A Look at the Roster (Updated)
by Ken Arneson
2007-03-27 19:31

Joe Kennedy probably put a clamp down on the A’s fifth starter’s job today by pitching five innings, allowing only one run, and striking out nine. And since Rule 5 acquisition Jay Marshall, by all accounts, has won himself a job in the pen, the roster is pretty much set now. The only question remaining is whether Bobby Kielty will be ready by opening day, or will have to start the year on the DL. If he does, there might be room for Erubiel Durazo, who played great all spring, but otherwise doesn’t have a open spot to play.

Update:  Susan Slusser reports that Dan Johnson was seen hobbling with a "tweak" in his hip, which may provide another opening for Durazo to make the opening day roster.

Here’s a look at the Athletics’ roster, as I see it, with some commentary about each player’s status. Includes only 40-man roster, plus Durazo:

Dan Haren New cutter was supposed to help cut down on the number of gopher balls Haren coughs up, but it hasn’t seemed to have worked in Arizona.
Esteban Loaiza Got good results in his last start, but his velocity was way down, so there are concerns. Still complaining about his shoulder "not getting loose".
Rich Harden Yowza.
Joe Blanton He’s pretty much been Joe Blanton. Move along.
Joe Kennedy Terrible in spring until today’s start, which probably won him the 5th starters job.
Huston Street Been awesome all spring.
Justin Duchscherer Missed most of March with triceps tendonitis, but has pitched well since returning this week.
Kiko Calero Great all spring.
Alan Embree Coughed up a couple runs in his last outing, but otherwise has been quite good.
Chad Gaudin Got stretched out to pitch three innings yesterday. The A’s won’t have a long reliever given this roster, so Gaudin might be called on to pitch multiple innings.
Jay Witasick Last year was a lost year due to injury, but he’s looked good and healthy this spring. Been joking about a new trick pitch, but it’s probably just a joke.
Jay Marshall Rule 5er won himself a job. He’s a lefty sidearmer, so you figure he’d be a LOOGY, but he’s pitched multiple innings, and gotten right-handed batters out in the Cactus League, too.
Sent To Minors  
Santiago Casilla His prospect days are over, methinks. He’s been passed up by Marcus McBeth, Mike Marshall and Connor Robertson as A’s relief prospects. I’m kinda surprised he hasn’t been traded yet.
Lenny DiNardo Pitched well in camp. Probably would have won the 5th starter job if Kennedy hadn’t come through today.
Scott Dunn Minor league free agent signing didn’t impress much in camp, and was sent down early.
Ron Flores Flores, Marshall and Halsey were basically battling for one spot, but only one of them couldn’t be sent to Sacramento, and it wasn’t Flores.
Shane Komine He doesn’t quite seem ready to get major leaguers out yet. Give him some more time in Sacramento.
Marcus McBeth He’ll be in Oakland in 2008, if not sooner. Converted position player just needs some more seasoning.
Dan Meyer He impressed early in camp, but nobody ever talked about him again. I think the shoulder probably won’t be fully recovered from the surgery for another couple months. It would be nice if he could return to his pre-injury form and make the Tim Hudson trade worthwhile.
David Shafer The booty for Kirk Saarloos didn’t impress much in camp, and was sent down early.
Brad Halsey Halsey still has an option, so he’s another casualty of Jay Marshall’s success.
Jason Windsor Bob Geren said he wanted to see better control from Windsor. He seems like he’s still a half-year or so from being ready.
Starting Lineup  
C Jason Kendall Hasn’t hit much in spring. Probably doesn’t matter.
1B Dan Johnson Johnson was one of the big question marks going into spring training. Were his struggles last year just because of his eye problem, or is he really a AAAA player? He had a good spring, and earned himself another shot at the job.
2B Mark Ellis Ellis hasn’t hit much in the spring. PECOTA projects Ellis to have a great year with the bat, but I’m not quite so optimistic. I think he’ll have a year more like 2006 than 2005.
3B Eric Chavez Spring Training is especially meaningless with Chavez, because he doesn’t even use the same swing he uses during the season. Last year was the one year he used the same swing in spring and in the season, and he got off to a great start, but got hurt. This year, expect a slow start again, but hopefully, better health.
SS Bobby Crosby Crosby wasn’t ready to play when spring training began, but has played this past week, and looked pretty good.
LF Shannon Stewart Looks recovered from the plantar fasciitis that plagued him two of the past three years. Has had a great OBP all spring.
CF Milton Bradley Been awesome all spring.
RF Nick Swisher Started out slowly, but has been raking for about a week or so. He’s ready.
DH Mike Piazza Piazza looks great. He’s ready, too.
IF Marco Scutaro Scutaro played all winter, so he’s sharp.
IF-OF Antonio Perez Perez has taken up the outfield, to increase the number of ways he can get into the lineup. Made a great catch this weekend. Has also been mashing the ball, in contrast to his horrible year at the plate in 2006.
OF Bobby Kielty Just got back in the batter’s box after knee surgery. Not quite ready to field yet. Might start year on DL.
C Adam Melhuse The A’s like Melhuse as a backup catcher. However, if Kendall went down for an extended time, I’ll bet the A’s would bring up Kurt Suzuki and give him the playing time, because the A’s like Melhuse as a backup catcher.
Sent To Minors  
Jeremy Brown I don’t think he’ll ever get much of a shot in Oakland. And Suzuki’s going to get the playing time in Sacramento, so I don’t even think he’ll get much of a shot in Sacramento, either. Still, he’s on the 40-man roster, and Suzuki isn’t.
Donnie Murphy Claimed off waivers from the Royals, he’s looked pretty good after an injury-plagued season last year.
Javier Herrera Just back from Tommy John surgery. Trying to get career back on track.
Erubiel Durazo He’s hit great all spring, and played pretty good defense, too. There’s just no room for him on the roster with Piazza there. I suppose he could make the team if Kielty starts the year on the DL. He apparently has the right to become a free agent if he doesn’t make the roster.
Rule 5 Return  
Ryan Goleski Struck out a lot. Might be able to keep him, however, because Cleveland didn’t disclose an injury when the A’s drafted him, so maybe there’s some sort of deal to be made as compensation.
Disabled List  
Mark Kotsay Back surgery, back in June or so.
Comments: 6
1.   doppelganger
2007-03-27 16:33

