General manager Billy Beane has shown that he advocates having a veteran catcher on every roster. As it stands now, next year the A's have young, unproven players slated to hold down the plate. Any chance Oakland goes out and acquires a veteran from the free-agent market?
-- Opie N., Newark, Calif.
Though this question seemingly reflects the sentiments of many curious readers, adding another catcher doesn't seem to be on the to-do list. The A's -- Beane specifically -- want Derek Norris to grow with their equally young pitching staff, even if it means waiting out the growing pains that come along with this process. They believe Norris can only get better in all facets of his game, and they're going to give him every opportunity to prove it. Backup George Kottaras, meanwhile, had his fair share of defensive blunders like Norris, but he does provide a dose of low-cost pop.
Do you think that Brandon Inge will be with the A's next year?
-- Rick O., Amherst, Va.
Inge figures to sign elsewhere, given the composition of Oakland's roster. The A's have expressed confidence in Josh Donaldson as the long-term answer at third base, and while only time will tell if this holds true, they also have depth in Scott Sizemore, who could retain third-base duties should the A's choose to give Jemile Weeks another chance at second base. As is likely the case with Jonny Gomes following the club's acquisition of Chris Young, there's simply no room for Inge on the roster.
Even if the A's were to look outside of the organization for help at the position, Inge probably wouldn't be their first choice, since he figures to still be recovering from shoulder surgery come spring. Might the A's be enticed to bring back Eric Chavez on a one-year deal? Probably not enough to pry him from other interested teams with bigger check books, but the idea is at least worth a thought.
I've heard crazy rumors about the A's dealing Brett Anderson to either Los Angeles or Toronto for two highly touted prospects, the kind of deal that brought Jarrod Parker and Ryan Cook from the D-backs for Trevor Cahill. Is there any truth to this?
-- Roby G., Montreal, Canada
There's plenty of interest in Anderson, and for good reason. He's young (he turns 25 in February), inexpensive and a top-of-the-rotation talent. Yet, with him in tow next year, the A's could boast one of the best pitching staffs in Major League Baseball. And with their eye on yet another contending season, with much of the rest of the roster that captured the American League West crown still intact, they seem intent on keeping him, unless the right offer comes around.
I don't see that happening anytime soon, unless Anderson ultimately ends up being the asking price for a shortstop, which is the team's biggest concern at the moment. The Blue Jays have just that in Yunel Escobar, and their interest in Anderson is well-documented, so I wouldn't rule out such a swap, given Oakland's pitching depth.
What will Tyson Ross' role be for the A's in 2013? Will he be sticking around for similar emergency pitching duties?
-- Steve V., Tracy, Calif.
The hard-throwing Ross will have a chance to make the team as a reliever, a role he's probably best suited for. Too often the right-hander has breezed through a lineup one time only to falter a second in his starts. In the bullpen, he can focus on just two pitches -- he has a very good slider and his fastball reaches 96 miles per hour -- and utilize all of his endurance into one or two innings. Moreover, with an unorthodox motion that makes pitches appear to go through the zone quickly, hitters often need time to adjust -- and they won't have much of it should Ross only be around for six outs.
Do you think the A's can pry Marco Scutaro from the Giants? I'd rather Oakland gives him $10 million to play shortstop than give it to Stephen Drew. I love the guy.
-- Jack D., Allentown, Pa.
The Giants love him, too, and have made it a priority to retain him, so I don't foresee him reuniting with the A's, who will have a hard enough time bringing back Drew, given the slim free-agent market for shortstop.