OAKLAND -- With the Winter Meetings in the books and the calendar flipped to a new year, the sprint to the offseason finish line that is Spring Training begins.
The A’s roster is largely set, though a few more moves are likely to be made between now and the regular season.
As we look ahead to 2020, here are some key dates and events:
A’s FanFest: Jan. 25
A’s players and coaches will descend on Jack London Square for the annual FanFest, which takes place just two weeks before the club heads to Arizona for Spring Training.
Report date: Feb. 11
A’s pitchers and catchers report to Mesa, Ariz., for Spring Training.
Spring Training opener: Feb. 11
The A’s open up Cactus League play with a road game at 12:05 p.m. PT against the Cubs at Sloan Park in Mesa.
A’s Opening Day: March 26
The A’s open the regular season with a visit from the Twins, marking the first time the two clubs will meet on Opening Day since 1991. First pitch is scheduled for 1:07 p.m. PT.
Three questions the A's need to answer before Opening Day
1) Who plays second base?
The most popular question among A’s fans is still difficult to forecast. Franklin Barreto, Jorge Mateo, Sheldon Neuse and Tony Kemp, who was acquired from the Cubs on Jan. 13, are in the running to start at second base, with Barreto and Mateo expected to get an extended look in Spring Training, as both are out of Minor League options.
2) How will the bullpen be fixed?
The A’s interest in Sergio Romo before he signed with the Twins showed they are looking to add some pieces to a relief corps that struggled with a Majors-leading 32 blown saves in 2019 -- but don’t expect a complete overhaul. Hendriks remains in the fold, along with Yusmeiro Petit and Jake Diekman. The A’s are also looking for bounce-back years from Lou Trivino and Joakim Soria.
The A’s are excited about their top two prospects slotting into the starting rotation, but there could be some trepidation in terms of usage, as both return from seasons that were hindered by injuries. Spring Training will give a good idea as to what type of limit, if any, will be placed on the pair of electric young left-handers.