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Oakland A’s second round of cuts leaves spring roster at 39

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A.J. Puk will not be on the Opening Day roster.

He’ll be back.
Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Every team enters spring training with way more players than it will end up needing. Between the 40-man roster and a slew of prospects and other non-roster invitees, the Oakland A’s began with 59 players, and they’ll have to cut that number down to 25 by Opening Day.

Their first round of cuts last weekend (plus the addition of free agent Jonathan Lucroy) took them down to 50. On Tuesday they optioned two more players, and Sunday morning they sent another nine down to minor league camp, dropping the spring roster to 39. Here are the cuts from the last week:

Tuesday

  • IF Jorge Mateo
  • OF Ramon Laureano

Sunday

  • RHP Chris Bassitt
  • RHP Kyle Finnegan
  • LHP Erik Jokisch
  • LHP A.J. Puk
  • C Sean Murphy
  • IF Steve Lombardozzi
  • OF Anthony Garcia
  • OF Slade Heathcott
  • OF Nick Martini

(Unrelated note from Sunday: Catcher Josh Phegley broke a pair of fingers and will be out for two weeks, reports insider Jane Lee.)

Four of these guys made our Community Prospect List over the winter. Puk earned the top spot on that list and showed flashes this spring of being a future ace, but the A’s made the correct move by sending him back to the minors instead of rushing him up to a non-contending MLB club. Mateo (No. 3) and Murphy (No. 5) are also among the organization’s best talents, but like Puk they’ve only played a half-season each in the upper minors. Laureano (No. 18) is a solid outfield prospect, but the start of his season will be delayed after breaking a pinky in the Cactus League. Flamethrowing reliever Finnegan didn’t make the CPL, but he’s also an intriguing youngster.

Next up is some pitching depth. Bassitt hasn’t yet found his footing after returning from Tommy John surgery, and it’s not even clear what his role will be moving forward — he’d been “told to prepare to be a starter and then never got a start,” reports Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle. Meanwhile, minor league free agent swingman Jokisch got knocked around throughout the spring.

Finally, the rest of the minor league free agent position player contingent was sent down. None of these guys were expected to land on the Opening Day roster, but they serve as quality depth that can be called on throughout the year if needed. Heathcott got on base well this spring and led the team with five stolen bases, and Garcia hit three homers to tie for second-most on the club. Martini also got on base with the strong plate discipline he’s known for, and Lombardozzi was the worst of the group but still hit .308 in the Cactus League.

Of these cuts, Mateo, Laureano, and Bassitt are the only ones on the 40-man roster, meaning they were officially optioned to Triple-A. The others only needed to be reassigned back to minor league camp. None of these players were in serious contention to make the Opening Day roster, though Puk sure got a long look.

There are now 39 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, lower-minors prospect Jesus Luzardo is set to start Sunday’s game against the White Sox, even though he’s not an NRI and isn’t included in that 39 count.

For the most part, these cuts aren’t big news. None of these names will shock you, and all of them are still part of the Oakland organization; we might even still see some of them appear in Cactus League games. But this is the next step in the long process toward slimming the roster to 25.

Here’s the updated spring roster. Players in italics are non-roster invitees, meaning they’re either CPL prospects or minor league free agent depth. Players in strikethrough have been cut and reassigned to minor league camp. Players with asterisks** have injuries that either kept them out most of spring and/or will keep them out past Opening Day. I’ve included new signing Trevor Cahill, even though he hasn’t officially joined the team yet, so the total players will add up to 40 instead of 39. I’ve left off players who were released entirely from the organization, including Brandon Moss and Jairo Labourt (Moss was replaced on roster by Labourt, who was in turn replaced by Lucroy).

Pitchers Hitters
Starters

Sean Manaea (L)
Kendall Graveman (R)
Daniel Mengden (R)
Andrew Triggs (R)
Paul Blackburn (R)
Daniel Gossett (R)
Jharel Cotton (R)**
Frankie Montas (R)**
A.J. Puk (L)
Grant Holmes (R)
Logan Shore (R)


Relievers

Blake Treinen (R)
Yusmeiro Petit (R)
Ryan Buchter (L)
Emilio Pagan (R)
Chris Hatcher (R)
Liam Hendriks (R)
Trevor Cahill (R)
Santiago Casilla (R)
Ryan Dull (R)**
Danny Coulombe (L)
Raul Alcantara (R)
Chris Bassitt (R)
Lou Trivino (R)
Simon Castro (R)
Kyle Finnegan (R)
Eric Jokisch (L)

Nolan Blackwood (R)
Bobby Wahl (R)
Jeremy Bleich (L)
Jarret Martin (L)
Catchers

Jonathan Lucroy (R)
Bruce Maxwell (L)
Josh Phegley (R)**
Dustin Garneau (R)
Sean Murphy (R)
Beau Taylor (L)
Santiago Chavez (R)


Infielders

Matt Olson (L)
Jed Lowrie (S)
Marcus Semien (R)
Matt Chapman (R)
Chad Pinder (R)
Franklin Barreto (R)
Renato Nunez (R)**
Jorge Mateo (R)
Sheldon Neuse (R)
Steve Lombardozzi (S)
Nick Noonan (L)


Outfielders

Khris Davis (R)
Stephen Piscotty (R)
Matt Joyce (L)
Dustin Fowler (L)
Boog Powell (L)
Jake Smolinski (R)
Mark Canha (R)
Ramon Laureano (R)**
Slade Heathcott (L)
Nick Martini (L)
Anthony Garcia (R)