As I mentioned a few days ago the A’s have a surplus of infielders on their roster currently and someone(s) will have to be the odd man/men out. This problem also occurs at the Minor League level, in particular Triple-A Sacramento. The River Cats will have an overloaded roster at the infield positions as well going into next season. Their situation might be equally as interesting as the A’s. They have many of the players that saw regular playing time before the current Major League team took the reigns (i.e. Brandon Moss, Josh Donaldson, Eric Sogard, etc.). Here’s a quick breakdown of the Major League infield crunch, a look at the Minor League infield crunch, and the potential ripple effect that will come from the roster coming into shape.
The A’s in theory have eight players who have seen regular playing time at the big league level in the last year for four positions. Three of those eight players are basically guaranteed of their roster spot barring a trade or injury: Josh Donaldson, Jed Lowrie, and Brandon Moss. Beyond that you have recently signed Nick Punto, Eric Sogard, Alberto Callaspo, Nate Freiman, and Daric Barton. A 25 man roster usually breaks down to 5 starting pitchers, 7/8 relievers, 5 outfielders, and 6/7 infielders. That means outside of your five regular infielders there are one or two positions leftover. For the A’s that translates to five infielders for two spots in a best-case scenario. (Note: All of the players mentioned above are on the 40 man roster, the players in the next paragraph are not.)
For the River Cats whoever is left over from the Major League infield battle will be competing with the likes of Jemile Weeks, Andy Parrino, the newly transferred Shane Peterson, Anthony Aliotti, Dusty Coleman, Hiroyuki Nakajima, and potentially Addison Russell. This is obviously a good problem to have for the A’s. Having depth, especially considering the caliber of Jemile Weeks and Hiroyuki Nakajima, makes potential trades this offseason all the more likely for the Green and Gold. To have Nakajima and Weeks sit in Sacramento for another year would not be worth the value of the return in a potential trade. It is obvious the A’s have given up on Weeks, and with the depth at the positions he plays it makes sense to trade Weeks to get him a fresh start and potentially another change of scenery type prospect from another team.
The A’s have proved in recent years that depth proves vital, especially over the course of a 162 game schedule (more if you make the playoffs). However, the A’s have a surplus of depth. This is potentially a valuable asset to have with the rising costs of free agents. The A’s could trade some of the depth to help fill out the bullpen or find another outfielder. A’s fans should keep their on eyes on the Winter Meetings upcoming in a couple of weeks. These meetings are usually where GM Billy Beane strikes deals. With the depth the A’s have at the Major and Minor League levels transactions are bound to happen soon.