By Jason Wojciechowski on January 12, 2015 at 8:13 PM

Who will be the first to go from the 40-man roster this year? (Where by "this year" I include the next few weeks, in case, despite my premise that Beane is done, the A's make a few more moves between now and the first pitch thrown in anger of the 2015 season.)

It's a harder question to answer than it was a few months ago. Players taken off the 40-man since the season ended:

  • Bryan Anderson
  • Alex Hassan (sorta)
  • Andrew Brown (sorta)
  • Josh Lindblom
  • Kyle Blanks
  • Brandon Moss
  • Michael Ynoa
  • Jorge De Leon (sorta)
  • Jeff Samardzija
  • Shane Peterson
  • Fernando Rodriguez
  • Derek Norris
  • Nick Punto
  • Andy Parrino
  • John Jaso

Hassan, Brown and De Leon were all added to the 40-man this very offseason, so their "losses" don't really count as such.

Jaso, Norris, Samardzija and Moss are in a category we're not really considering here: They're players who were going to be significant major league contributors in 2015 if they weren't traded and were not in any danger of being designated for assignment because the A's latched on to some other shiny bauble instead.

But what that leaves is eight players who you might regard as fringe 40-man members (depending on how you figure Ynoa) already lost, which means the fat done been trimmed. If the A's see someone fun on waivers, it's going to be a lot harder for them to make that claim because they don't have Parrino or Lindblom to kick around anymore.

So who's left? In the order I think they could wind up cut:

  • Evan Scribner: Right-handed relievers who can put up a 94 ERA+ with a 92 mph fastball are not exactly difficult to find. He's out of options, so he might well make the Opening Day bullpen, but he might also be discarded on the last day of spring training when some team tries to sneak a slightly better reliever (say, a right-hander who can put up an ERA+ of 96 with a 93 mph fastball) through waivers. There's no real reason to think Scribner is a diamond in the rough; he is what he is, and what he is doesn't add up to much.
  • Taylor Thompson: He's another righty reliever without a pedigree (44th round pick in 2009). He last started a game in 2009, in the Appalachian League. He's closed games in the minors and missed some bats, but 27-year-old relievers who walk 4.4 per nine in Triple-A don't usually transition well to the big leagues. He could figure something out in the spring and earn a job, but he could have done that with the White Sox, too, and they waived him.
  • Eury De La Rosa: He's a tiny lefty, which is adorable, but he only throws 90 with his four-seamer, and he's paid the price for his lack of stuff, giving up seven homers in 51 major league innings. He gets some strikeouts, didn't walk the world in Arizona (though he did in Reno) and is hardly a bad player, but there's not enough here to distinguish him.
  • Mark Canha: Listed mainly because he's a Rule 5 player. Honestly, he should probably be first, not last, because all it takes is a mediocre spring and he'll be headed back to ... uh, wherever he came from. I'm not looking this up. I'd like to think he can do a normal-sized human's version of Nate Freiman, with more versatility, but I don't think the A's are going to have a lot of tolerance if he doesn't hit lefties. They can feel pretty confident that Freiman will do that, so Canha's leash ought not to be very long.


By Jason Wojciechowski on January 10, 2015 at 7:47 PM

Jeremy Koo reminds me that I've calculated the "generations" various A's players represent: How many trades or compensation draft picks does each player trace back in their acquisition chain to an original A's regular draft pick? A regular draft pick is first generation, as is a free agent. Someone acquired for a first-generation player is a second-generation player. Etc.

I count only through the most important player in a trade. Scott Hairston, for instance, was acquired for Craig Italiano, Ryan Webb and Sean Gallagher. Gallagher was a player to be named later in the deal. Between Italiano and Webb, the former had the better prospect pedigree (second-round pick) and strikeout numbers, and was still a starter; the latter didn't have the former's control problems and had already reached Triple-A. Italiano also had injury issues. It's a tough call, and the Padres probably didn't have a clear idea of who the "headliner" in the deal was, but I'm going to say it's Italiano. (Note that in past versions of this, I've used Gallagher, probably because he actually had something of a major league career; in retrospect, I think this was mistaken and I will be using Italiano as the "main piece" from the deal henceforth.)

