Players That Will Be Free Agents Following the Season:
- UT Bobby Crosby (09 Salary: 5.25 Million)
- UT Adam Kennedy (09 Salary: 4 Million)
- RHP Justin Duchscherer (09 Salary: 3.9 Million)
- 1B Nomar Garciaparra (09 Salary: 1 Million)
The Following Players Will Be Arbitration Eligible Next Season:
- Jack Cust (09: 2.8 Million)
- Michael Wuertz (09: 1.1 Million)
- Santiago Casilla (09: 420k)
- Rajai Davis (09: 410k)
- Dana Eveland (09: 410k)
- Joey Devine * (09: 410k)
Of the other players listed above, the only guy I would non-tender is Santiago Casilla. There is no point paying him a million dollars or more to not produce. If the A's still want to sign him afterwards for a lesser price, so be it, but he shouldn't be given the option to enter arbitration. Assuming the other players are kept, following the 60-80-60 scaling, Cust will make about 5 million, Wuertz about 2 million, while Davis, Devine, and Eveland will make around 1 million.
What does this mean?
The A's have a base salary next year, not including arbitration players, of 19.25 million. Adding in the five players above, that raises payroll to 29.25 million. If the A's were to have the same opening day payroll as they did this season, they'd have 33 million to spend on the open market. It's not likely they'll spend it, but it's worth noting. Also worth noting is that another 18 million (from the contracts of Chavez and Ellis) come off the books after 2010 giving the A's a ton of money to spend on their current team.
Now what does the Roster look like next year? Let's take a look at positions...
Catchers: Kurt Suzuki , Landon Powell , Josh Donaldson , Max Stassi
Suzuki has the job locked and has been one of the A's key producers. The only way he loses his job is if a freak injury happened. Landon Powell has been a solid backup all year long, both offensively and defensively. I often wish Bob Geren would play Powell and sit Suzuki more often as it would probably help the ballclub all together, but it will never happen. Donaldson is posting good numbers in AA and will be in AAA to start next season. I don't know what the long term plan is with him though as the A's catchers on their major league roster are already very young. As for Stassi, he's the future. Just drafted out of Yuba City high, Stassi has yet to be signed, but if he does, he could be the A's starting catcher in four to five years. The team has until August 17th to sign him.
First Basemen: Tommy Everidge , Daric Barton , Sean Doolittle , Chris Carter
Carter is obviously the future of the ballclub, but there is no point rushing him up to the major leagues. Carter is guaranteed to be the Texas League MVP this season and has a chance at the league Triple Crown. He will start next season in AAA. Everidge has been decent since taking over everyday for Jason Giambi, though nothing spectacular. He should get his opportunity to show what he has for the rest of the season. Meanwhile, the A's 2008 starting first basemen, Daric Barton, should also be in the mix for a job during spring training. It doesn't do any good sending Barton to AAA as the team probably doesn't want to take at bats away from Chris Carter. At the very least, Barton should be held as a reserve, the same way Nomar Garciaparra is being held now. Sean Doolittle has been hurt for most of this season, but should get an opportunity to prove himself as well next year. It's basically a logjam of mediocre players until Carter shows up.
Second Basemen: Mark Ellis , Eric Patterson , Adrian Cardenas , Jemile Weeks
Ellis' job is locked at the start of next season, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him moved halfway through the year next season. Eric Patterson was promised by Bob Geren that he was going to get every opportunity to succeed after Matt Holliday was traded, only for Patterson to be sent down after receiving minimal playing time. Adrian Cardenas tore the cover off of pitches in AA this year, but has struggled a lot since being promoted to Sacramento. Meanwhile, 2008 first round draft choice, Jemile Weeks, just keeps hitting the ball and could leapfrog Cardenas should he continue to struggle at the start of next season.
Shortstop: Cliff Pennington , Corey Wimberly , Grant Green
This is where the A's lack the most depth. Cliff Pennington is being given every opportunity to win the starting job for next year and has impressed so far in a short time frame. However, if his production falls off, I could see the A's turning to the free agent market. The A's let it be known that they might consider bringing back Orlando Cabrera . Other free agent options at the position include two former Athletics , Miguel Tejada and Marco Scutaro . The A's have Gregorio Petit at shortstop in Sacramento, but aren't keen on him playing everyday. Corey Wimberley is the shortstop in Midland, but he's made six error in 23 games at the position. Meanwhile, Grant Green, the A's first round selection this past year, has still yet to sign. Even if he did sign though, the soonest Green would reach the majors would be late 2011 or 2012.
