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Who will be on Oakland's Opening Day roster?

January 16, 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. Sure, there are a couple of areas that could still be addressed this offseason. But for the most

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.

Sure, there are a couple of areas that could still be addressed this offseason. But for the most part, 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.

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.

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. The A’s could also look to add a veteran backstop through free agency who can also provide some mentorship for the rookie Murphy.

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-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. The A’s could also look for help at the position through free agency or via trade, though those options appear to be fading away as Spring Training gets closer. 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, who the A’s obtained in last month’s Rule 5 Draft.

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.

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.

Locks: Ramón Laureano, Mark Canha, Stephen Piscotty
Possibilities: Seth Brown, Robbie Grossman

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. After an injury-filled 2019, Piscotty should get his right-field job back as long as he remains healthy, while Canha’s breakout season likely earned him the job in left.

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.

Locks: Liam Hendriks, Lou Trivino, Yusmeiro Petit, Jake Diekman, Joakim Soria
Possibilities: Daniel Mengden, 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. Mengden is out of options and could begin the year in a long relief role. Expect the A’s to explore adding a few relief arms through trade or free agency leading up to Spring Training.

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