This will be a recurring series outlining the different aspects of the A’s roster. I will preview what the outfield, infield, bench, starting rotation, and bullpen will look like culminating in a preview of what the opening day roster might look like. This series will use the currently active 40 man roster. I will post the links to previous parts of the series here.The A’s current 40 man roster contains eight outfielders. This includes: Michael Taylor, Chris Young, Coco Crisp, Yoenis Céspedes, Josh Reddick, Grant Green (who could also be considered an infielder), Shane Peterson, and Seth Smith. Reddick, Smith, and Peterson account for the left handed hitters in the bunch, while Crisp is a switch hitter.
The Green and Gold have enviable depth in the outfield. With Young, Crisp, Céspedes, and Reddick they have four starting caliber centerfielders. This depth leaves them in good position if someone is to get injured, is slumping, or needs a day off. Along with the DH position, the A’s can make this logjam (those four and Seth Smith) work for them. Another good reason for depth is if the A’s need to make a deal at the deadline for some reason they can trade from the depth to improve another part of the roster.
There are two players to keep an eye on; Reddick and Young. Reddick had a breakout year last year, but he needs to replicate that success this season as well. There’s no questioning his defense, but his offense was a pleasant surprise for the A’s. Reddick did slump towards the end of last season so he will need to prove he is no fluke in 2013. As for Young he needs to validate GM Billy Beane’s aggressive “win now” approach. He is talented player who will bring even more power to an already explosive lineup.
The player who has the most to gain and lose is Coco Crisp. He is in the final guaranteed year of his contract which includes an option for 2014. With the outfield so crowded and Crisp being the oldest of the bunch it would make sense that he could become available in trade if the price is right and if the other four continue to produce. The A’s have depth with Peterson and Taylor as well in the minor leagues therefore in theory Crisp is expendable. He also mentioned in interviews he’d be willing to accept a trade to a contender.
All in all the A’s outfield is the best it has been in almost a decade. They have speed, power, and defense. They have a lot of it in fact. Manager Bob Melvin will have his hands full trying to figure out which lineup to throw out each day. But if last year is any indication Melvin is the man for the job. The A’s have the best problem any Major League team can have at one position or area. Depth. This year will show if they know how to use it wisely.