The 2014 Athletics have a few players that are on the 40-man roster that do not have any options remaining. This means the A’s will have to carry them on their active roster once Spring Training ends or risk losing them on waivers to another team. These are the few players that are fighting for roster spots that the Athletics risk losing in the waiver process. Bob Melvin and Billy Beane will have some difficult decisions this spring.
Fernando Abad- Abad was acquired from Washington this offseason for John Wooten. This left-handed pitcher has to battle for a spot in a very crowded bullpen. Last year Abad was 0-3 with a 3.35 ERA in 37.2 innings. Abad’s numbers were a bit weighted by a horrible month of August. In his first 6 appearances in August, Abad gave up 8 runs in 6 innings pitched and allowed 9 hits (including 3 home runs). Abad must have a good spring to crack this 25 man roster. His main competition is Drew Pomeranz (if he isn’t sent to AAA to be a starter).
Jesse Chavez- The Athletics avoided arbitration with Chavez earlier this month by signing him to a one-year deal ($775K). Chavez (2-4 3.92 ERA) went from a “mop-up” man last year to getting some key outs for the Athletics down the stretch. Over the final 2 months of the season he averaged 12.15 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) and had a 3.50 ERA. Although he was on the roster for the ALDS, Chavez didn’t pitch against Detroit. Chavez is an interesting case. In a crowded bullpen, Chavez may be a guy that Billy Beane tries to sneak past waivers. His main competition this spring will be Evan Scribner.
Fernando Rodriguez- Rodriguez signed a one-year, $600K contract earlier this off season avoiding arbitration. Rodriguez had Tommy John surgery in March of 2013 and didn’t pitch in the Major Leagues last season. In 2012, Rodriguez appeared in 71 games for Houston going 2-10 with a 5.37 ERA. Rodriguez, who turns 30 years old in June, will have to prove his health to stay on the roster. With that being said, his competition this spring will be himself. The Athletics may be able to place him on the Disabled List late in Spring Training to buy him more time to rehab in AAA.
Evan Scribner- Scribner was in Oakland for 18 games last season. Scribner made the team right out of Spring Training and was up and down between Oakland and Sacramento. Scribner dominated AAA last season posting a 2.22 ERA and striking out 58 batters in 44.2 innings pitched. Hitters only batted .192 against him. As I mentioned earlier, I believe Jesse Chavez will be his biggest competition this spring. The winner of that battle should get a spot on the Opening Day roster.
Corey Brown- Brown was drafted in 2007 by Billy Beane and reacquired in December from Washington. Brown only had 15 plate appearances for Washington last year but hit a double and a home run. In AAA Syracuse, he hit .254 in 107 games and had an OPS of .799. He strikes out a lot, in fact he struck out once every 2.94 at bats. Barring any injury to a player in the spring, I don’t see Brown making the club and will need to pass through waivers to stay in the Athletics system.
Michael Taylor- The amazing case of Michael Taylor is very complex. The 28 year old outfielder was pegged by many as a can’t-miss power hitting prospect. Well, Taylor missed! In 3 years as an Oakland Athletic, Taylor has only one home run in 81 plate appearances. He has more strikeouts (26) than hits and walks combined (17). Taylor’s power has run rampant over AAA pitching. In the last 3 seasons in the Pacific Coast League Taylor has hit 46 home runs and has finished his season with an OPS no lower than .816. Taylor has yet to break out in the big leagues and will definitely have to battle this spring to prevent himself from going through the waiver process.
Until next time fans… Lets Go Oakland!