The A’s made their final roster moves as we head into Opening Day on Monday. And there were definitely a few surprises.
This was the biggest surprise move as the A’s designated Jack Cust for assignment, passing over him in favor of Eric Chavez as the team’s left-handed DH.
Cust will have to clear waivers (he probably will) and accept an assignment to Triple-A Sacramento to stay on the team. And he likely will accept that assignment so he can still collect his $2.65 million paycheck.
Cust is pissed, and understandably so. He signed with the A’s as a free agent (after they non-tendered him) certainly thinking he’d be playing in Oakland, not Sacramento. And the other thing he has over the team’s Opening Day DH is that he has been healthy the past three years.
But who is the better option, ability-wise? It’s a crap shoot as far as I can see. And after trying Chavez at third base, shortstop, and first base this spring, they must have come to the conclusion that his value is in his bat and they’d be better off using some real utility guys to back up the infield.
Jake Fox makes the team as the backup catcher and a corner outfielder, but he very well may see himself as DH against LHP as well.
Coco Crisp’s broken pinkie puts him on the DL, so Travis Buck makes the team and will start in left field until Crisp comes back. I’ll be rooting for Buck to get off to a good start so that he sticks around this year.
We’ve also go Rajaii Davis in center and Ryan Sweeney in right, with Gabe Gross as the fourth outfielder.
Daric Barton’s hot spring lands him the full-time first base job and probably helped push Cust out, as the A’s need Barton in there every day, leaving less options for Chavez. Barton got on base a .493 clip this spring and is the best defensive first baseman the A’s have, by far. Maybe this is the year he finally breaks out and fulfills the potential that had us so excited about acquiring him in the Mark Mulder deal.
Adam Rosales also made the team, after speculation that he wouldn’t for the sole reason that he still has options remaining. Cliff Pennington will be the starting shortstop but Rosales had a good spring, and if Pennington struggles, Rosales will be ready to jump in.
Kevin Kouzmanoff at third, Mark Ellis at second, and Kurt Suzuki at catcher round out the infield, with Eric Patterson as another backup.
Trevor Cahill begins the season on the DL so the fifth starter battle goes to Gio Gonzalez by default.
Though, was it really by default? Gonzalez’s spring stats were clearly superior to Cahill’s, and sending him to AAA or the bullpen would have just seems all kinds of wrong. I just wonder what the A’s are so afraid about when it comes to sending Cahill to AAA, which they should have done last year.
Ben Sheets gets the Opening Day ball, followed by Dallas Braden, Justin Duchscherer, and Brett Anderson.
DL stints for Michael Wuertz and Joey Devine mean someome’s going to work his way into the bullpen unexpectedly, and that someone is rookie Tyson Ross. He makes the team as a middle reliever after a stellar spring in which he struck out 12 in 9 2/3 innings. Hey, it worked last year with Andrew Bailey, right?
Brad Ziegler and Craig Breslow will be back in setup roles. Then Chad Gaudin, Jerry Blevins, and Edwar Ramirez make up the rest of the patchwork bullpen.
Tomorrow’s game starts at 9 p.m. central, and I’ll be live-blogging it, as long as MLB.tv is working!