So, with the A's winter of discontent now nearly completed, here's how the 40-man roster stands in terms of generations:

First generation (last time: 22)

  1. Billy Butler (FA, 2015)
  2. Mark Canha (Rule 5, 2015)
  3. Jesse Chavez (Cash trade, 2012)
  4. Coco Crisp (FA, 2010)
  5. Ike Davis (Int'l draft slot trade, 2015)
  6. Nate Freiman (Rule 5, 2013)
  7. Sonny Gray (1st round, 2011)
  8. A.J. Griffin (13th round, 2010)
  9. Scott Kazmir (FA, 2014)
  10. Arnold Leon (FA, 2008)
  11. Renato Nunez (FA, 2010)
  12. Eric O'Flaherty (FA, 2014)
  13. Dan Otero (Waivers, 2013)
  14. Eury de la Rosa (Cash trade, 2015)
  15. Evan Scribner (Waivers, 2012)
  16. Taylor Thompson (Waivers, 2015)
  17. Stephen Vogt (Trade for no player, 2013)

Second generation (last time: 12)

  1. Fernando Abad < John Wooten (37th round, 2012)
  2. Raul Alcantara < Andrew Bailey (6th round, 2006)
  3. Ryan Cook < Trevor Cahill (2nd round, 2006)
  4. Sean Doolittle < Barry Zito (1st round, 1999)
  5. Craig Gentry < Michael Choice (1st round, 2010)
  6. Tyler Ladendorf < Orlando Cabrera (FA, 2009)
  7. Jarrod Parker < Trevor Cahill (2nd round, 2006)
  8. Josh Reddick < Andrew Bailey (6th round, 2006)

Third generation (last time: 1)

  1. Chris Bassitt < Jeff Samardzija < Addison Russell (1st round, 2012)
  2. Kendall Graveman < Josh Donaldson < Rich Harden (17th round, 2000)
  3. Brett Lawrie < Josh Donaldson < Rich Harden (17th round, 2000)
  4. Sean Nolin < Josh Donaldson < Rich Harden (17th round, 2000)
  5. Josh Phegley < Jeff Samardzija < Addison Russell (1st round, 2012)
  6. Rangel Ravelo < Jeff Samardzija < Addison Russell (1st round, 2012)
  7. Marcus Semien < Jeff Samardzija < Addison Russell (1st round, 2012)

Fourth generation (last time: 4)

  1. Billy Burns < Jerry Blevins < Jason Kendall < Mark Redman (FA, 2004)
  2. Drew Pomeranz < Brett Anderson < Dan Haren < Mark Mulder (1st round, 1998)

Fifth generation (last time: 4)

  1. Yunel Escobar < Daniel Robertson1 < Josh Willingham < Corey Brown < Frank Thomas (FA, 2006)
  2. Ben Zobrist < Daniel Robertson < Josh Willingham < Corey Brown < Frank Thomas (FA, 2006)

Sixth generation (last time: 1)

  1. R.J. Alvarez < Derek Norris < Gio Gonzalez < Nick Swisher < Johnny Damon < Ben Grieve (1st round, 1994)
  2. Sam Fuld < Tom Milone < Gio Gonzalez < Nick Swisher < Johnny Damon < Ben Grieve (1st round, 1994)
  3. Jesse Hahn < Derek Norris < Gio Gonzalez < Nick Swisher < Johnny Damon < Ben Grieve (1st round, 1994)
  4. Eric Sogard < Scott Hairston < Craig Italiano < Damian Miller < Michael Barrett < Brett Price (14th round, 2001)

  1. I would listen to an argument that John Jaso is actually the main piece of this trade from Tampa Bay's perspective, but Robertson's an easy top-100 prospect; for a team doing what Tampa has been doing this offseason, that seems more important than a platoon designated hitter, even one as good as Jaso. 


By Jason Wojciechowski on January 10, 2015 at 3:37 PM

I'm back. The book has been sent to the printer, so preorder it if you want to read the best baseball annual in the business, 20 years running. Don't preorder it if you don't want to do that. But that's where I've been the last few months.

