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Oakland A’s set 28-man roster ahead of Japan opener

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After the two Japan games, they’ll cut down to 25 players as usual.

Not everybody in this photo made the cut.
Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s set their 28-man roster for the season-opening games in Japan, the team announced Tuesday.

Normally, regular season rosters are limited to 25 players, but the A’s and Mariners are allowed to start with 28 for these two international games. However, only 25 of the players are actually eligible to play in the games, while the other three will be inactive and don’t even need to be present in Japan. Both teams will eventually need to cut down to the normal 25-man roster before the beginning of the proper regular season next week.

Here is the roster, with the three inactive players in italics (SPs Anderson, Bassitt, Brooks):

Oakland A's 28-man roster
Pitchers Hitters
Starters (6)

Mike Fiers (R)
Marco Estrada (R)
-Brett Anderson (L)
Frankie Montas (R)
-Aaron Brooks (R)
-Chris Bassitt (R)

Relievers (9)

Blake Treinen (R)
Joakim Soria (R)
Lou Trivino (R)
Fernando Rodney (R)
Ryan Buchter (L)
Yusmeiro Petit (R)
Liam Hendriks (R)
J.B. Wendelken (R)
Ryan Dull (R)
Catchers (2)

Josh Phegley (R)
Nick Hundley (R)

Infielders (6)

Matt Chapman (R)
Matt Olson (L)
Marcus Semien (R)
Jurickson Profar (S)
Chad Pinder (R)
Franklin Barreto (R)

Outfielders (5)

Khris Davis (R)
Stephen Piscotty (R)
Ramon Laureano (R)
Robbie Grossman (S)
Mark Canha (R)

10-day IL: RHP Jharel Cotton (TJS), OF Nick Martini (knee)
60-day IL: RHP Daniel Gossett (TJS), LHP Sean Manaea (shoulder), C Chris Herrmann (knee)

A couple corresponding moves were required to make all this happen. Catcher Nick Hundley needed to be added to the 40-man roster, and to make room fellow catcher Chris Herrmann was placed on the 60-day injured list. In addition, pitcher Jharel Cotton and outfielder Nick Martini were placed on the 10-day injured list.

As for the names left out, they now comprise the fifth round of cuts from proverbial spring camp. The A’s began the spring with 63 players, but now eight more have moved to the minors or the IL. Here’s the list:

  • LHP Jerry Blevins
  • RHP Jharel Cotton
  • LHP Jesus Luzardo
  • C Chris Herrmann
  • C Sean Murphy
  • IF Eric Campbell
  • IF Cliff Pennington
  • OF Nick Martini

A few of these players are injured and were long out of the running for Opening Day spots. Cotton is still recovering from Tommy John surgery and isn’t expected back for a couple more months yet, while Martini entered camp healthy but then missed much of the spring to a sprained knee (but shouldn’t be out long). Herrmann just had his own knee surgery earlier this month, so now that he’s on the 60-day IL we know that his timetable will be at least two months.

Blevins looked like a front-runner to make the team out of spring, with an opt-out clause in his minor league contract and a bullpen desperate for a second lefty. However, the 35-year-old had a rough Cactus League, and for now he apparently didn’t make the cut. He’s still in the picture, though, with a new opt-out chance at the end of April, reports Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle.

The two infielders, Campbell and Pennington, were signed as minor league free agents this winter. They profile as veteran depth for the Triple-A lineup, but if the A’s find themselves in an emergency this summer then at least there are a couple of experienced hands available to step up.

And then there are the prospects, both of them Top 100 national names who possess impact talent. Luzardo had an excellent spring and is clearly going to arrive sometime in 2019, with the question just being how long before he gets the call. Murphy was always slated for Triple-A, where he’s played a total of three games, but Oakland has left the catching position wide open for him this summer whenever he’s ready to make the jump.

Hot takes: The biggest surprise to me is Blevins. I’d have been willing to ignore a horrific spring if the team wasn’t worried about it, but this omission is notable. Leaving him off the roster means eschewing a second lefty reliever entirely for now, and in favor of righties who have options remaining. However, knowing now that he has another opt-out clause in just a few weeks, this feels more like simply kicking the can down the road and delaying a final decision on him a bit longer.

The only other cut who was still realistically in the running is Luzardo, and really this doesn’t necessarily end his chance of making the team — he didn’t travel to Japan, so he wasn’t going to pitch in these games either way. Theoretically he could still be added to the 40-man roster next week if the A’s want him on the Opening Day squad.

Fun fact: “Fernando Rodney is the oldest player on an Opening Day roster in Oakland history at the age of 42 years, 2 days … according to [Elias Sports Bureau], he is the oldest on an A’s Opening Day roster since Bobo Newsom of the Philadelphia A’s in 1953 (45 years, 246 days).” - Mike Selleck, A’s Baseball Info Manager

Previous cuts: 1st round | 2nd round | 3rd round | 4th round

As for the Mariners, here is the roster they will field this week against Oakland (via insider Greg Johns). Seattle will start lefties Gonzales and Kikuchi in these two games:

  • SP: Marco Gonzales (L), Yusei Kikuchi (L), Mike Leake (R), Wade LeBlanc (L), Felix Hernandez (R)
  • RP: Hunter Strickland (R) (closer), Dan Altavilla (R), Chasen Bradford (R), Brandon Brennan (R), Roenis Elias (L), Matt Festa (R), Cory Gearrin (R), Zac Rosscup (L), Nick Rumbelow (R)
  • C: Omar Narvaez, David Freitas
  • IF: Edwin Encarnacion, Dee Gordon, Tim Beckham, Ryon Healy, Dylan Moore, Daniel Vogelbach
  • OF: Mitch Haniger, Domingo Santana, Ichiro Suzuki, Jay Bruce, Mallex Smith, Braden Bishop
  • Inactive: Leake and Felix (SPs who weren’t pitching anyway), and Smith (minor injury)
  • Injured list: RHP Shawn Armstrong (oblique), RHP Gerson Bautista (pectoral), RHP Anthony Swarzak (shoulder), RHP Sam Tuivailala (Achilles), 3B Kyle Seager (hand)

Opening Day lineups have been announced! Here they are.