Third Basemen: Eric Chavez , Brett Wallace, ?
I really don't want Brett Wallace to be "handed" the starting job at third base next year. Wallace is a good talent, but needs to work on his game both offensively and defensively. He's been just "okay" since arriving in Sacramento, but not great. I want a great hitter to emerge, not an average guy. If anyone can challenge Wallace for the job out of spring training it would probably be beneficial to the A's. The team cannot count on Eric Chavez being healthy, which is also why an Adam Kennedy resigning would make more sense. Let Wallace earn his way to the big leagues and supplant whoever we have instead of just handing him the spot like the team did with Daric Barton in 2008. Wallace was just drafted a year ago. There is no reason to rush him to the show either. This area needs to be addressed.
Left Fielders: Scott Hairston , Aaron Cunningham , Travis Buck
The A's aren't going to give up Sean Gallagher and Craig Italiano for a bench player. Hairston is here to be a permanent fixture for the A's and is under control through 2011. Cunningham will probably get some opportunities to play, but probably in right field rather than left. Travis Buck is in management's doghouse and I expect him to sit in AAA and rot, much the same way Brad Halsey did a few years back.
Center Fielders: Rajai Davis, Eric Patterson, Ryan Sweeney
I'm willing to give Rajai a chance as long as he keeps hitting and stealing bases. His play this year has been good so far. Eric Patterson is a player I can see the A's using in a backup role as he can play all outfield positions and second base. He'll probably never start though. Meanwhle Ryan Sweeney will probably start next season in right field again....for now.
Right Fielders: Ryan Sweeney, Aaron Cunningham, Travis Buck
Sweeney is a solid defender, but hits for far too little power to be a permanent fixture in right field. He belongs either in centerfield or on the bench which means the A's will soon have to choose between Sweeney and Rajai Davis. Cunningham has 20 home run pop, but has yet to hit for average at the major league level. If he finds his swing, Sweeney could be bumped elsewhere. Again Travis Buck is in the doghouse, so don't expect him to be called up anytime soon. There isn't any outfielder in AAA that I expect to be a significant factor next year, however, Midland has some solid producers in the outfield this year and they could make their way to Oakland by the second half of next season.
Designated Hitter: Jack Cust
There really isn't another position for him. He can't play first base and he's terrible in the outfield. Fortunately for him, no one else with terrible defense on the A's can mash so he has this job locked up. He has underperformed at all aspects of the game this season. Hopefully he'll bounce back next year though. The A's have him under control through 2011.
Starting Rotation: Dallas Braden , Brett Anderson , Trevor Cahill , Gio Gonzalez , Vin Mazzaro , James Simmons, Josh Outman , Clayton Mortensen
The A's will probably feature the same starting rotation next season as they did this year. Hopefully, their young pitchers will continue to develop and get better. Brett Anderson and Gio Gonzalez have really found their stuff as of late while Cahill and Mazzaro have struggled at times. Braden has been an achor at the front of the staff and as the veteran of the group, is under controll through 2013. James Simmons has had a rough year this season and will probably need to head back to the minors. Josh Outman, who performed well this season before undergoing Tommy John Surgery, may or may not be back next year. Clayton Mortensen needs more work as well, but could find himself in the mix later on.
Closer: Andrew Bailey , Joey Devine, Brad Ziegler
My assumption is that the closers role is Bailey's to lose. However, having him and Devine in the 8th and 9th inning makes for one scary combo.
2010 Top 10 Prospects
Note: My opinion only listed here
- 1B Chris Carter (pictured above)
- 3B Brett Wallace
- 2B Jemile Weeks
- OF Aaron Cunningham
- 2B Adrian Cardenas
- SS Grant Green
- RHP Michael Ynoa
- OF Grant Desme
- C Josh Donaldson
- OF Corey Brown
Best Power Hitter: Chris Carter
Best Strike Zone Discipline: Josh Donaldson
Fastest Baserunner: Corey Wimberly
Best Athlete: Rashun Dixon
Best Fastball: Henry Rodriguez
Best Curveball: Justin Marks
Best Slider: Henry Rodriguez
Best Changeup: Anthony Capra
Best Control: Mickey Storey
Best Defensive Catcher: Josh Donaldson
Best Defensive Infielder: Adrian Cardenas
Best Infield Arm: Dusty Coleman
Best Defensive Outfielder: Grant Desme
Best Outfield Arm: Shane Peterson