Today, while I sat at the library waiting for my wife's car to get out of the shop, Billy Beane made another trade, sending John Jaso, Daniel Robertson and minor league outfielder Boog Powell to the Rays for Yunel Escobar and Ben Zobrist. "What the hell is Billy Beane even up to!?" went the cries of the Internet, echoing the cries accompanying nearly every move he's made this offseason. I don't know the answer any better than you do, but I have long since learned with Beane that he doesn't believe in the simple categories of "rebuilding" and "not rebuilding." Whether it's because of ownership, because he doesn't like losing, because he doesn't feel his entire organization needs to be redone, or otherwise, Beane doesn't engage in the sort of tear it downnnnnn stuff that's been going on in Houston, that happens every once in a while in Miami, that is disgusting the entire NBA world in Philadelphia. Beane traded Josh Donaldson for prospects at the outset of the offseason, sure, and he's sent away a variety of win-now players (Derek Norris, Jeff Samardzija, Brandon Moss), but when you notice that he's also signed Billy Butler, made this Escobar/Zobrist deal and acquired Marcus Semien, Kendall Graveman and Sean Nolin in his trades rather than riskier players with more upside, you can do one of two things: declare that Beane is out of his mind or reconcile yourself to the fact that Beane doesn't want to win 65 games and draft third overall.

The hypothesis I'm going to start with before I take my first crack at unraveling just what the hell this roster represents is that Beane looked at his 2015 team as of, say, November 1, 2014, figured he could not win 95 games on the budget he had, and set out to put himself in a better position for 2016 through 2020 while also trying to put an 85-win 2015 team on the field.

2015's roster as of November 1, 2014

Before Beane embarked on his latest Wild Ride, his core 25-man 2015 roster looked something like:

Positions Player Salary1 (thousands) wRC+/FIP2 Options?
C Derek Norris 500 106 Yes
C/LF/1B Stephen Vogt 500 104 No
1B/LF/DH Brandon Moss 7,100 132 No
1B/DH Nate Freiman 500 100 Yes
2B/SS Eric Sogard 1,000 88 Yes
SS Jed Lowrie 8,000 105 No
3B Josh Donaldson 4,500 127 No
2B/SS Nick Punto 2,750 75 No
OF Sam Fuld 1,600 85 No
OF Craig Gentry 1,500 89 Yes?
CF Coco Crisp 11,000 106 No
RF Josh Reddick 3,700 112 Yes?
DH John Jaso 3,300 110 No
*** *** *** *** ***
SP Jeff Samardzija 9,500 3.69 No
SP Sonny Gray 500 3.62 Yes
SP Scott Kazmir 13,000 3.71 No
SP/RP Jesse Chavez 2,500 3.98 No
SP/RP Drew Pomeranz 500 4.12 No
SP Jarrod Parker 900 4.30 Yes
SP A.J. Griffin 500 4.36 Yes
RP Sean Doolittle 780 2.91 No
RP Ryan Cook 1,300 3.45 Yes
RP Eric O'Flaherty 5,500 3.68 No
RP Fernando Abad 900 3.70 No
RP Dan Otero 500 3.62 No

That's a total of $82,330,000 in salary on the 25-man roster. Depth players, especially including pitchers who would be needed while Parker and Griffin completed their rehabilitation, include, perhaps, Arnold Leon, Fernando Rodriguez, Michael Ynoa and Josh Lindblom. Tyler Ladendorf and Andy Parrino are the most obvious backups in the infield, Bryan Anderson should hang around Triple-A waiting for a catcher injury (assuming Jaso can't catch) and Billy Burns would probably get the first call in the outfield.

This prospective team can hit a little, play good outfield defense and field an MVP candidate at third base; the top end of the rotation is nice, but the outfield depth is terrifying (having to play Gentry against righties when Crisp is hurt isn't great; having to call up Burns if two players get hurt is even worse) and the Opening Day salary total is a near-lock for the $82,445,900 that Baseball Prospectus says the A's paid for payroll in 2014 (counting far beyond the 25-man roster, so this isn't an apples-apples comparison).

If the A's wanted to chase a second base upgrade, say Asdrubal Cabrera, then add another $8 million or so to the bottom line. Someone better than Drew Pomeranz for the back end of the rotation? Good luck with that: Perfectly solid (but hardly star) pitchers like Brandon McCarthy are out there getting four-year deals for $48 million dollars. Brett Anderson is getting $10 million to throw his usual 40 innings. Justin Masterson had an ERA near six last year and he got $9.5 million.

The top talent on the farm was Daniel Robertson, a legitimately good player who may or may not have remained at shortstop. Behind him were corner sluggers (Matt Olson, Renato Nunez), Tommy John victims (Raul Alcantara, Dillon Overton) and last year's first-round pick (Matt Chapman). None of these players, Robertson included, have more than the slimmest chance of reaching an All-Star upside.

