivino (R)
SU: Fernando Rodney (R)
SU: Ryan Buchter (L)
MI: Yusmeiro Petit (R)
MI: Liam Hendriks (R)
LNG: Aaron Brooks (R)
TAX: Ryan Dull (R)
TAX: J.B. Wendelken (R)
TAX: Andrew Triggs (R)
Catchers

1: Chris Herrmann (L)
2: Josh Phegley (R)
AAA:

Infielders

1B: Matt Olson (L)
2B: Jurickson Profar (S)
SS: Marcus Semien (R)
3B: Matt Chapman (R)
AAA: Franklin Barreto (R)
AAA: Jorge Mateo (R)


Outfielders

DH: Khris Davis (R)
RF: Stephen Piscotty (R)
CF: Ramon Laureano (R)
LF1: Nick Martini (L)
LF2: Mark Canha (R)
UT: Chad Pinder (R)
AAA: Dustin Fowler (L)
AAA: Luis Barrera (L)
AAA: Skye Bolt (S)

Looking at it that way, the only real hole left is in the rotation. However, Brooks probably isn’t really part of the bullpen plan, so we’ll see how that shakes out (whether in terms of another surprise addition, or a swingman SP moving to the pen, or a taxi guy moving up permanently). The emergency third catcher (Beau Taylor?) can be added to the roster later when the injured SPs shift over to the 60-day DL.

On the pitching staff, also note a couple reassignments. Tanner Anderson is in the rotation section now since he’ll be tried out as a starter, and Andrew Triggs is down in the bullpen section since he will move back to relief. Since Triggs has options remaining (not to mention injury rust to shake off), he’s listed on the Triple-A taxi squad for now, essentially taking the spot vacated by the Emilio Pagan (traded for Profar).

Next up is the payroll. We don’t know exactly what the budget will be, but we know it will go up some amount from last year’s $70 million — in fact, it has already done so by quite a bit. Here is the current projected total, using arbitration estimates from MLBTR for the remaining unresolved cases.

Oakland A's 2019 payroll
Name Pos $M
Stephen Piscotty OF 7.3
Joakim Soria RHP 6.5
Mike Fiers RHP 6.0
Yusmeiro Petit RHP 5.5
Fernando Rodney RHP 5.3
Liam Hendriks RHP 2.2
Josh Phegley C 1.1
Chris Herrmann C 1.0
Ryan Dull RHP 0.9
Arbitration estimates
Khris Davis DH 18.1
Marcus Semien SS 6.6
Blake Treinen RHP 5.8
Sean Manaea (DL) LHP 3.8
Jurickson Profar IF 3.4
Mark Canha OF 2.1
Ryan Buchter LHP 1.3
Other stuff
10 more players -- 7.5
Moss buyout -- 1.0
TOTAL -- 85.4

Note: The “rest of roster” minimum salaries are calculated by Baseball-Reference at an average of $750K. I’ve added an extra one to take the roster to 26, since Manaea will definitely need a replacement.

Finally, let’s wrap this up with an updated look at the full org depth chart. Players are generally listed at the level where they meaningfully finished the season (with the main exception being some September call-ups sent back down to Triple-A), so you can expect a lot of the minor leaguers to move up a level next spring. I’ve done my best to clean out all the free agents, but it’s possible there are still a couple stray details in the lower minors, so feel free to point any out if you see them. As usual, Triple-A is split between those who have and have not debuted in the bigs.