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Who will be on Oakland's Opening Day roster?

@MartinJGallegos
February 28, 2020

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s the approach the A’s seem to be taking while assembling their 2020 roster after coming off a 97-win season for the second consecutive year. The A’s possess a young core of players who are only at the beginning of forming what could

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s the approach the A’s seem to be taking while assembling their 2020 roster after coming off a 97-win season for the second consecutive year.

The A’s possess a young core of players who are only at the beginning of forming what could be something special in Oakland for the next several years.

Forecasting all 30 teams: Lineups, rotations, closers

Here’s the latest look at what the A’s Opening Day roster could look like, with a reminder that rosters will expand to 26 spots this season.

Catcher
Locks: Sean Murphy
Possibilities: Austin Allen, free agent or trade

Murphy is likely to get the majority of playing time, though the A’s would be wise to pair him with a capable backup given his recent injury history. Allen, who was acquired from the Padres in the Jurickson Profar deal this offseason, is highly thought of in the organization for his offensive capabilities. The left-handed-hitting catcher has drawn some comparisons to former fan favorite Stephen Vogt, though Allen’s defense might need some improvement.

First Base
Locks: Matt Olson

Olson is one of a few infielders who have their spot secured, not only providing a powerful bat in the middle of the order, but also Gold Glove Award-caliber defense.

Second Base
Locks: None
Possibilities: Franklin Barreto, Jorge Mateo, Sheldon Neuse, Vimael Machin, Tony Kemp, free agent or trade

The trade of Profar did not do much to clear up the logjam at second. Barreto, Mateo and Neuse will all likely battle for playing time in Spring Training. With Barreto and Mateo both out of options for next season, the two figure to get a longer look at the position. Kemp, who was acquired from the Cubs via trade on Jan. 13, will enter Spring Training looking to capture a utility role and potentially form a semi-platoon at second with his left-handed bat. Kemp’s main competition will be Machin, whom the A’s obtained in the Rule 5 Draft.

Shortstop
Locks: Marcus Semien

Semien earned some MVP consideration for his spectacular 2019 campaign and given his status as one of only five players in the Majors to have appeared in all 162 games last season, don’t expect many days off.

Third base
Locks: Matt Chapman

Emerging as one of the true stars in the game, the All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner has the hot corner secured for years to come in Oakland.

Utility
Locks: Chad Pinder
Possibilities: Franklin Barreto, Vimael Machin, Tony Kemp

Pinder is the epitome of a true super-utility man. He played every position but pitcher and catcher last year, bringing the production of an everyday player who can plug in anywhere on the field.

Outfield
Locks: Ramón Laureano, Mark Canha, Robbie Grossman
Possibilities: Seth Brown, Stephen Piscotty, Luis Barrera, Dustin Fowler, Skye Bolt

Laureano resumes his spot in center field after a brief move to right at the end of last season as he eased his way back from injury, and Canha’s breakout season likely earned him the job in left. After an injury-filled 2019, Piscotty would be a lock to get the right-field spot back, but he’s currently out of action this spring with a strain in his rib cage and no timetable has been set for his return. If he can regain full health in the next couple of weeks, he’ll be on track to make the Opening Day roster. If not, he likely starts the year on the injured list, leaving the A’s to choose from one of their talented young outfielders in the Minors for a potential roster spot.

Designated hitter
Lock: Khris Davis

It was an uncharacteristic year for Davis, who for the first time since 2015 did not hit at least 40 home runs. His track record and two-year extension signed last season will keep him as the DH to begin the year as he looks to get back to his prolific slugging ways.

Starting pitchers
Locks: Sean Manaea, Frankie Montas, Jesus Luzardo, Mike Fiers, A.J. Puk
Possibilities: Chris Bassitt

This is the year the A’s have been waiting for on the pitching side. Manaea is fully recovered from shoulder surgery and top prospects Luzardo and Puk have finally arrived, set to start the year in the rotation after their 2019 cameos out of the bullpen. Fiers is the veteran of the staff who also happens to be coming off the best season of his career, while Montas will try to keep up his success that was halted midseason due to a suspension for a performance-enhancing substance. Bassitt could be used as part of a six-man rotation or moved to the bullpen as a multi-inning weapon.

Relievers
Locks: Liam Hendriks, Lou Trivino, Yusmeiro Petit, Jake Diekman, Joakim Soria
Possibilities: Chris Bassitt, J.B. Wendelken, T.J. McFarland, free agents

After leading the Majors with 30 blown saves, a bullpen renovation might be in order. Hendriks is a lock after an All-Star campaign. Petit had his club option picked up after another strong season. Trivino will look to get closer to his dominant 2018 rookie numbers after a poor 2019. Diekman and Soria return as veteran arms who have gained the trust of A’s manager Bob Melvin.

Martin Gallegos covers the A's for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MartinJGallegos.