2015's roster as of right now

Positions Player Salary wRC+/FIP Options?
C/LF/1B Stephen Vogt 500 104 No
C Josh Phegley 500 92 Yes
1B Ike Davis 3,800 120 No
1B/OF Mark Canha 500 98 No
ALL Ben Zobrist 7,500 119 No
MOST Marcus Semien 500 105 Yes
2B/SS Eric Sogard 1,000 88 Yes
3B/2B Brett Lawrie 1,800 115 Yes
SS Yunel Escobar 5,000 93 No
OF Sam Fuld 1,600 85 No
CF Coco Crisp 11,000 106 No
RF Josh Reddick 3,700 112 Yes?
DH/1B Billy Butler 10,0003 119 No
*** *** *** *** ***
SP Sonny Gray 500 3.62 Yes
SP Scott Kazmir 13,000 3.71 No
SP/RP Jesse Chavez 2,500 3.98 No
SP/RP Drew Pomeranz 500 4.12 No
SP Jesse Hahn 500 4.23 Yes
SP Jarrod Parker 900 4.30 Yes
SP A.J. Griffin 500 4.36 Yes
RP Sean Doolittle 780 2.91 No
RP Ryan Cook 1,300 3.45 Yes
RP Eric O'Flaherty 5,500 3.68 No
RP Fernando Abad 900 3.70 No
RP Dan Otero 500 3.62 No

This new team costs $74,780,000, about $7,500,000 in savings, though that doesn't include Gentry or Freiman's salaries, since I've got them being optioned out. (But, again, the prior list didn't include whoever might have hung around Triple-A either.) Keeping Fuld on the roster while having Gentry in the minors helps the outfield depth, but catching (Anderson) depth remains poor. The infield is just a massive pile of movable parts, and includes Joe Wendle probably starting the year in Triple-A until the A's need him. (He's not on the 40-man.) Plus there's a stash of decent young options waiting for relief / back-end rotation jobs: Kendall Graveman, Sean Nolin and Chris Bassitt don't have obvious spots on day one, but could force their way up, cover for Griffin/Parker not making it back, pitch in case of other injury and so forth. There's also R.J. Alvarez as a bullpen pitcher; I'd guess he'll break camp with the team but lose his spot to Chavez when the first Tommy John guy comes back.

The farm system lost its best player (and Michael Ynoa) but gained a further-away one who might have higher upside in Franklin Barreto, added the aforementioned pitchers, tossed in one more interesting corner bat in Rangel Ravelo and one halfway decent second baseman in Wendle, and left everyone else, flawed though they are, in place.

Direct comparison of the lineups

v. LHP v. RHP
Pos Old 2015 New 2015 Verdict Old 2015 New 2015 Verdict
C Norris Phegley Offense down; defense ??? Vogt Vogt ---
1B Freiman Canha They're the same guy Moss Davis Offense down big
2B Punto Semien Offense up (big?) Sogard Zobrist Offense up big
SS Lowrie Escobar Defense up big Lowrie Escobar Offense down (big?), defense up big
3B Donaldson Lawrie Offense down big Donaldson Lawrie Not much difference maybe?
LF Gentry Zobrist Offense up, defense down Fuld Fuld ---
CF Crisp Crisp --- Crisp Crisp ---
RF Reddick Reddick --- Reddick Reddick ---
DH Jaso Butler Offense up big Jaso Butler Offense down (big?)

[EDIT: Ken Arneson pointed out that the Donaldson-Lawrie situation against righties isn't actually that bad. And on their career splits, he's right. I've edited the above to reflect that; it earlier read "offense down big." I wouldn't expect Lawrie to continue to have a reverse split, because those are rare, so betting on any individual guy isn't where you put your smart money without more information, but the fact remains that Donaldson did incredible amounts of his damage in the power department by mashing lefties.]

Assuming the A's want to get Semien into the lineup, it would be against lefties, which pushes Zobrist into the outfield, which pushes Gentry out of the picture (because the A's haven't really given much indication that they want to platoon Reddick in the past): If Gentry isn't starting against lefties, then when is he playing?

An alternative possibility is that they do platoon Reddick (with Gentry) and then suffer Gentry's offense against righties by starting him in left field. But if you're making me choose between Reddick against lefties 20 percent of the time and Gentry against righties 80 percent of the time, and the defense between Fuld, Reddick and Gentry is basically the same, and plus you can keep Gentry in Nashville, then I think the way I've built it makes the most sense, even if Fuld is completely useless at the plate. As long as Bob Melvin keeps him out of the upper parts of the lineup, you can hold your nose and live with it.