1.  "Perez has taken up the outfield, to increase the number of ways he can get into the lineup."
Aaaiaaaaiaaigh! The horror!

-I think Durazo will make the roster, with Kielty starting on the DL or in AAA for a few games.
-When did Suzuki pass Brown? Was his 06 season really good?
-Do you think we'll see a Johnson/Kielty platoon at first, with Swisher playing first and Kielty in RF against lefties?

2.   Ken Arneson
2007-03-27 16:56

2.  1 Suzuki played in AA last year, and will play in AAA this year. He made good progress offensively, and huge progress defensively. Hardball Times had a study that showed Suzuki was the best catcher in the minors at throwing out runners.

I would expect such a a Johnson/Kielty platoon, yes. I suspect however, that Stewart will need some days off from time to time to rest his feet. That's where having Perez play outfield helps, because you want to avoid having Kielty bat left-handed if you can help it.

3.   Johan
2007-03-28 02:58

3.  Are you speculating about keeping Goleski due to the undisclosed injury, or has that been discussed elsewhere as something on the table?

4.   Ken Arneson
2007-03-28 09:26

4.  3 Well, it sounded to me like the A's were not too upset with the Indians over this issue, and the Indians were apologetic. That sounds to me like they came to some sort of agreement about what to do about it.

I'm not sure if that means the A's would get to keep Goleski in the minors, or that the A's would get to keep the money they spent to pick him. But I'm pretty sure the A's would get to keep something.

5.   bsinhaucd
2007-03-30 08:04

5.  don't forget about lou merloni.

6.   Ken Arneson
2007-03-31 11:51

6.  Merloni's not on the 40-man roster, that's why I didn't include him.

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