Spring training 2021 is here! Oakland A’s pitchers and catchers began working out on Wednesday, and the rest of the team will be close behind them.
With the sport beginning to stir from its winter slumber, here’s a quick guide to following the green and gold while they warm up down in Mesa, Arizona.
First up: Who is actually on the A’s now? They lost eight players to free agency over the winter and traded away several more. And Nate Orf retired.
Here’s what the roster looks like now.
There are 39 members at the moment, but there are also two new free agents about to join the list, so someone else will have to be removed at some point. Update: One of the free agents was officially announced, and then they signed two more a few hours after this post was published. Now the roster is at 40, with three pending additions that will require corresponding cuts.
Players in --italics haven’t yet debuted in MLB, and those with asterisks** are Rule 5 draft picks who can’t be sent down to the minors.
Chris Bassitt (R)
Jesus Luzardo (L)
Sean Manaea (L)
Frankie Montas (R)
Mike Fiers (R)
Cole Irvin (L)
A.J. Puk (L)
Paul Blackburn (R)
Daulton Jefferies (R)
James Kaprielian (R)
—Grant Holmes (R)
Jake Diekman (L)
Sergio Romo (R)
J.B. Wendelken (R)
Adam Kolarek (L)
Nik Turley (L)
Dany Jimenez (R)**
Burch Smith (R)
Lou Trivino (R)
Jordan Weems (R)
—Wandisson Charles (R)
—Miguel Romero (R)
(Yusmeiro Petit) (R)
(Trevor Rosenthal) (R)
Sean Murphy (R)
Austin Allen (L)
Aramis Garcia (R)
Matt Chapman (R)
Matt Olson (L)
Elvis Andrus (R)
Chad Pinder (R)
Tony Kemp (L)
Vimael Machin (L)
Mark Canha (R)
Ramon Laureano (R)
Stephen Piscotty (R)
—Ka'ai Tom (L)**
Skye Bolt (S)
Seth Brown (L)
Dustin Fowler (L)
—Luis Barrera (L)
—Greg Deichmann (L)
(Mitch Moreland) (L)
For more info on a few new arrivals, click the links on their names: Rosenthal, Moreland, Andrus/Garcia, Romo, Kolarek, Irvin, Turley, Jimenez, and Tom.
But wait! Those aren’t the only players in camp. There are also 23 non-roster invitees, mixed between prospects and minor league free agent depth signings.
Parker Dunshee (R)
Brian Howard (R)
Trey Supak (R)
Domingo Acevedo (R)
Cristian Alvarado (R)
Argenis Angulo (R)
Matt Blackham (R)
Ben Bracewell (R)
Montana DuRapau (R)
Reymin Guduan (L)
Deolis Guerra (R)
Brian Schlitter (R)
Kyle McCann (L)
Francisco Pena (R)
Carlos Perez (R)
Tyler Soderstrom (L)
Nick Allen (R)
Pete Kozma (R)
Jed Lowrie (S)
Frank Schwindel (R)
Jacob Wilson (R)
Buddy Reed (S)
Cody Thomas (L)
Who are they?
- Soderstrom, Allen, Reed, Dunshee, Howard, McCann, and Thomas are all prospects who can either already or soon be read about in our Community Prospect List.
- Acevedo, Alvarado, Angulo, Blackham, DuRapau, and Supak are minor league signings and you can read about them here.
- You can also learn more about Lowrie, Kozma, and Guerra.
- Schlitter has pitched for the A’s in the past and been in the organization since 2019, and Bracewell has been in the system since 2014 but not yet made the bigs.
There’s also one more group of players. Per Melissa Lockard of The Athletic, the team “will have 10 prospects in their spring training ‘bubble’ who will workout at the team facility and be available to fill-in for spring games.”
Bryce Conley (R)
Jeff Criswell (R)
Matt Milburn (R)
Colin Peluse (R)
Zach Johnson (R)
Eric Marinez (R)
Drew Millas (S)
Collin Theroux (R)
Logan Davidson (S)
Edwin Diaz (R)
That makes 33 non-roster players we might see, in addition to whoever ends up on the 40-man after Petit and Romo are added.
Roster battles: Keep a particular eye on second base as well as the general lefty OF/DH department. We also don’t know who the backup catcher will be, and of course there are always bullpen spots up for grabs.