So! Where does that leave us? With a bit worse offense against lefties but a better defense due to the Lowrie-Escobar swap, and a worse, probably much worse, offense against righties, though a better defense for the same reason. Righties being 80 percent of the battle shows where this team is lacking compared to the one Beane could have put on the field for about $7 million more.

Depth-wise, though, the situation looks better. As mentioned, catcher is rough. But at first base, grabbing Canha (which, granted, Beane could have done even in a world where the rest of the roster remained the same) makes Freiman depth, and also adds flexibility to the major league roster because Canha can do more defensively than Freiman. At second, the A's go from the Sogard-Punto pair to Semien-Zobrist-Sogard, with Wendle waiting. Shortstop and third base used to be backed up by Sogard and/or Andy Parrino and/or Punto. Now it's Zobrist and/or Semien, with Sogard still available but pushed down the depth chart to a more appropriate place.

The outfield depth situation is essentially unchanged beyond the addition of multiple players (Zobrist, Canha (and Semien?)) who can play the corners on top of the usual pile of batless flycatchers (Fuld, Gentry, Burns) backing up Crisp's neck.

Butler, meanwhile, has never gone on the disabled list, though to be fair, Jaso wouldn't have been concussed the last two years had he not been catching; nobody's ever asked Butler to strap on the mask.

The pitching boils down to a swap of Samardzija for 17 no. 4 starters, all of whom are young enough to bear our dreams for more. To the extent the Sharkster is an ace, there isn't one now and that's sad, but to the extent the Sharkster isn't an ace, there never was one in the first place, so what are we really sad about? I'm relatively firmly in the "he wasn't an ace" camp; however hard he threw, however physical his approach, however nasty his demeanor, he worked out a lot closer, when you got down to the brass tacks of run prevention, to "really quite good" than "one of the ten or so best in the game." I'm slighting Gray right along with Samardzija in all this, but that's intentional. "Ace" is a big word packed into three letters.

I didn't not pay attention to the team while all this movement was going on, but, with the aforementioned book taking up the vast majority of my spare time, thinking deeply about the A's was backgrounded. This had the downside of you not getting to wonder at the joy of my thoughts; it has the upside of those thoughts not truly forming until the team appears to be basically complete. (A trade of Scott Kazmir for who knows what remains possible, of course, and you can't count out Beane pulling any old dang thing out of his hat on top of the obvious things, so while "done" is a fluid notion for the A's, the current roster is a lot closer to Opening Day–ready than any of the interim rosters over the last two months have been; which, duh, I guess, that being the nature of the offseason and player movement, but recall that the whole point of this post is that the roster as of November 1st could have been considered more or less done had Beane (and the owners) so wished.)

That doesn't mean I'm right and anybody who's been thinking and writing all along (like my friends at Athletics Nation and elsewhere on the blogosphere) is wrong; it just gives me a different perspective, a different headspace in which to operate, and from that perspective, this team, full of unfamiliar names, hopes and dreams of upside, etc. etc., doesn't really look half bad. It's still missing the best player the A's have had in a decade, the player who put up a two-year bWAR the heights of which haven't been seen in Oakland since Jason Giambi's 2001-02, and the team will be worse, substantially worse, because of that, not least because putting Lawrie, whatever his upside, in Donaldson's place is only half the battle; they'll have to cover the 80 games Lawrie misses on the disabled list as well.

But the ultimate question, the fair question, isn't whether the team is as good as it could have been in 2015; the question is whether the team is reasonably good, competitive under the restrictions given to the baseball operations staff by ownership, and not a pit of despair. I think it is; the first thing, I mean, not the pit of despair. I don't know that the whole kaboodle is going to come out to a playoff spot, what with Mike Trout/Albert Pujols and Felix Hernandez/Robinson Cano and Yu Darvish/Adrian Beltre in the division, what with a revitalized Central division potentially making a strong play for Wild Card spots, what with Baltimore and Boston and Toronto in the East, but it's not a hopeless case and, perhaps most importantly, it shouldn't be a depressing case, a "you can count on a loss every night" case, a "let's guzzle bleach" case. I don't know how fun the team is, but the Fun Quotient was dealt its biggest blow in the Yoenis Cespedes trade; there was no unringing that particular bell for 2015 in any event, so let's continue the emotional process of putting that out of our minds.

In short, then: It's fine. They're fine. It'll be fine.

