The Oakland Athletics' pitchers and catchers report to spring training this Saturday, with the rest of the squad reporting later next week. Here is a a quick look at the host of players that will be at the A's Phoenix facility:
The projected starting rotation, depending largely on where you look, consists of 1. Brandon McCarthy, 2. Bartolo Colon, 3. Dallas Braden, 4. Tom Milone or maybe Brad Peacock or maybe Jarrod Parker or perhaps Graham Godfrey, 5. who knows? This order is probably not correct, and the point is - it's still very up in the air. Add in Brett Anderson still getting healthy and there are a host of talented arms to take up the five spots.
However it shakes up, the remaining staff on the current 40-man roster consists of Grant Balfour, Jerry Blevins, Andrew Carignan, Ryan Cook, Fautino De Los Santos, Joey Devine, Sean Doolittle, Pedro Figueroa, Brian Fuentes, Jordan Norberto, Tyson Ross, and Neil Wagner. Grant Balfour is currently the most probable candidate as the closer but will face competition from Joey Devine, Brian Fuentes and Fautino De Los Santos.
In the field, the A's probably have just as many questions. At first, Brandon Allen, Daric Barton, Chris Carter, Kila Ka'aihue will battle for playing time. At shortstop, Cliff Pennington leads the depth chart, but will face competition from the likes of Adam Rosales and Eric Sogard. Jemile Weeks is locked in at 2nd, while Scott Sizemore is tops at third but will face his share of competition.
In the outfield, Collin Cowgill, Coco Crisp, Jonny Gomes, Jermaine Mitchell, Josh Reddick, Seth Smith, and Michael Taylor will all look to impress. Seth Smith looks to be the frontrunner in left, with Coco Crisp in center and Josh Reddick in right. Of course, Yoenis Cespedes will be in the mix in center, but he is still working out the final details to get himself to camp.
Behind the plate, the presumptive starter is veteran Kurt Suzuki, with Anthony Recker, Derek Norris, and Josh Donaldson all due a look.
That takes care of the 40-man roster, but the A's have also invited 18 non-roster players to the desert with a chance to make the club. On the mound, they'll take a long look at Fabio Castro, Edgar Gonzalez, Sonny Gray, Jim Miller, Travis Schlichting, Evan Scribner, Erick Threets, and Merkin Valdez.
In the field, they'll look at catchers Ryan Ortiz, Landon Powell, and Max Stassi, infielder Wes Timmons, and outfielders Michael Choice, Jeff Fiorentino, Grant Green, Cedric Hunter, Brandon Moss, and Jason Pridie.
The 40-man roster as it stands now and the 18 non-roster invitees don't even make up the whole group that the A's will be evaluating during Spring Training. Toss in newly-signed Cuban OF Yoenis Cespedes and possibly designated hitter Manny Ramirez and you've got a lot of fresh faces and tough decisions.