In terms of reporting and beginning workouts, that got started Wednesday (Feb. 17), for just the pitchers and catchers. The rest of the club will officially begin stretching out next Monday (Feb. 22).
Cactus League games get going at the end of February. The schedule was tweaked slightly from what was originally announced last fall, including the elimination of split-squad contests, and you can see the updated slate below.
A limited number of tickets are available for fans to attend these games, at reduced capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic. Click here to purchase through the team’s site.
Here’s the schedule in text form, with all times Pacific:
- Sun 2/28: vs. Dodgers, 12:05 p.m.
- Mon 3/1: vs. Reds, 12:05 p.m.
- Tue 3/2: @ Brewers, 12:10 p.m.
- Wed 3/3: @ Rockies, 12:10 p.m.
- Thu 3/4: OFF DAY
- Fri 3/5: vs. Angels, 12:05 p.m.
- Sat 3/6: @ Mariners, 12:10 p.m.
- Sun 3/7: vs. Indians, 12:05 p.m.
- Mon 3/8: @ Royals, 12:05 p.m.
- Tue 3/9: @ Cubs, 12:05 p.m.
- Wed 3/10: vs. Brewers, 12:05 p.m.
- Thu 3/11: @ Rangers, 12:05 p.m.
- Fri 3/12: vs. Padres, 12:05 p.m.
- Sat 3/13: @ Reds, 5:05 p.m.
- Sun 3/14: vs. White Sox, 1:05 p.m.
- Mon 3/15: @ Indians, 1:05 p.m.
- Tue 3/16: @ Diamondbacks, 1:10 p.m.
- Wed 3/17: vs. Royals, 1:05 p.m.
- Thu 3/18: @ Padres, 1:10 p.m.
- Fri 3/19: vs. Cubs, 1:05 p.m.
- Sat 3/20: @ Angels, 1:10 p.m.
- Sun 3/21: OFF DAY
- Mon 3/22: vs. Diamondbacks, 1:05 p.m.
- Tue 3/23: vs. Rockies, 1:05 p.m.
- Wed 3/24: @ White Sox, 1:05 p.m.
- Thu 3/25: vs. Mariners, 1:05 p.m.
- Fri 3/26: @ Dodgers, 6:05 p.m.
- Sat 3/27: vs. Rangers, 1:05 p.m.
- Sun 3/28: @ Giants, 1:05 p.m.
- Mon 3/29: vs. Giants, 12:05 p.m.
The annual Bay Bridge Series against San Francisco will be held in Arizona, instead of in the Bay Area as normal.
The first day of camp brought a few early updates.
The injury report wasted no time firing up. There are already two health issues before camp even got started, though Frankie Montas (COVID) and Sean Murphy (lung) are both currently expected to return to action during the spring.
In more positive injury news, the team’s No. 1 prospect A.J. Puk is back on the mound after missing all of 2020.
A.J. Puk impressed in his first session today. Melvin: "I think surgery really did a lot for him. He just looked free and easy. He told me that he feels great. He's in great shape. The ball had a lot of life. He looked really good."— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) February 17, 2021
Puk’s role in 2021 is still yet to be determined, though.
Melvin says A's are "still kind of figuring out what we’re going to do" with AJ Puk this season. "We’re going to try to build him up as a starter. Whether or not we use him out of the bullpen or in a starting role, we’re not sure yet."— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) February 17, 2021
It’s going to be a long season for pitchers around the league, but the A’s aren’t getting creative yet.
Forst says the A's have not discussed a six-man rotation at this point. Reiterates that A.J. Puk could be a starter or reliever and they'll evaluate where he can have the most impact on the team.— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) February 17, 2021
Meanwhile, a bit of veteran leadership is returning with the free agents re-signed by the A’s
Chris Bassitt on Yusmeiro Petit: "We had three leaders on our team and lost two. I was like, 'We can't lose Petit.' .. He's kind of the dad of the bunch that barks at us and keeps us in shape when we need to calm down. Getting Petit back is way bigger than I think people know."— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) February 17, 2021
Baseball is back!
Let's work. pic.twitter.com/tyyPmtnpiz— Oakland A's (@Athletics) February 17, 2021