  1. For the arbitration-eligible folks, I will steal from Matt Swartz's projections

  2. For this I'll use the 2015 Steamer projections at FanGraphs, and it's just meant as a rough guide, not as any kind of gospel. 

  3. I'm including in Billy Butler's salary for 2015 his $5 million signing bonus. Otherwise his salary ($5 million) looks artificially low. 


By Jason Wojciechowski on November 18, 2014 at 7:18 PM

Let's just assume right now that the A's sign Billy Butler. The roster then baffles me:

v. LHP:

C: Norris
1B: Blanks
2B: Punto
SS: [Whoever they sign]
3B: Donaldson
LF: Gentry
CF: Crisp
RF: Reddick
DH: Butler

v. RHP:

C: Norris or occasional backup
1B: Jaso
2B: Sogard
SS: [Whoever they sign]
3B: Donaldson
LF: Moss
CF: Crisp
RF: Reddick
DH: Butler

That makes use of 13 position players, which is what the A's are presumably going to carry. Which means that anybody not listed above is S.O.L., which specifically means Stephen Vogt and Sam Fuld. Now what you could do I guess is say that Vogt is your other catcher. Do you want to do that? I'm not real sure you want to do that. But I guess if the roster makes you do that, and you've been putting up with John Jaso anyway, then you do that. In which case you don't need to sign a backup catcher (beyond the one or two you need at Triple-A).

So the addition of Butler basically means no Sam Fuld, and the set of comparisons becomes:

Butler offense v. RHP > Fuld offense v. RHP
Butler offense v. LHP > Jaso/Moss offense v. LHP
Moss LF defense < Fuld LF defense
Jaso 1B defense ?<? Moss 1B defense

I think this is probably a net gain overall, and as long as Vogt really is your second catcher, you've still got the flexibility to put him and Blanks in outfield corners, Gentry's still around when Crisp gets hurt, and so forth. It all seems like a marginal gain for $10 million per year for three years, doesn't it?


By Jason Wojciechowski on October 31, 2014 at 6:04 PM

Speaking of minor-league free agents and such, it's probably worthwhile to take a run through who the A's could lose this December in the Rule 5 draft. My understanding of the rules comes almost entirely from The Cub Reporter, so if I get anything wrong, blame that guy, not me.1

Briefest summary: players who were 18 or younger on June 5th of the year they sign can be taken in the Rule 5 draft in the fifth such draft that occurs after their signing (and in every subsequent Rule 5 draft); players who were 19 or older on that date can be taken in the fourth Rule 5 draft.

College draftees and older high school picks, then, are those who were taken in the June 2011 draft or earlier. Younger high school picks and most international signings are those picked/signed in June 2010 or earlier.

