Oakland Athletics: Breaking down the team’s 30-man roster

Oakland Athletics (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Oakland Athletics (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The Oakland Athletics have officially released their 30-man Opening Day roster.

The Oakland Athletics will officially kick off their season on Friday when they take on the Los Angeles Angels. And as of Thursday, we officially know who will be on their 30-man roster.

The A’s evenly split their roster between pitchers and hitters with 15 apiece. We already knew that right-hander Frankie Montas was set to take the mound for the opener, now we also know the remainder of the pitching staff.

There weren’t too many surprises on the roster, although it will be noticeably absent of top prospects Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk who remain sidelined for two different reasons.

Luzardo hopes to rejoin the team soon after testing positive for COVID-19 a few weeks back while Puk will begin the year on the Injured List after injuring his shoulder.

Still, there is no shortage of talent on the A’s roster. Let’s take a look at each player who made the team.

Oakland Athletics’ starting pitchers

  • Frankie Montas (R)
  • Sean Manaea (L)
  • Mike Fiers (R)
  • Chris Bassitt (R)
  • Daniel Mengden (R)

The A’s hoped that Luzardo and Puk would join the top-three in the rotation at the start of the year. Instead, we’ll likely have to wait some time for that to actually happen.

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In the meantime, Chris Bassitt and Daniel Mengden will occupy the back-end of the rotation. Mengden was activated off the IL on Thursday while Daniel Gossett was DFA’d to make room on the 40-man roster.

As previously mentioned, Montas is set to start Opening Day and hopefully pick up where he left off prior to his suspension last season.

Oakland Athletics’ relief pitchers

  • Liam Hendriks (R) (closer)
  • Yusmeiro Petit (R) (setup)
  • Joakim Soria (R) (setup)
  • Jake Diekman (L)
  • Jesus Luzardo (L)
  • T.J. McFarland (L)
  • Burch Smith (R)
  • Lou Trivino (R)
  • Jordan Weems (R)
  • J.B. Wendelken (R)

The A’s bullpen is a bit of a mixed bag, but there are certainly plenty of reasons for optimism.

Liam Hendriks was outstanding last season and will be looking to prove that 2019 wasn’t a fluke. Yusmeiro Petit and Joakim Soria are two experienced late-inning pitchers who have found success in the past.

Meanwhile, Lou Trivino might have struggled last season, but he was nothing short of dominant just two years ago. And there’s plenty to like about guys like J.B, Wendelken, Burch Smith, and Jordan Weems who will benefit from expanded rosters.

Oakland Athletics’ catchers

  • Sean Murphy (R)
  • Austin Allen (L)

The A’s will usher in a new era at the catcher position with the young duo of Sean Murphy and Austin Allen. Murphy is a dark horse Rookie of the Year candidate who has been a little overshadowed by the A’s pitching prospects.

But look for him to take full advantage of the opportunity he’s being given this year.

Allen provides some left-handed power who may not offer much defensively, but can be an extra spark plug in the lineup — especially against righties or if Murphy is struggling.

Oakland Athletics’ infielders

  • 1B: Matt Olson (L)
  • 2B: Tony Kemp (L)
  • 2B: Franklin Barreto (R)
  • SS: Marcus Semien (R)
  • 3B: Matt Chapman (R)
  • Utility: Chad Pinder (R)
  • Utility: Vimael Machin (L)

This is the true strength of the roster with the likes of Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, and Marus Semien finding their place in the heart of the A’s lineup.

They’ll be joined by a committee approach at second base. Tony Kemp and Franklin Barreto are likely to see plenty of time there, but manager Bob Melvin already announced that Chad Pinder would start Opening Day at the position.

Don’t count out Rule 5 pick Vimael Machin seeing time at second base as well.

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Oakland Athletics’ outfielders

  • LF: Robbie Grossman (S)
  • CF: Ramon Laureano (R)
  • RF: Stephen Piscotty (R)
  • DH: Khris Davis (R)
  • OF: Mark Canha (R)
  • OF: Seth Brown (L)

The A’s have their fair share of depth in the outfield and that will force a good player to sit on the bench every day.

Khris Davis will continue to serve as the regular designated hitter while the foursome of Robbie Grossman, Ramon Laureano, Stephen Piscotty, and Mark Canha will rotate in the starting lineup.

Seth Brown, on the other hand, could eventually lose his spot when the rosters eventually shrink. For the time being, however, he gives the team a solid left-handed option in the outfield.

Taxi squad

  • LHP Lucas Luetge (L)
  • C Jonah Heim (S)
  • IF Nate Orf (R)

The A’s will also carry a three-man taxi squad featuring one pitcher, one catcher, and one infielder. At least that’s how it’s set for now as the taxi squad can and will likely change throughout the season.

Oakland wanted to carry Jonah Heim on the roster as a third catcher but couldn’t find room for him. He’ll likely spend a lot of time on the taxi squad and could see some major-league action this season.

Next. Oakland Athletics: A.J. Puk injures shoulder, will start season on the IL. dark

With the roster now set, the A’s will turn their attention to the start of the regular season where they will look to return to the playoffs in this unorthodox MLB season.