Name Age (2015) Position Level Signed/drafted Notes
Aaron Shipman 23 LF High-A third round 2010 no pop, great on-base, not the type to get Rule 5'd
Alex Nolasco 24 RP Arizona 2008? 2009? only 13 2/3 innings this year
Andres Avila 25 RP High-A April 2010 strikeouts took a leap in 36 Stockton innings
Andrew Werner 28 P Double-A 2010? 2011? signed out of indy leagues by Padres
Anthony Aliotti 27 1B Triple-A 15th round 2009 first basemen can't slug .354 in the PCL
B.A. Vollmuth 25 1B/3B Low-A third round 2011 that didn't work
Beau Taylor 25 C Double-A fifth round 2011 hasn't solved Double-A
Blake Forsythe 25 C Double-A third round 2010 (Mets) can probably catch in Double-A as long as he wants
Blake Hassebrock 25 RP Double-A eighth round 2010 15.6 H/9!
Bobby Crocker 25 OF High-A fourth round 2011 not OPSing 800 in the Cal League isn't great
Carlos Navas 22 SP Arizona 2008? 2009? maybe short-season next year?
Chad Oberacker 26 OF Double-A 25th round 2011 two cracks at Double-A, hasn't done anything with the bat in either of them
Chih Fang Pan 24 2B Low-A April 2010 missed all of 2013; hasn't hit
Chris Jensen 24 SP Double-A sixth round 2011 (Rockies) probably not good enough to be snatched up; probably good enough to stick around for a while
Chris Lamb 25 SP High-A 11th round 2011 really solid year, if old and relatively low level; might need to protect him
Colin Walsh 25 2B Triple-A 13th round 2010 (Cardinals) had a good year in 2012
Conner Crumbliss 28 2B/OF Double-A 28th round 2009 big OBP guy has seen it slip as he's advanced
Cristhian Perez 23 SP Short-season July 2008 missed bats at an almost unbelievably low rate the last two years in Vermont
Dayton Alexander 24 OF Short-season sixth round 2011 Hawaiian
Deck McGuire 26 SP Triple-A first round 2010 former prospect
Drew Granier 26 SP Double-A 32nd round 2011 still chugging along, still walking everyone
Dusty Coleman 28 SS Double-A 28th round 2008 could be a free agent; didn't play in 2010
Dusty Robinson 25 RF High-A 10th round 2011 played half this year in indy ball before returning
Gabriel Santana 22 SS Short-season August 2008 hasn't hit
Jake Goebbert 27 LF Triple-A 13th round 2009 (Padres) debuted in 2014 but didn't hit in stint with Padres
Jeff Urlaub 28 RP Double-A 30th round 2010 1.57 ERA looks BABIPy
Jonesy Zarraga 23 LF Arizona August 2008 second year in AZL; stats took a step back
Josh Bowman 26 SP High-A 10th round 2010 stats indicate that he gets hit hard
Josh Whitaker 26 RF Triple-A 25th round 2010 slugged in Double-A; interesting possibility
Kent Matthes 28 OF Double-A fourth round 2009 (Rockies) had a bat once upon a time, but hasn't hit in years
Michael Soto 23 1B Low-A March 2009 slugger type
Miles Head 24 1B/3B/DH Double-A 26th round 2009 (Red Sox) former prospect hasn't hit in 2.5 go-rounds at Double-A
Murphy Smith 27 RP Double-A 13th round 2009 third year at Midland, a bullpen move doesn't do much
Nate Long 29 SP Double-A 26th round 2009 should reach the majors by 32
Paul Smyth 28 RP Triple-A 35th round 2009 could get grabbed as the last reliever in someone's bullpen; why not?
Rodolfo Penalo 22 CF Arizona 2010? didn't come stateside until this year; on-base freak with speed
Ryan Lipkin 27 C High-A 24th round 2010 see Ryan Ortiz
Ryan Ortiz 27 C Triple-A sixth round 2009 see Blake Forsythe
Sam Roberts 26 2B/RP Low-A 26th round 2011 converted to pitching midyear; does this get the A's an extra year?
Sean Murphy 26 SP Double-A 33rd round 2010 maybe Irish
Seth Frankoff 26 RP Triple-A 27th round 2010 intriguing Double-A component stats; less so in the PCL
Tanner Peters 24 SP Double-A 16th round 2011 hurt most of the year, pitched the last three weeks in AZL
Tyler Vail 23 RP Low-A fifth round 2010 1.3 K/BB in Low-A as a reliever
Vicmal de la Cruz 21 RF Arizona November 2010 Three years in AZL
Wade Kirkland 26 2B High-A 11th round 2010 did get three games at Triple-A
Zach Neal 26 SP Triple-A 17th round 2010 refuses to walk anyone
Zeke DeVoss 24 OF High-A third round 2011 (Cubs) released by Chicago last year

Meanwhile, here are the notable players who I believe are minor-league free agents:

Player Position Level Story
Alden Carrithers UT Triple-A has a hyphenated middle name
Daric Barton 1B Triple-A finally off the 40-man and free to roam. I think
Deryk Hooker RP Double-A former Cardinal; future Pirate (I have no idea)
Dusty Brown C Triple-A 46 major-league PAs total; drafted in 2000
Jake Elmore IF Triple-A has appeared in the majors each of the last three years
Jefry Marte 3B Double-A acquired in the Collin Cowgill trade
Jeremy Barfield RF Double-A converted to pitcher, then converted back; 2008 draftee; good at Twitter
Kenny Wilson OF Double-A claimed off waivers from the Blue Jays in July 2014
Marcus Walden RP Double-A started 11 games in Sacramento, then demoted to Midland and the bullpen
Nick Buss OF Triple-A apparently not a Lakers owner
Omar Duran RP Double-A big strikeout numbers, walks getting more and more under control
Philip Humber RP Triple-A would have put money on him making an appearance at some point for the A's in 2014
Ryan Doolittle RP Double-A missed all of 2009; might not be an FA because of it
Shawn Haviland SP Double-A good ol' Ivy League to MLB; missed all of 2013

  1. That's stupid, don't blame him. I'm the one who got it wrong. Blame me.